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Around the Globe: International Diversity in YA Writing

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December 10, 2014

Words without Borders and The New York Public Library present a discussion of the vibrant and compelling world of international YA. Join our distinguished panelists, including Padma Venkatraman, Briony Everroad, Roxanne Hsu-Feldman, and Arthur A. Levine in a wide-ranging conversation about diversity and international voices in YA writing today, moderated by editor, author and professor of Library Sciences Marc Aronson. This event coincides with the launch of WWB’s December issue, dedicated to the best new YA writing from around the world, from countries including Georgia, Bangladesh, Germany, Norway, South Korea, and many more.

Marc Aronson earned his doctorate in American History at NYU while working as an editor of books for young readers. Among many awards and honors, he was the first winner of the American Library Association's Robert F. Sibert medal for best informational book for readers through age 14 and the editor of the tenth medal winner. Dr. Aronson teaches in the graduate library school at Rutgers where he trains school and public librarians, and frequently speaks at state, national, and international conferences on materials for children and teenagers. He and his wife, the novelist Marina Budhos, will publish their second co-authored book, The Eyes of the World: The Story of Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, in 2016. 

Briony Everroad is a freelance editor based in San Francisco. Over ten years at Random House UK, she published such diverse works as Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole series and George Orwell’s A Life in Letters. She also edited and contributed to the View from This Bridge blog. Briony has always been passionate about international writing, and in 2010 founded the Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize to celebrate the achievements of new and emerging translators. She has been a guest speaker at many translated literature events and has attended literature symposiums across the globe. Her love of stories from around the world began with the novels of Astrid Lindgren and deepened as she discovered the many thought-provoking novels written for young adults. Briony was a consultant for the forthcoming Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature by Daniel Hahn.

Roxanne Hsu Feldman grew up in Taiwan and taught English in Middle School before coming to the United States to study children's literature.  She received a Master's in Children's Literature from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College in 1991 and has since worked exclusively in the field of children's and young adult literature.  She worked as a Rights Assistant for Macmillan Children's Books, sold children's books at the legendary Eeyore's Books for Children, served as Children's Librarian at The New York Public Library and has been the Middle School Librarian at New York City's Dalton School for the last 18 years.  Roxanne has served on the Newbery Committee twice and is currently a member of the Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee.

Arthur A. Levine is Vice President and Publisher of Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc. Throughout his career, Levine has edited and championed great novelists from around the English-speaking world, including Philip Pullman, J.K. Rowling, Kevin Crossley-Holland, Jaclyn Moriarty, Markus Zusak, Roddy Doyle, Martine Murray, Leah Bobet, Martin Mordecai, and Sally Nicholls, along with the marvelous picture books of Shaun Tan and the acclaimed duo of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. He is also a leading publisher of books-in-translation, introducing American children to such great writers as Daniella Carmi (Israel), Josef Holub and Wolfgang Herrndorf (Germany), Luis Sepulveda (Chile), Laura Gallego Garcia (Spain), Silvana Gandolfi (Italy), Nahoko Uehashi and Komako Sakai (Japan), Sylvie Weil (France), Guus Kuijer, Karlijn Stoffels, and Marcel Prins (the Netherlands), and Anne Provoost (Belgium). We are especially proud to be bringing out the first contemporary YA translated from the Russian, Playing the Part by Daria Wilke, coming in March of 2015.

Padma Venkatraman was born in Chennai, India, and became an American citizen after attaining a PhD in oceanography from The College of William and Mary. She is also the author of Island's End, which was an ALA Best Book of the Year, an ALA/Amelia Bloomer List selection, a CCBC Best Book, a Booklist Editor's Choice, and a Kirkus Best Book of the Year. Her Climbing the Stairs won the Julia Ward Howe award and was a Book Sense Notable, Booklist Best Book of the Year, Bank Street College of Education Best Book, New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, YALSA BBYA selection, Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, and CCBC Choice.  Her latest novel, A Time to Dance, was released in May 2014 to starred reviews in Kirkus, Booklist, VOYA, SLJ and BCCB, and is a Booklist Top 10 art book for youth.

Words Without Borders