Speakers at SmåBUS 2021

Marit Törnqvist, The Netherlands

Marit Törnqvist
Fotograf Chris Van Houts

Marit Törnqvist (external link) (1964) was born in Sweden to a Dutch mother and a Swedish father. When she was five they moved to the Netherlands. She studied illustration at Gerrit Rietveld School of Art & Design, where her talent and unique style made an immediate impression.

Marit made her international debut in 1989 with a picture book by Astrid Lindgren – A Calf for Christmas. More picture books based on Astrid Lindgren’s texts followed and a close friendship developed between Marit and Astrid. In 1994, Marit received the commission to turn the best known fairy tales by Astrid Lindgren into a three-dimensional journey in the newly created children’s cultural center Junibacken in Stockholm. Junibacken opened in the presence of Astrid Lindgren and the Swedish king and queen in 1996. Since then millions of people have visited it and experienced the fairy tale journey, for which Marit has received several rewards.

Marit has illustrated several writers, such as the Dutch poets Hans and Monique Hagen, but she is also a writer herself. The first book Marit wrote, Klein verhaal over liefde(“A Small Story About Love”) was published in 1995. In 2017, her latest book Het gelukkige eiland(“The Island of Happiness”) came out. The press has described her work as “impressive and timeless”, “technically astonishing” and “colourful, layered and full of emotion”. Marits books has been published in around 20 languages. She was nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award eleven times in a row and she was one of five illustrators on the shortlist of the H.C. Andersen Award 2016.

Marithas also initiated various projects where tens of thousands of refugees have been welcomed with a book in their own language. She uses books and stories as a way to build a bridge between cultures in an increasingly polarized world.
From Nairobi to Tokyo, from the jungle of Suriname to the slums of Tehran - she keeps telling stories to children that they desperately need to get hope from.

Belgium and the Netherlands have nominated Marit Törnqvist for the IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reading Promotor Award2020.

Gro Dahle, Norway

I was born in 1962 in Oslo, Norway, and I am now 56 years and a writer, a poet, a picture book maker and a teacher of creative writing and picture book storytelling. For thirty or so years I’ve worked with creative writing, giving courses and leading workshops in Norway and Sweden. During these years of teaching I have also published more than 60 books and plays. For my literature I have received several awards, especially for the picture books, which are made with my illustrator-husband Svein Nyhus or my illustrator-daughter Kaia Nyhus. These picture books are for all ages and are more often than not about serious topics such as violence in the family, death of a loved one, neglect, aggression, high conflict divorce, jealousy, psychiatric conditions, incest. Several of them, and especially “Den Arga/Sinna Mann/Angry Man” has been translated to a great many languages all over the world.



Gunna Grähs, Sweden

Gunna Grähs (born 1954), studied at Konstfack (University College of Arts, Crafts and Design) in Stockholm. Illustrator, designer, lecturer and picturebook artist and author, with works including her own Hejhej (Hello there) series. Since the debut in 1982, she has published over 60 titles, mostly picturebooks, but also non-fiction, comics and adult satire.

Richard Câmara, Portugal

Richard Câmara (Brussels, 1973) is a full time father of 3 young children, Illustrator, sketchbook artist and teacher. His courses and lectures have been held in schools, universities and museums across Portugal and Spain where he lives and draws daily for the past decade. Graduated in Architecture, Illustration and Comics, he has collaborated professionally on a diverse set of projects, over 20 years, with publishers, newspapers, magazines, art galleries, Illustration and Comics Exhibitions, on stage performances, etc. Along with being one of the original first 100 Urban Sketchers that set up the USK International Community, his work has been exhibited and awarded in countries such as Portugal, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and China. His artwork is constantly changing, looking for new frontiers and exploring different graphical expressions (see his Facebook / Instagram).

Bart Moeyaert, Belgium

The books, plays, and poetry of Bart Moeyaert are beloved by readers of all ages, since his debut in 1983, awarding him an unique place in Dutch literature. His most well-known titles include: Blote handen, Het is de Liefde die we Niet Begrijpen, Broere, Tegenwoordig Heet Iedereen Sorry; and poetic works such as:Verzamel de Liefde en Gedichten voor Gelukkige Mensen. His third collection collection of poetry, Helium, is set to appear in autumn 2019.

Until 1995 Moeyaert worked as editor for a YA magazine after which he embarked on a career as a full-time writer. His work has been met with wide acclaim both at home and abroad and received awards such as: the international Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2019 for, among other things, Verzamel de Liefde and Gedichten voor Gelukkige Mensen, and twice for the international Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2002 and 2012 respectively (this on top of six nominations for said award.)

His work has been published in 22 languages.

 In 2014 Moeyaert filled the position of Artistic Curator/Director* of project Gastland Vlaanderen en Nederland at the Frankfurter Buchmesse 2016.

He also works as Senior Lecturer in Writing in the degree of Woord* since 2000. 

More information about the author can be found at: www.bartmoeyaert.com

Marjolein Pottie, Belgium

Marjolein Pottie (1970) has illustrated children’s books and magazines since the mid-90’s. She doesn’t stick to one style or technique but rather ventures to find a new method best suited for every new story. She creates for different ages: from the small ‘carton’ for the very youngest to proper books for first time readers.

Marjolein has worked on series like: ‘Zoeperman en Muis en Draak’. As a child she could look into ‘zoekboeken' for hours on end and has subsequently created these books herself, filled with details, such as ‘Zoekhuis 101’ and ‘Zoekwinkel en Tram Bxl’. Her books have been translated into many different languages such as: English, French, German, Danish, Korean, Portugese, Norwegian etc.

