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The Editor-Writer Mentorship: promoting voices from the margins
Matt Phipps

Our 2022 Editor Mentors!

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G.P. Putnam's Sons (PRH)
2022 Non-Fiction Picture Book Mentor

Matt Phipps is an Assistant Editor at G. P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers. He is drawn to picture books at the juncture of smart + silly + sweet, and to timely, well-crafted middle grade and YA fiction, nonfiction, and graphic novels that invite readers into a world of possibilities.

Maria Correa

Random House Books for Young Readers (PRH)

2022 Fiction Picture Book Mentor

Maria Camila Correa joined the Random House BFYR team in 2020, where she worked mostly on beloved brands like Dr. Seuss before making the move to trade picture books. She has a master’s in children’s literature and literacies from the University of Glasgow and, prior to Random House, worked at Little Tiger Press in London. Originally from Colombia, Maria aims to publish picture books with universal and lasting appeal and is especially interested in stories that surprise and challenge readers’ expectations. She has a particular affinity for perspective-shifting picture books, those with metafictive elements, picture books that play with the tension between word and image, and those that do not shy away from difficult subjects. Above all, she is looking for picture books that spark curiosity and wonder.

Ruta Rimas

Razorbill (PRH)

2022 Children's Chapter Book Mentor

Rūta Rimas is an executive editor, acquiring and editing middle grade and young adult, fiction and non, and graphic novels. At Penguin Random House’s Razorbill imprint, she has the honor and privilege of working with the most talented authors and illustrators in the industry. Her tastes are quirky and sharp, boundary-pushing, with a dash of darkness and a whole lot of heart.

Gianna Lakenauth
Stacey Barney
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Knopf Books for Young Readers (PRH)

2022 Middle Grade Mentor

Gianna Lakenauth is an Assistant Editor at Knopf BFYR where she lends support on various projects ranging from picture book through young adult, including Elizabeth Lim, Alexandra Bracken, Camryn Garrett, Gavriel Savit, Jennifer Niven, R. J. Palacio, Alex Penfold, and Suzanne Kaufman. She is also building her own list and hopes to acquire more middle-grade and YA immersive fantasy, over-the-top, breathtaking love stories, and stories that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Previously, she was at Viking BFYR and Puffin, where she helped to develop and maintain brands such as Roald Dahl, S.E. Hinton, the Puffin Classics line, and more. In her time there, she acquired and edited Living Your Best Life According to Nala Cat. She is an immigrant (Guyanese) and a food, television, book, tea and wine enthusiast. For this mentorship she is focusing on MG fiction.

Lydia Gregovic
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Nancy Paulsen Books (PRH)

2022 Young Adult Fiction Mentor

Stacey Barney is Associate Publisher of Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Stacey has worked in children’s publishing for twenty years and has published numerous bestselling and award-winning authors including New York Times bestsellers Renée Ahdieh, Krystal Sutherland, Misty Copeland, Katherine Arden, Ellen Hopkins and Ayana Gray. She also edited the 2022 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor-winning Nina: A Story of Nina Simone, written by Traci N. Todd and illustrated by Christian Robinson in addition to the 2021 Caldecott Honor-winning The Cat Man of Aleppo, written by Irene Latham and Karim Shamsi-Basha and illustrated by Yuko Shimizu. In 2020, ALAN awarded Stacey the Bill Konigsberg Award for Acts and Activism for Equity and Inclusion through Young Adult Literature, noting her commitment to making books that are “real, accessible, complex and integral components to a just and connected world.” In 2021, Stacey was honored at the Black Women in Media Awards for her work, contribution and demonstration of excellence in literature and publishing. She also teaches a course on Children’s Book Publishing at NYU.  


