The Steering Committee

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DARREN CHETTY

Advisory Board Member

Darren Chetty's You Cant' Say That! Stories Have To Be About White People appeared in The Good Immigrant (2016). He co-writes, with Karen Sands O'Connor, a regular column for Books for Keeps examining representations of Black Asian and Minority Ethnic people in British children's literature. Darren is a member of the steering group for the Reflecting Realities  project at the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE). In 2019 he co-authored, with Adam Ferner, How to Disagree: Negotiate Difference in a Divided World and with Jeffrey Boakye, What Is Masculinity? Why does it Matter? And Other Big Questions. Darren taught in primary schools for twenty years and is currently a Teaching Fellow at UCL.

    RITA FAIRE

    Advisory Board Member & Programmes

    Rita Faire is a PhD candidate and Associate Lecturer in Publishing at the Scottish Centre of the Book in Edinburgh Napier University. Her current research examines the implications of conglomeration and co-editions on the periphery picturebook publishing environments of Europe – specifically Scotland, Ireland and Sweden. Rita is also a writer, editor and graphic designer who has worked with several award-winning publishers including dyslexia-friendly children’s publisher Barrington Stoke.

      SARAH HARDSTAFF

      Advisory Board Member & Fundraising

      Sarah Hardstaff recently completed a PhD at the University of Cambridge, specialising in children's lite­rature and the works of Mildred Taylor and Cynthia Voigt. Her background includes work in autism support and advocacy, and educational publishing and e-learning. Sarah is currently developing two research projects: one on representation and identity in football fiction for young people, and one on conceptualisations of 'growth' in children's literature. Other research interests include eco-criticism, economic criticism, representations of healthcare, and food studies.

        ​ÉLODIE MALANDA

        Advisory Board Member

        Élodie Malanda received her PhD from the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris, France) in 2017. She has worked as a script doctor and screen writer and as a dancer. She’s also been blogging about creative ways to deal with cancer. She now works at the International Youth Library in Munich, where she is responsible for the educational projects. Her book about the pitfalls of good intentions in children’s and youth novels about Africa has been published in France (Honoré Champion) in July 2019. 

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        BREANNA J. (B.J.) MCDANIEL

        Co-Founder & Co-Coordinator

        Breanna (B.J.) McDaniel (she/her/hers) is the co-founder of REIYL and an emerging scholar and author. She’s published in myriad academic journals and anthologies and her debut picture book Hands Up! was published with Dial Books in 2019. She has two forthcoming picture books, one with Dial and Denene Millner Books, plus a series of chapter books that she’s writing when she’s not agonizing over her dissertation. Bre’s academic research is focused on surveillance and respectability politics in representations of Black children as food in contemporary picture books. A proud alumna of Emory University and Simmons University, she is currently a PhD researcher at the University of Cambridge in England.

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        PHIL NEL

        Advisory Board Member

        Philip Nel is University Distinguished Professor of English at Kansas State University (in Kansas, U.S.A). He is the author or co-editor of eleven books, including Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books (2017).

        Photo credit: Michael Henry

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        MELANIE RAMDARSHAN BOLD

        Advisory Board Member & Fundraising

        Melanie Ramdarshan Bold is an Associate Professor at University College London. She has published widely on inclusive youth literature; alongside numerous publications about contemporary book culture. Her books include: Inclusive Young Adult Fiction: Authors of Colour in the United Kingdom, 2006-2016 (Palgrave, 2019) and Book Trade Activism and Anthologies: Advocating for Change in the UKYA Market (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2020). Melanie works in collaboration with the BookTrust to examine the representation of children’s authors and illustrators of colour and explore ways of better supporting them. Additionally, Melanie is currently working on an interdisciplinary research project, Adolescent Identities, which investigates the impact of inclusive YA on minoritised readers. Melanie's connection to inclusive youth literature extends beyond academia, for example she was a judge on the UKYA book prize, and is on the Advisory Boards for the CLPE Reflecting Realities project and the Pop-up Pathways into Children’s Publishing project.

          EMMA REAY

          Advisory Board Member & Social Media

          Emma Reay is a PhD researcher based in the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge. Her current project combines close readings with census-style surveys to examine the representation of children in contemporary video games. She is also an associate lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University, where she teaches a course in Theorising Children’s Literature and another in Critical Approaches to Video Games.

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          FARRAH SERROUKH

          Advisory Board Member

          ​​Farrah Serroukh is a Learning Programme Leader at the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE). Throughout her career, Farrah has always worked hard to centre marginalised voices and keenly advocated for inclusive practices both within and outside of the education sector. Before joining the CLPE, she taught across the primary school age range and held several leadership posts. Her area of specialism and expertise is teaching children whose first language is not English. As well as sharing responsibility for leading on the design, development and delivery of the charity’s professional development programme, she co-leads on the research and development strand of the CLPE’s work. She is the author of CLPE’s Reflecting Realities Survey and leads the ground breaking and award winning work in this area.

            PARINITA SHETTY

            Advisory Board Member & Programmes

            Parinita Shetty is a writer and enthusiast of children’s books. She has worked with books and young people in India in different ways – as an author, a bookseller, a reading programme developer, and a children’s literature festival coordinator. She has an M.Ed in Children’s Literature and Literacies from the University of Glasgow. She is currently a doctoral researcher at the University of Leeds studying intersectionality and critical literacy in fandom, specifically in Harry Potter and Doctor Who fan podcasts. She should be writing but she’s probably looking for cake.

              JOSHUA SIMPSON

              Co-Founder and Co-Coordinator

              Josh Simpson is the co-founder of REIYL. After a decade of practicing law, he left the US to pursue a PhD in Scotland, his adopted home. His research focuses on Section 28 and LGBT+ youth literature. He has taught at the university-level, is an Associate Fellow of Advance HE (the Higher Education Academy), and Executive Editor of International Research in Children’s Literature. He studied Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh and spends his spare time writing fiction for young people.

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