Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Conference faculty profile: Justin Chanda

Justin Chanda, vice president and publisher of the three flagship children's  imprints at Simon and Schuster (S&S), recently edited Battle Bunny and the Caldecott honor book Creepy Carrots, among others. In addition to speaking at SCBWI Western Washington's 23rd Annual Writing and Illustrating for Children conference, which will be held April 12-13, 2014, he will be leading one of the pre-conference master classes. (Get registration info.)

Justin joined the editorial staff at S&S in 2005 after an eight-year stint at HarperCollins. A graduate of New York University, he was named publisher of S&S Books for Young Readers in 2007 and of McElderry Books and Atheneum Books for Young Readers as well in 2009. He annually oversees the publication of 250 titles ranging from the youngest picture book to the edgiest YA. He is keenly interested in publishing books that are equal parts commercial and literary, books that make a contribution to the tradition while truly entertaining kids.

Aside from having the honor of working with the best editorial staff in the industry, he also has the opportunity to edit some of its best talent, including the likes of Jon Scieszka, Loren Long, Kenneth Oppel, Patricia MacLachlan, Peter Brown, Michael Ian Black, Karma Wilson, Dan Krall, Mike Lupica, and Morgan Matson and Debbie Ohi (whom he discovered at SCBWI in Los Angeles). He's been a board member for the Children’s Book Council and is an adjunct instructor for the NYU Graduate Publishing Program. He also recently added publisher of SAGA press, a new adult sci-fi and fantasy imprint, to his resume. While away from the office, he tends a skyfarm on his rooftop in Brooklyn.

Read a great tale about his editorial work on the hilarious Battle Bunny, by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett, or this mini-interview containing Justin's advice to aspiring picture book writers. Follow him on twitter at @jpchanda or on facebook.

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