Meet the New Voices presenting at this year's Conference

August 2023
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New Voices panel 2023

Our popular New Voices panel is returning to Children's Books Conference 2023!

We're dedicated to celebrating and amplifying the work of debut Irish authors and illustrators.

This includes a recurrent New Voices slot at our Annual International Conference, where debut children’s artists have the opportunity to present or read from their book alongside their peers.

In 2023, we've selected eleven debut authors and illustrators to take part – find out more about each of them below!


New Voices 2023
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Headshot of Rachel Chivers Khoo

Rachel Chivers Khoo

Rachel was born in Belfast and spent most of her childhood sheltering in her local library from the endless Northern Irish rain. She studied English Literature at Oxford before working in book publishing. Rachel now lives in south-east London and writes stories in her tiny loft study. The Wishkeeper's Apprentice is her debut novel.


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Headshot of Serena Scully

Serena Scully

Serena Scully is a designer, illustrator and educator from Dublin and is currently based in Stockholm, Sweden. She is very interested in nature and in the ways it can be protected. The natural environment and the process of pollination have strong influences over Serena's work both artistically and ethically. An Snag Breac Ildaite is her first picturebook.


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Headshot of Tristan Rosenstock

Tristan Rosenstock

Tristan Rosenstock is a broadcaster, musician, author and editor. He received a degree in Modern & Early Irish from Trinity College Dublin and an MA in Television & Film from DCU. He is a radio presenter with RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and presents the arts programme ‘An Cúinne Dána’. Since 2017 he is the literary editor the the magazine Comhar. He has travelled the world playing music with the group Téada.


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Headshot of Ratha Tep

Ratha Tep

Ratha Tep is a Cambodian-born American who has called Dublin home for nearly a decade. Before getting into children’s books, Ratha was a frequent contributor to The New York Times, where she wrote travel feature stories focused on the particulars of place—for instance, how Cornwall’s landscape influenced Virginia Woolf’s writing. For her children’s books, Ratha seeks to explore universal issues, especially those of childhood and how they’re shaped by technology. 


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Headshot of Aileen Crossley

Aileen Crossley

Aileen Crossley is a Dublin-based illustrator, animator and motion designer. Currently studying her MA in Illustration at Falmouth University. She is a member of the Black Church Print Studio, where she explores lithography alongside her illustration work. With her animation work, Aileen was the winner of two IDI awards in 2021 - Best Short Animated Film and Emerging Designer Award for her animated short ‘Wishing Well’, for Paul Hourican.  Henny is Stuck is Aileen's debut picture book.


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Headshot of Clara Kumagai

Clara Kumagai

Clara Kumagai is from Canada, Japan and Ireland. Her fiction and non-fiction for children and adults has been published in The Stinging Fly, The Irish Times, Banshee, Room, The Kyoto Journal and Cicada, among others. Her short story, ‘A Girl Named Indigo’, was translated and published in Japanese as a picture book with the title Indigo Wo Sagashite (Shogakukan, 2020). She was a recipient of a We Need Diverse Books Mentorship and a finalist for the 2020 Jim Wong-Chu Emerging Writers Award.  Her debut YA novel, Catfish Rolling (Zephyr, 2023), blends magical realism with Japanese myth in an original story about grief and memory. Clara is also developing an essay collection centred around multiracial identity, hybridity and belonging. She lives in Ireland.


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Headshot of Amy Clarkin

Amy Clarkin

Amy Clarkin is a writer from Dublin. Her non-fiction writing is often on the theme of chronic illness and identity, and has been featured in Sonder Literary Magazine, Rogue, and Dear Damsels. What Walks These Halls is her debut novel. She can generally be found by the sea, drinking coffee, talking about her dog, or asking people what their favourite ghost story is. 


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Headshot of Isla McGuckin

Isla McGuckin

Isla McGuckin is a dreamer and a writer and the proud mother of daughters. Endlessly optimistic, Isla believes that words have the power to open hearts, change minds and make the world a better place. Born and raised in urban Yorkshire, Isla is now based in rural Donegal. Isla’s day job is in marketing and April’s Garden is her first children’s book.


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Headshots of Leona Forde and Karen Harte

Leona Forde and Karen Harte

Leona Forde was born in Cork and studied English and History at UCC. She now teaches the same subjects to teenagers. She has four children and was inspired by the eldest to write Milly McCarthy is a Complete Catastrophe when she bemoaned the lack of Irish-set illustrated funny novels for kids.

Karen Harte is an illustrator and designer based in Dublin. Millie McCarthy is a Complete Catastrophe is her first children's book but she has produced her own comic strips and mini graphic novels for years.


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Headshot of Jenny Ireland

Jenny Ireland

Jenny Ireland is a Young Adult writer who lives outside Belfast with her husband, two children and border collie. She is a Law and French Law graduate and former paralegal. In 2019 she underwent emergency brain surgery. While this experience was relatively traumatic, the close encounter with death has given her the gift of seeing what truly matters in life. Writing books.


The Children's Books Ireland International Conference is a weekend-long celebration of the very best in children's books, taking place from 16–17 September in the Light House Cinema, Smithfield.

Anyone with an interest in and a passion for children's books is welcome to attend and participate in what is always an outward-looking, lively and thought-provoking event. 

Both day and weekend tickets are now available to purchase from Eventbrite.ie.