2023 KCU Pitchfest Jurors:

Andrea Cascardi

Transatlantic Agency

Andrea Cascardi has held senior editorial positions at Random House, Disney/Hyperion, and Egmont USA. As an editor she acquired and edited Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King winner Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold, the Raffi Songs to Read series, and Pura Belpre winner Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez among many other award-winning books. As an agent she has represented many bestselling and award-winning titles including Clare Vanderpool’s Newbery winner Moon Over Manifest and Printz Honor winner Navigating Early, e.E. Charlton-Truillo’s Stonewall winner Fat Angie, New York Times Bestseller Nubs: A Mutt, A Marine, and a Miracle, and Texas Bluebonnet winner Ten Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break if You Want to Survive the School Bus.

About Transatlantic Agency:

Transatlantic Agency is a leading literary management company with a vibrant and diverse team of 20 experienced agents based in cities across North America.

Founded 25 years ago by literary agents David and Lynn Bennett, the Transatlantic is a vibrant collective of tenacious, independent professionals with diverse backgrounds and specialties, and is headed by agent and President Samantha Haywood, who joined the company and began building her prestigious client list in 2004.

Recent Books:

Anjali Singh

Ayesha Pande Literary Agent

Anjali Singh is a literary agent at Ayesha Pande Literary. In the comics space, she represents Steenz, Ivy Noelle Weir, Gillian Goerz, Priya Huq, Kate Glasheen, Joel Christian Gill, Rhea Ewing and forthcoming works by Mary Shyne, Fouad Mezher, Deena Mohamed and Aubrey Nolan.

About APL:

Ayesha Pande Literary is a boutique literary agency based in Harlem.

Recent Books:

Britt Siess

President and Literary Agent

Britt Siess began her publishing career at the Taryn Fagerness Agency, working in foreign rights before moving on to the Quarto Group’s becker&mayer! imprint where she specialized in licensing and in selling both domestic and foreign rights. In 2018 she joined Martin Literary & Media Management focusing on graphic novels. In 2020, she founded Britt Siess Creative Management, which represents some of the biggest names in graphic novels and comics.

About BSCM:

Founded in 2020, Britt Siess Creative Management LLC is a Seattle based full service literary and illustration agency with an emphasis on graphic novels. We are editorially focused and hands on as we work closely with our clients to develop their projects and guide them through publication and beyond. We aim to find the perfect home for each project.

Recent Books:

Bunmi Ishola


Raised in Texas and Nigeria, Bunmi Ishola spent most of her childhood reading. After three years of working for different newspapers and magazines, and seven years teaching middle school, Bunmi decided to take a chance and find a job working with one of her biggest passions: books. She now works as an editor for Penguin Random House, primarily focusing on faith-based children’s books. She has high hopes to add a graphic novel to her list someday soon!

About RH's Christian:

The RH Christian children's group seeks to publish books that inspire young readers to find rich, spiritual purpose in their daily lives. We seek books that draw on the Bible, experiential learning, strong storytelling, and/or practical guidance to invite kids into a deeper relationship with God and thrive in their faith. While not all stories need to explicitly faith-based/heavily theological, they must be ecumenically friendly and child-affirming. We do not accept un-agented submissions.

Recent Books:

Chelsea Eberly

Director and Literary Agent

Chelsea Eberly is the Director of Greenhouse Literary Agency and represents award-winning and New York Times bestselling graphic novel creators and illustrators writing picture books. As a former Senior Editor at Penguin Random House, she has an editorial eye and is an expert advocate for her clients. Her client roster includes Gavin Aung Than, Gabriela Epstein, Rebecca Mock, and Ngozi Ukazu. She is on the lookout for creators with a distinct point of view, taking risks on big ideas with heart.

About Greenhouse Literary:

Greenhouse Literary Agency is a boutique, transatlantic agency with an exceptional track record for launching successful careers. We put our clients and their stories at the center of everything that we do. Our vision is to provide personal attention to each client, helping them develop their voice and craft and then being their advocate and partner throughout the publishing process and beyond. We seek talented creators who are ready to put down roots and grow their careers.