Delacorte Press (PRH)

2022 MG/YA Genre Fiction Mentor (SFF, Mystery/Thriller, Speculative)

Lydia Gregovic is an Assistant Editor at Delacorte Press, where she edits both commercial and literary fiction in middle grade and young adult categories. During her time at Delacorte, she has served as the primary editor on books by Tara Goedjen (The Breathless, No Beauties or Monsters) and Elizabeth Ross (Belle Epoque, The Silver Blonde). Her list of authors includes Russell Ginns (The Samantha Spinner Series), Onjali Q. Rauf (The Boy At the Back of the Class) and Christopher Edge (The Longest Night of Charlie Noon), as well Amy Goldsmith (The Ocean Dark, Summer 23’) and the graphic novel adaptation of the New York Times bestseller by Michael Scott, The Alchemyst. Prior to joining Delacorte, Lydia held internships at Inkwell Literary Management and Folio Literary Management, in addition to working for several months as a bookseller upon her graduation from Southwestern University. You can find her on Twitter @LGregovic.

Lydia loves a good genre novel, be it mystery, thriller, fantasy or more, and is always looking for projects that put a literary spin on commercial topics. She's eager to build her list with strong voices and strong ideas—any book that challenges a familiar trope, or approaches it in a new way, is right up her alley.

Amy Li
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Crown (PRH)

2022 Adult Memoir Mentor

Amy Li is an Associate Editor at Crown. Prior to joining Crown, she was at McGraw-Hill Business, where she acquired and edited Erica Keswin’s Wall Street Journal bestsellers, Bring Your Human to Work and Rituals Roadmap. She is passionate about bringing more diverse voices into publishing and is interested in memoirs and narrative non-fiction at the cross-section of  current affairs, race, social justice, mental health, history, and politics. In short, she is drawn to books that have something to say about the world.

Khari Dawkins
Sareer Khader
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Doubleday (PRH)

2022 Adult General Fiction Mentor

Prior to joining Doubleday, Khari Dawkins worked as an sales assistant at Cambridge University Press. A Bronx native, he earned his B.A. in Political Economy from Williams College. Before finding his way to publishing, he held various positions including a production assistant at NBC Sports and a brief stint as a paralegal. An adventurous reader, Khari  is most excited by stories, both literary fiction and narrative nonfiction, that artfully combine immersive story-telling with teaching him something new.

Estee Zandee
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Berkley (PRH)

2022 Romance Mentor

Sareer Khader (she/her) joined Berkley in 2019. She acquires upmarket commercial women’s fiction and romance, psychological mysteries/thrillers, and speculative/fantastical fiction with strong crossover appeal. She is particularly interested in seeing works from underrepresented voices across all genres. Sareer has worked with New York Times bestselling authors like Emily Henry, Mark Greaney, Stephanie Dray, and Dolen Perkins-Valdez. Some of her upcoming recent and upcoming projects include The Last Dress from Paris by Jade Beer, Mrs. Nash's Ashes by Sarah Adler, and Nick Medina’s debut thriller, Two Spirits and the Rolling Head. 

Mia Council

WaterBrook & Multnomah (PRH)

2022 Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy Mentor
Estee Zandee is an Editor at WaterBrook & Multnomah, where she focuses her current acquisitions on nonfiction titles. She previously worked as Associate Literary Agent at The Bindery Agency and on the editorial team at Zondervan, and regularly guest teaches at universities and conferences. Before joining the WaterBrook editorial team, Estee also worked as an editor and collaborative writer for publishers, as well as a coach for beginning writers and veteran authors across genres including Sci-fi and Fantasy. She’s excited by strong character development, good pacing, and cohesive worldbuilding in Sci-Fi and Fantasy reads.

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Penguin Press (PRH)

2022 Adult Poetry Mentor

Mia Council is an associate editor at Penguin Press, where she started as an editorial assistant in 2017. She is from Williamsburg, VA, and is a graduate of Smith College. Her upcoming titles include Acceptance: A Memoir by Emi Nietfeld and Disillusioned: How the Suburbs and Their Schools Undermine the American Dream by Ben Herold. Some of her favorite poets are Gwendolyn Brooks, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Carolyn Forché, Lucille Clifton, and Ocean Vuong.

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