Art directors from the UK and US will give illustrators feedback in the First Look panel. Read bios of our three star panelists here.
Val Brathwaite has worked in book publishing for 20 years. Before moving into children's books, Val started her career at Allen and Unwin adult publishers in London where she worked on fiction, life style books, fantasy fiction including Tolkien and graphic novels. Val has worked with various children's publishers, Orchard Books, HarperCollins, Kingfisher, Belitha Press and Scholastic. Her experience ranges from young pre-school novelty books, board books, picture books, young fiction, teenage fiction and non-fiction. Val has commissioned and worked with many illustrators over the years. She is now the Design Director of Bloomsbury Children's Books.
Deirdre McDermott (Editor & Art Director)
Deirdre McDermott is the Picture Book Publisher at Walker Books, the largest independent children's publisher in the UK. Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, she has been designing picture books for Walker for over 20 years. After completing a Visual Communication degree at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Deirdre travelled and lived in Toronto for a year before coming to London, where she joined Walker Books as a junior designer. Not long afterwards, she became assistant designer to Amelia Edwards, the founder Art Director. Deirdre was appointed Picture Book Publisher and Associate Director in 2002. www.walker.co.uk.
Within the small, dedicated picturebook team of designers and editors at Walker, Deirdre has worked closely with scores of brilliant bookmakers including Anita Jeram, Helen Oxenbury, Thacher Hurd, Michael Rosen, Carll Cneut, Bob Graham, John Burningham, Allan Ahlberg, Jimmy Liao and many others. Read an Interview with Deidre McDermott.
Martha Rago is the Associate Creative Director for HarperCollins Children's Books. Martha oversees the development and design of HarperCollins picture books, including those in the Rayo and Katherine Tegen imprints, the estate programs of CS Lewis and Shel Silverstein, and the Blazer and Bray imprint. Prior to her position at HarperCollins, which Martha has held for 7 years, she was the Creative Director at Henry Holt.
Read an interview with Martha Rago