2015 Faculty

Lisa Cheng and Susan Hawk impart wisdom

Our 2015 line up of amazing faculty guided us in three and a half days of magical work. Many thanks to Emma Dryden, Lisa Cheng, Stacey Barney, and Susan Hawk.

Emma D. Dryden is the founder of drydenbks, a premier children’s editorial and publishing consultancy firm which she established after twenty-five years as a highly regarded children’s book editor and publisher. During the course of her career, Emma has edited over a thousand books for children and young readers and during her tenure with Atheneum and McElderry Books, many of her titles hit bestseller lists in USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, and other national publications. Books published under Emma’s guidance have received numerous awards and medals, including but not limited to the Newbery Medal, Newbery Honor, and Caldecott Honor. Emma speaks regularly on craft, the digital landscape, and reinvention, and her blog “Our Stories, Ourselves” explores the intertwined themes of life and writing. She can be followed online at Twitter (@drydenbks), Facebook, and Pinterest.

Lisa Cheng is a Senior Editor at Running Press Kids, an imprint of Running Press Book Publishers, which is a member of the Perseus Books Group. She has previously worked at Margaret K. McElderry Books and Atheneum Books for Young Readers at Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, and also at HarperCollins Childrens Books. She has had the pleasure of working with such authors and illustrators as Tessa Elwood, Emma Trevayne, Eric Devine, Cori McCarthy, Tara Altebrando, Lyn Miller-Lachmann, Maria Andreu, Ethan Long, Toni Buzzeo, and Connah Brecon.

Stacey Barney is a Senior Editor at Penguin/Putnam Books for Young Readers. She acquires a wide range of middle grade and young adult fiction as well as select nonfiction and picture books. Most recently she has edited the 2015 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award-winning Firebird by NYT bestselling American Ballet Theatre Soloist Misty Copeland and illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Christopher Myers. Upcoming are picture books with Grammy award-winning Pharrell Williams, including a picture book adaptation of his blockbuster hit HAPPY; as well a sumptuous retelling of Arabian Nights by debut author Renee Ahdieh titled The Wrath and the Dawn and Brooklyn-bred teen heavy metal band Unlocking the Truth’s inspiring memoir written with Pulitzer Prize-winning Charisse Jones about the road to their $1.8 million record deal with Sony—the youngest African American band to attain such success. Stacey has also edited the 2013 Coretta Scott King Honor-winning, Ellen’s Broom by Kelly Starling Lyons and illustrated by Daniel Minter; Kristin Levine’s award-winning The Lions of Little Rock; Tara Sullivan’s Golden Boy, a YALSA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults; Boys, Girls & Other Hazardous Materials by Rosalind Wiseman, NYT bestselling author of Queen Bees and Wannabes, the book that inspired Mean Girls; the NYT bestselling Ask Elizabeth by accomplished actress Elizabeth Berkley; and award-winning Sparrow Road by Sheila O’Connor.

Susan Hawk is a Literary Agent at The Bent Agency, representing middle grade, YA, picture books, and non-fiction for kids. Projects she represents share powerful and original writing, strong story-telling and a distinctive voice. In middle-grade and YA, she’s looking for unforgettable characters, rich world-building, and she’s a sucker for bittersweet; bonus points for something that makes her laugh out loud. In picture books, she’s looking particularly for author-illustrators, succinct but expressive texts, and indelible characters. Her favorite projects live at the intersection of literary and commercial. Before agenting, she spent fifteen years in children’s book marketing at Penguin, Henry Holt and North-South Books; she also worked in Editorial at Dutton Children’s Books, and as a children’s librarian and bookseller.