Recent Books:


  • Check Please! by Ngozi Ukazu (First Second Macmillan/2018)
  • Myth Valley Medical by Gavin Aung Than (First Second Macmillan/2024)
  • Love Light by Mela Rogers (Holt Macmillan/2025)
  • Cramming by Brigitta Blair (Little Brown Ink/2027)

Chris Duffy

Executive Editor

Chris joined Union Square Kids in 2021. He has written and edited comics and graphic novels for thirty years, taking time out for meals and whistling breaks. For Nickelodeon Magazine’s award-winning comics section, Chris gathered the world’s best cartoonists into one place to create original comics for kids. In addition to editing many anthologies for First Second, Chris worked directly with SpongeBob SquarePants creator Stephen Hillenburg to launch and produce the popular comic book series.

About Union Square & Co.:

Union Square & Co.’s diverse list showcases top-tier talent and brands and gives space to unique perspectives and strong voices. It features books, decks, stationery, games, and calendars focused on fiction, narrative nonfiction, food & drink, decorating, health, wellness, and pop culture.

Recent Books:

Christie Megill

Associate Agent

Christie Megill joined The CAT Agency in 2022 after interning with Writers House and Triada US. She comes from a background in elementary education and before pursuing education, she previously worked as an editorial assistant at an academic press in New York City, as a volunteer at the Housing Works Bookstore in SoHo, and as a bookseller. She’s overjoyed to be working with artists and children’s book authors, offering long-term support in their careers and creative journeys.

About The CAT Agency:

The CAT Agency believes in the hands-on approach in representing a diverse group of talent from all over the world. Led by Christy Ewers, along with Chad W. Beckerman, with the support of Christie Megill and Aliza R. Hoover, we continue to strive for excellence in children’s literature, representing an ever-growing client list; offering an eclectic mix of styles, voices and talent. We are proud to represent many NYT Bestselling illustrators and award-winning authors and illustrators.

Recent Books:

  • DOMINIQUE'S THRIFTED TREASURES, by Margarett McBride, illustrated by Ryan Middaugh

Erinn Pascal

Senior Editor

Erinn Pascal joined Andrews McMeel Kids in 2021. She primarily works on kids' graphic novels. Erinn is proud to have edited Sarah Burgess's Skip!, Liza N. Cooper's Meems and Feefs series, Eric Geron and Jannie Ho's Fry Guys, and Dora Wang's Pocket Peaches, among many others. Prior to AMU, Erinn held editorial positions at Scholastic, Disney, and Simon & Schuster. Erinn grew up in Pembroke Pines, FL and graduated with a BFA in Writing, Literature & Publishing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

About Andrews McMeel:

Andrews McMeel Kids ""have all the fun!"" Andrews McMeel Kids is devoted to uplifting creators' authentic visions. We publish books kids want to read, full of funny and fresh content, such as Big Nate, Phoebe and Her Unicorn, and Cat Ninja. The books that kids choose to read help bolster a confidence for a lifelong love of reading.

Recent Books:

Fiona Kenshole

Literary Agent

Fiona came to agenting after nearly a decade as VP at Laika Studios, creating a development slate of new projects for the Academy Award winning animation studio including the Oscar-nominated THE BOXTROLLS and CORALINE.

Previously she was a senior publisher in the UK where she published authors including Michael Bond (Paddington Bear), P.L Travers (Mary Poppins) and the Laureate Michael Morpurgo (War Horse) and was UK editor for Beverley Cleary, Lois Lowry, Bruce Coville, Gary Paulsen and Cynthia Voigt. She was nominated for “Editor of the Year” at the British Book Awards.

Fiona enjoys being on faculty as a conference guest speaker throughout the US and in Europe. She has taught publishing at Oxford Brookes University and Portland State, organized events for the Oxford Literary Festival and is herself a published author. A British citizen, Fiona now lives in Portland, Oregon.

About Transatlantic Agency:

Transatlantic Agency is a leading literary management company with a vibrant and diverse team of 20 experienced agents based in cities across North America.

Founded 25 years ago by literary agents David and Lynn Bennett, the Transatlantic is a vibrant collective of tenacious, independent professionals with diverse backgrounds and specialties, and is headed by agent and President Samantha Haywood, who joined the company and began building her prestigious client list in 2004.

Recent Books:

Jasmine Richards

Editorial Director and Founder

Jasmine Richards is the founder of Storymix. An award winning children’s fiction studio with a social purpose. We create stories with inclusive casts of characters. All children, regardless of background, get to be the heroes in our stories. She is actively seeking writers from underrepresented backgrounds to write with Storymix. It doesn’t matter if you are published, unpublished or self-published she'd love to hear from you! www.storymix.co.uk.

About Storymix:

"We create outstanding inclusive stories for children's publishers by working with talented writers and illustrators from diverse backgrounds.

