Our 2021 Editor-Writer Mentees!
Meriam Ben Hamza
2022 Nonfiction Picture Book Mentee
Meriam Ben Hamza is a development consultant focusing on youth empowerment and an aspiring writer. Born and raised in Morocco, her work is inspired by her region’s spirituality, rich history and folklore. She is also a history addict that enjoys learning and discovering new cultures through the history behind them, and re-reading classics. Currently, she lives in Casablanca with her family and a mountain of books.
Adriana Lebrón White
2022 Fiction Picture Book Mentee
Adriana Lebrón White is an autistic librarian, former special education teacher, and writer. She holds a Master's degree in Education as well as an MLIS. Adriana is a passionate supporter of books by autistic and disabled authors, and she advises educators and librarians about the importance of these books through workshops and presentations. She is also a staff editor for the website A Novel Mind, a resource for exploring children's literature that deals with mental health and neurodiversity. In her own work, she is committed to writing authentic stories about autistic characters while also paying homage to her Puerto Rican and Mexican heritage. Adriana is a former #PBChat mentee and a 2021 recipient of a Walter Grant from We Need Diverse Books. You can find her on Twitter at @Adriana_Edu.
Shifa Saltagi Safadi
2022 Children's Chapter Book Mentee
Shifa Saltagi Safadi is a Syrian American Muslim Author. She has three picture books published by an indie Muslim publisher and aspires to be published mainstream as well. She hopes her books inspire empathy and love between people of all backgrounds, and dreams of seeing her books in local libraries and bookstores! She loves reading and reviewing Muslim books on her Bookstagram @muslimmommyblog. She is represented by Janine Le, and is a member of SCBWI and 12X12.
2022 Middle Grade Fiction Mentee
Sophie Li was born in a city in Northern China and immigrated to Canada at a young age with
her family. Starting from ESL class, to middle school, to high school and beyond, she devoured all sorts of books, yearning to find herself in the pages. After taking a small detour to obtain a PharmD degree from the University of Toronto, she decided to pursue writing seriously. Sophie is an alumni of Author Mentor Match and Pitch Wars with two previous novels. She’s excited to collaborate with Editor, Gianna Lakenauth, on her new contemporary middle grade book.
2022 Young Adult Fiction/Nonfiction Mentee
J.H.Ahn is a Korean American children’s book author who dedicates herself to crafting original stories that inspire, entertain, and promote a deeper understanding of others. Through her stories she would like readers to recognize their inner strengths, pay attention to their true selves and to launch themselves forward on the path they are destined for. Jin Hee is the recipient of several SCBWI Scholarships and holds bachelor degrees in Psychology and Education from Stony Brook University. Her love of the arts, humor, and truth embody her writing. She also enjoys feeding family, squat-nosed dogs, is beholden of nature, and falls deep into those synchronistic moments where the interconnectedness of light shines.
2022 MG/YA Genre Fiction Mentee
Kim is a Black author and native of southern Massachusetts. She loves stories with dragons, lightsabers, and characters with curls and coily hair. She earned her MFA in English and Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University and her Bachelor’s at Quinnipiac University where she studied communications. Nowadays she assists the book buying team at an indie bookstore in Plainville MA. When she’s not reading, writing, or working, you can find her binging Marvel movies and playing Dungeons and Dragons with her friends.
2022 Adult Memoir Mentee
Born in India and raised in Canada, Raksha Vasudevan is a writer and former aid worker. Her work appears in Harper's Bazaar, Guernica, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and more. She has received fellowships and grants from the Writers' Trust of Canada, the Canada Council of the Arts, the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creating Writing. She lives in Denver with her partner and dog.
2022 Adult Fiction Mentee
Patricia Martin (she/they) is a NJ-born, LA-based writer and founder of the blog The Glam Femme. Patricia writes QTPOC-focused contemporary fiction that subverts societal norms and thoughtfully promotes diverse experiences and authentic voices. Their short stories are published in Midnight & Indigo and MMURE. Patricia’s manuscript incorporates themes of love, found family, and identity. They've been a freelance contributor to several publications focusing on culture, social justice, and mental health. A legal editor by day, Patricia also considers herself an advocate for those discovering their creative voices as she has done. (Twitter @Patriciamwrites, IG @patriciamartinwrites)
2022 Adult Romance Mentee
Nurin Chatur was born in a small town in British Columbia and spent her formative years in Edmonton, where she started a book review blog as a teen. She studied Psychology and English Literature at McGill University and received her MD from the University of Calgary. She currently resides in Toronto where she is completing her fellowship in developmental pediatrics. As a voracious reader of young adult fiction, fantasy, women’s fiction and romance, Nurin is passionate about writing stories that are representative of those around her and her own experiences as a second-generation immigrant.
Kari M. Johnson
2021 Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy Mentee
Kari M. Johnson grew up in a small town in North Carolina where, in second grade, she started writing stories with her spelling words because it was the only way to make doing homework bearable. She began writing her first novel at the age of 12 before throwing it in a closet to focus on their illustrious fanfiction career. Thinking they would be a pastor one day, they went on to get a B.A. in Religion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Fortunately, she also studied English and Creative Writing, which were a lot more fun. Since then, she has been a Disney cast member, a librarian, a banker, a muse, a barista, and now manages a bookstore in Manhattan - the perfect job, because it is the closest they will ever come to getting paid to read.
2022 Adult Poetry Mentee
Charlotte Yeung is a bestselling author, Blue Blood International Journalism Fellow, and 2022 Indy Youth Poet Laureate. Her children's book, Isabelle and the Magic Bird, was an Amazon Best Seller and #1 New Release. She has also published Verge and Coloring Climate Justice. Her award-winning writing is published on multiple platforms from the New York Times to Carnegie Hall. She is a sophomore studying Political Science at Purdue University.