Debbie Bibo (USA/Italy)
Literary agent and founder, Debbie Bibo Agency
Debbie Bibo is a literary agent and editorial producer of children’s picture books and illustrated books. A native of Northern California, she moved to Milan in 1992 and worked for years in art publishing before founding Debbie Bibo Agency in 2011. The agency represents and promotes an eclectic selection of debut and award-winning authors and illustrators from around the world. Many of the books her agency represents have won multiple awards and have been published in over 25 languages. She has worked as an editorial consultant for international museums and holds courses on the process of picture-book making and the children’s book market at Mimaster in Milan, the Europe Institute of Design, and Ars in Fabula in Macerata, Italy.
Huang Li (China)
Illustrator; General Manager, Xi’an Taiyangwa Design Studio
Illustrator and painter, Huang Li graduated from the Traditional Chinese Painting Department of the Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts. She is the founder of the Xi’an Taiyangwa Design Studio. Two of her most prominent works are An’s Seed and Grandma’s Family Horse.
An’s Seed has been listed among China’s most influential children's book of the last 60 years and was included among the “100 Best Illustration Books of All Times" by the National Library of China. It also won the Feng Zikai Chinese Children's Picture Book Award in 2015, on top of being recommended by the Paris Library Association for the biennial 2015–2016. Winner of the American Freeman Silver Book Award in 2017, An’s Seed has been published in traditional Chinese, Korean, French, as well as in English and Chinese for the USA market.
Grandma’s Family Horse won the highest distinctions in the 2019 Feng Zikai Chinese Children's Picture Book Award, as well as in the 2019 BIBF Ananas International Illustration Competition. On that same year it was selected in the White Ravens book list and won a silver medal in the 3rd Picture Book Era Award. The traditional Chinese rights of the books have been sold.
Ken Niimura (Spain/Japan)
Cartoonist and illustrator
Ken Niimura is the author of I Kill Giants (2009, International Manga Award, written by Joe Kelly), Henshin (2014), Umami (2018, Eisner Award to the Best Digital Comic) and Never Open It (2021).
Ken Niimura’s work has been translated into twelve languages. I Kill Giants was adapted into a film in 2019 starring Zoe Saldana.
His illustration work ranges from posters to character design for a variety of clients including Apple, L’Oreal China, Slate, The Apatow Company, Tezuka Pro, Marvel Comics, Image Comics, Kodansha, NHK Broadcasting Station and DC Entertainment.
Martin Salisbury (UK)
Author; Professor of Illustration, Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University
Martin Salisbury is Professor of Illustration at Cambridge School of Art in Anglia Ruskin University and is Director of the Centre for Children’s Book Studies there. In 2000 he designed the world renowned MA Children’s Book Illustration programme there and led it until stepping down in 2018 to concentrate on research. He continues to teach on the course.
After studying illustration at Maidstone College of Art in the 1970s, Salisbury worked as a freelance illustrator and exhibiting painter for many years alongside part-time teaching. His books on the practice and theory of illustration are published in numerous languages around the world. These include Children’s Picturebooks: The Art of Visual Storytelling (Laurence King Publishing, 2012 and 2020 (new edition), 100 Great Children’s Picturebooks (Laurence King Publishing, 2015) and The Illustrated Dust Jacket: 1920-1970 (Thames & Hudson, 2017). He has acted as Chair of the Bologna Ragazzi awards jury at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and jury member for the CJ Picturebook Awards in Seoul and has been an invited regularly at Bologna and Frankfurt. He has lectured around the world on children’s book illustration, with a particular interest in authorial picturebook-making.
Zhu Ziqiang (China)
Professor, Ocean University of China
Zhu Ziqiang is a picture book researcher, translator, writer and professor specialising in children’s books. He serves as doctoral supervisor and is the director of the China Ocean University Children’s Literature Institute. He was visiting professor and associate professor in several universities in Japan and China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan. He served as chair of the Feng Zikai Chinese Children’s Picture Book Award and the Hsin Yi Picture Book Award.
He has published more than ten academic books, including Close to the Picture Book; Literary Education in Elementary Languages, and Pedagogy of Children's Literature in Elementary Languages. As a children’s writer, he has collaborated with Zhu Chengliang to create the picture book The Talking Hand and The Old Sugar Couple Goes on a Trip; he also wrote and published the series The Rat Class of Huatian Elementary School, and translated The Power of Picture Books, as well as a large number of picture books by Taro Gomi, Tatsuya Miyanishi, Yoshifumi Hasegawa and Suekichi Akaba.