We craft stories that put kids and teens of colour at the heart of the action. We discover voices, nurture talent and open up publishing opportunities for racially minoritized writers and illustrators.

Commercial storytelling that changes the conversation is our activism and legacy."

Recent Books:

Jenniea Carter

Literary Associate

Harlem born and raised, Jenniea graduated from City College of New York with a B.A in Creative Writing and Asian Studies. With haste, she moved to Japan to explore the world outside the concrete jungle. After years of exploration, she returned home with a revitalized zeal for the literary world. Her first endeavor led her to Kinokuniya Bookstore where she honed her knowledge of book buying, merchandising, and selling. Soon after; Jenniea found herself home at New Leaf on Joanna’s team, eager to uplift and amplify marginalized voices. When she is not between the pages of a book, Jenniea can be found bingeing mystery documentaries and animation.

About New Leaf Literary and Media:

We are a passionate agency with a relentless focus on building our clients’ careers. Our approach is big picture, offering a one-stop shop built without silos and access to a variety of services including international sales, film and television, and branding resources for all clients. Our aim is to challenge conformity and re-imagine the marketplace while equipping our clients with the tools necessary to navigate an evolving landscape and succeed.

Recent Books:

Kathleen Ortiz

Licensing and Literary Agent

Kathleen Ortiz founded KOMM in 2022, after working in publishing and international licensing for over a decade, including roles as Director of Translation, Subsidiary Rights Manager and Literary Agent. She has spent her career helping build and elevate creative brands.

Her focus is on books and media for adults and children, especially with a visual element. She loves media and books that bring humor and joy and inspire others in life.

About KO Media Management:

At KO Media Management, we’re passionate about growing our clients’ publishing and licensing brands. We are a full-service, boutique literary and media representation agency, and serve as your strategic partner to leverage your IP’s licensing opportunities. Whether it’s books, merchandise, translations, film/tv, digital media or other types of licensing opportunities, we’re ready to unlock new opportunities for you and your brand.

Recent Books:

Kristie Choi

Assistant Editor

Kristie Choi is a queer, Korean-American editor who, prior to publishing, sleuthed as a private investigator. Kristie has had the opportunity to work with multiple award-winning and bestselling authors as an assistant. She's been building her list as the editor of her own talented authors/illustrators, working on a range of YA, MG, picture books, and graphic novels. Kristie lives in Denver with her partner and two cats. In her spare time, she loves to rock climb, garden, and be in the outdoors.

About Atheneum:

Atheneum is known for publishing enduring literary MG, teen, picture book, and graphic novel titles. The imprint has garnered more than 40 Newbery and Caldecott Medals and Honors. It's also published a list of books that have won innumerable other awards and accolades, including Coretta Scott King medals, National Book Award medals and nominations, Printz medals and honors, PEN USA Literary Awards, NYT bestsellers, with titles that have been named to numerous state reading lists.

Recent Books:

Maria Vicente

Senior Literary Agent

Maria Vicente is a Senior Literary Agent and Advisor at P.S. Literary Agency representing innovative and beautifully written (and often illustrated) books for readers of all ages. With a decade of experience in the industry, Maria connects her clients with the very best publishing partners to bring their stories to readers across the globe. She lives in New Brunswick, Canada, reading and selling books from the Atlantic Ocean shore.

About PS Literary:

P.S. Literary Agency has championed creators for nearly two decades since opening in 2005 as a full service literary agency. The agency's goal is to support clients from their drafts to post-publication, pursuing foreign, audio, digital, TV/film and serial rights to give their select client list every opportunity to succeed. PSLA represents bestselling and award-winning authors and illustrators, celebrity personalities, and incredible creators just starting out on their publishing journey.

Recent Books:

Megan Peace

Senior Editor

Megan is a Senior Editor at Graphix and edits YA, MG, and early reader graphic novels. Before entering publishing, she studied English and creative writing at the University of Iowa, received her publishing certificate from New York University, and then earned her MFA in writing for children from the New School. The thing she enjoys most about her job is story development. For her, there’s nothing quite as thrilling as collaborating with creators to craft memorable, compelling books!

About Graphix:

Stories that inspire. Characters that connect. Art that comes alive.

Scholastic’s Graphix imprint is where the most popular graphic novels and most talented creators call home. Since 2005, we’ve championed the art of graphic storytelling by seeking out and empowering groundbreaking visual authors, publishing the most diverse and vibrant stories, and instilling a love of reading in children that lasts a lifetime.