In the autumn of 2017 Marjolein had a residency together with author Bouke Billet in the small Swedish village of Björköby. At the invitation of ‘de Auteurs’ they were given the opportunity to work in a small red cottage. Quickly the sketchbooks were filled with polar bears, portraits of the author, and images of the surrounding nature.

The cottage which appears in ‘de IJsbeer en de Nacht’ is the actual cottage in which they had stayed. The mushrooms portrayed on the polar bear's blanket were inspired by their walks in the autumnal forests of Sweden.

Sarah Vegna, Sweden

Saci Lloyd, Great Britain

Saci Lloyd was born in Manchester, but raised on the Isle of Anglesey where she spent a lot of time lost in nature or down by the shore.

Saci returned to Manchester as an undergraduate, but soon quit University for a life of glamour. At various points in the glitz she has worked as a very bad cartoonist, toured the States in a straightedge band, run an interactive media team at an advertising agency, co-founded a film company and finally wound up as head of media at NewVIc college in East London. 

The critically acclaimed Cli-Fi novels, 'The Carbon Diaries' series were her first works. They have been translated into fifteen languages and have recently been optioned, with a TV series is in the pipeline. Passionate about climate change and social justice, Saci followed this first series by thrillers set against the backdrop of an oil and debt crisis and a Sci-Fi comedy set on a parallel Earth that questions the role of technology in our lives. She is currently working on her latest book, 72 To Save A Zoo - a climate change novel set in a biodome. This stars a stick insect called Stacey Blumenthal, who leads a ragtag group of some of the most unlikely animals you could think of, including a Banana Slug, a Pygmy Mouse and an Axolotl, to save the world. It is a book for children to read to their parents.

Jan De Kinder, Belgium

A writer and artist, Jan De Kinder can sometimes be found on the stage. He grew up between the Flemish towns of Lebbeke and Wieze and now lives in Tienen, not so far from Brussels, sharing a home with no less than four women and a tomcat.

Apart from drawing and writing his greatest passions are unicycling, circus, drama, street performance, improvisation, clowning and storytelling.


Jan studied applied graphic art at Sint Lucas Brussels and further honed his drawing and graphics skills at Louvain academy of art SLAC. Making his debut as a writer in 2002 with a picture book entitled ‘Mathilde’, Jan’s work has since been translated into 16 languages.

In his drawings and stories he aims to depict emotion and to create direct, powerful narrative, humour and atmosphere.

One of his books, Red, has been selected as one of the year’s best childrens books published in the U.S. by The Society of Illustrators, New York. It was also selected for the SEP 2014, Guadalajara Book Fair in Mexico, shortlisted for the Prix des Incorruptibles, France, the USBBY 2015 Outstanding International Book, the Notable Books for a Global Society 2016, CCBC Choices 2016 and for the Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2016.

His last book, ‘Are you scared in the forest,Big Wolf?’ has been translated in 7 languages. This book was selected at the Bratislave biennial 2017, won silver by the children and youth jury Flanders and has won a Best of the Best Little Hakka International Picture Book Award in Shenzhen.

Pim Lammers, The Netherlands

Pimm Lammers (1993) writes for adults and children. He debuted in 2017 with ‘Het Lammetje dat een Varken is’ (illustrations by Milja Praagman). This, the very first transgender picture book in the Netherlands, was awarded a ‘Zilveren Griffel’. Making Pim the youngest recipient in the history of this prize. A year later the book was followed by a sequel: ‘de Boer en de Dierenarts’ with homosexuality as its central theme. This book in turn was nominated for the ‘PrentenBoek TopTien 2020.

For adults Pim writes prose and poetry. He is published in a variety of literary magazines a.o. ‘Hard//Hoofd' and ‘de Revisor'. Pim studied Political Science and Dutch Literature at the University of Amsterdam.

(for more information visit: www.pimlammers.nl)

Erica Elfström, Sweden

Erica Elfström is a teacher and filmdirector. She’s been directing films for both the younger audience and grown-ups. Currently she is working on her first feature which is about the life of the artist Ester Bauer. Erica is born in Nässjö, Småland and tends to go back there for inspiration in her storytelling and filmmaking. 


Fatinha Ramos, Portugal

Fatinha Ramos is a Antwerp-based illustrator and visual artist, originally from Portugal. Answering the call from several international magazines, she has opened the door to her fantasy realm. Fatinha has worked her magic on children’s books, covers, posters, editorial, advertising, fashion, animation and diverse personal projects. Her work takes us on a journey through an imaginary world of singular textures and rich color pallet, with surreal compositions that create an emotive and fascinating universe. She has been internationally recognized by: 3x3; Society of Illustrators New York; Creative Quarterly; Nami Concours; Global Illustration Award; World Illustration Award (AOI)…etc. One of her latest children’s books: “Sonia Delaunay. A Life Of Color” published by MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art New York) got a New York Times book review, a Global Excellence Illustration Award in Frankfurt Buchmesse and a White Raven.



Sören Olsson, Sweden

Sören Olsson is one of the most read and beloved writers in Sweden. His stories are always filled to the brim with humor while gravity is always present. With the assumption that life doesn’t always turn out exactly as expected, Sören Olsson has a unique ability to create stories about children and adults who are both light-hearted and full of warmth and depth.

Together with Anders Jacobsson Sören Olsson has written over 183 books about Sune, Bert and Håkan Bråkan. They are published in 30 countries and loved by children and young people worldwide. When books about Sune and Bert moves to the screen or television, the scripts are written by Sören Olsson.

His own books and film projects are stories for both children and adults.

Sören Olsson is also a popular and sought-after lecturer who talks, among other things, about how it is to live with a child who has Down’s Syndrome and also a fatal disease called Eisenmenger's syndrome. Together with his wife Yvonne, he has written a book "Prince Different," a personal story about what it was like to live with a loved and handicapped child.


Ensamheten, Sweden