There are graphic novels. And then there’s Graphix.

Recent Books:

Rachel Diebel


Rachel Diebel is an editor at Feiwel & Friends (an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group), acquiring middle grade, young adult, and graphic novels. Throughout her career, she has worked on multiple New York Times bestsellers, as well as celebrity projects including books by Lili Reinhart, Jimmy Fallon, and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Though she now calls Brooklyn home, her heart will always be in the Pacific Northwest, where she grew up.

About Feiwel and Friends:

Feiwel and Friends is a publisher of innovative children’s fiction and nonfiction literature, including hardcover, paperback series, and individual titles. The list is eclectic and combines quality and commercial appeal for readers ages 0-18. The imprint is dedicated to “book by book” publishing, bringing the work of distinctive and outstanding authors, illustrators, and ideas to the marketplace. Feiwel and Friends is defined and guided by our principle: Our books are friends for life.

Recent Books:

  • SWING by Audrey Meeker, colors by Sarah Davidson (upcoming F24)
  • HOLLOW MAGIC by Mars Lauderbaugh (upcoming F26)
  • OPHELIA AFTER ALL by Racquel Marie (prose; 2022)

Serah-Marie McMahon


Serah-Marie McMahon is graphic novel editor at Annick Press. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of WORN Fashion Journal and a freelance creative director. In 2010 she was nominated for a National Magazine Award for Best Cover of the Year.

About Annick Press:

Annick Press is a proudly independent children’s publisher based in Toronto, Canada. Annick is recognized as one of the most innovative publishers of fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults. Our books are distributed in the United States by Publisher’s Group West, represented in Canada by Ampersand Inc. and University of Toronto Press, and licensed internationally. Annick also publishes e-book and audiobook editions of select titles.

Recent Books:

Shana Corey

Editorial Director

Shana Corey (she/her/hers) is an editorial director at Random House Graphic. In her 25 years at RHCB, Shana has worked with incredible creators and has edited Newbery Honors, National Book Award Finalists, and Eisner Winners, as well as many NYT Bestsellers. Shana focuses on creator development and has managed and grown hit series like Junie B. Jones and Mr, Lemoncello’s Library. Shana began RHCB’s graphic novel program in 2005 with Babymouse and is excited to help grow Random House Graphic.

About Random House Graphic:

Random House Graphic is an imprint of Random House Children’s Books and is committed to putting a graphic novel on every bookshelf, at every age level and across all interests. RHG publishes a diverse range of offerings – from award-winners like The Magic Fish and The Mothkeeper to bestselling series like Sweet Valley Twins, Hilo, and Katie the Catsitter. Newly combined with RHBFYR graphic novels, RHG is a robust list with a long history, dating back to Babymouse and other trailblazing series.

Recent Books:

Shannon Gallagher

Associate Agent

Shannon is actively building her list and is interested in fiction and nonfiction in all categories of children’s literature, from picture books through YA. She especially welcomes underrepresented perspectives. Prior to joining Wernick & Pratt, she spent more than twelve years in the marketing departments at various trade publishers. Shannon is proud to have brokered a deal for Scott Slater’s debut picture book Down the Hole, due out in October 2023.

About Wernik and Pratt:

Wernick & Pratt is a full-service literary agency focused exclusively on the children’s book industry. Founded in 2011, the agency represents established and emerging authors and illustrators whose work ranges from fiction to nonfiction, from very young picture books and novelty books, through early readers, middle grade, and young adult. Our philosophy is to represent people and not just their books, so our approach to representation is to create strategies for our clients’ long-term careers.

Recent Books:

Sophie Splatt

Senior Editor

Sophie Splatt is a senior editor of books for children and young adults at Allen & Unwin in Melbourne, Australia. She has been a recipient of the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Mentorship, the 2018 Australia Council Seagull School of Publishing Residency in Kolkata, India, and a participant of the 2022 Australian Publishers Association Residential Editorial Program. As the 2023 Beatrice Davis Editorial Fellow she is researching the editing and publishing of graphic novels in the US.

About Allen and Unwin:

Allen & Unwin is Australia's leading independent publisher and is the 2023 Publisher of the Year. We publish around 250 new titles each year including literary and commercial fiction, general non fiction and lifestyle titles, and books for children and young adults. Our imprints include Allen & Unwin, Albert Street Books, Crows Nest, JOAN, Murdoch Books and Pier 9. While we are Australian owned and operated, we have offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and London.

Recent Books: