Speakers at SmåBUS 2023

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.

In 2020 Marit Törnqvist won the IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reading Promotor Award2020.

Malin Klingenberg, Finland

Malin Klingenberg (b. 1979) is one of the foremost children’s book authors in Swedish-speaking Finland. Her Senior Squad series has been wildly successful, and her first young adult novel Elk Girl has received critical acclaim. The Secret Life of Farts (2019), illustrated by Sanna Mander, was Klingenberg’s first rhyming children’s book. It was nominated for the Runeberg Junior Prize and has been translated into ten languages.


Aline Sax, Belgium

Aline Sax
Foto Koen Broos

Aline Sax (1984, Belgium) is a historian and author of children’s and young adult novels. She wrote
her first book when she was fifteen, about two German child soldiers at the Normandy beaches in
June 1944. She has currently written fifteen novels. Most of them literary works set in the past. Her
books are written in Dutch, but have been translated into Arabic, Danish, English, French, German,
Korean and Spanish. Both in Belgium, the Netherlands and abroad, her books are highly acclaimed.
Many of them have been nominated for and have won important literary awards, national as well as
international. The War Within These Walls (the US translation of De kleuren van het getto), for
example, has won the National Jewish Book Award, the Sydney Taylor Honor Award and the
Batchelder Honor Award in 2014. It was named as one of the best books of 2013 by Publishers
Weekly and Kirkus Review, two important literary magazines in the US. In 2017 she was selected one
of the 39 best young European writers for children.
Apart from a Phd in History, Aline Sax also holds a degree in Translation, and translates novels from
German and English into Dutch.

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).

Pieter Gaudesaboos, Belgium

Pieter Gaudesaboos
Foto Eveliene Deraedt
Illustrator, author and book designer Pieter Gaudesaboos (1979) appeals to all ages with his imagination and humour. Each picture book is totally different, and yet you immediately recognise a ‘Gaudesaboos’ when you see one. For over 15 years, his picturebooks have been published internationally. Pieter Gaudesaboos has received several awards, among which the ‘Gouden Uil Jeugdliteratuur’ and several ‘Boekenwelp’ awards. His work is playful, original and contains nostalgic and absurd elements. He often uses collages and mixed techniques, combining photography, digital illustrations and watercolour. He also sees to the book design. Pieter Gaudesaboos grew up in Bruges, together with his three sisters. His studies in graphic design and photography led him to Ghent, where he still lives, together with his friend Tomas and their daughters Leah and Suzie.


Maike Stein, Germany

Maike Stein
Foto Sylvia Eulitz

Maike Stein (b. 1969) grew up in Berlin when the city still was divided and the wall across it seemed
as normal as it was unchangeable – until it was brought down. Her fascination with stories had long
been awakened, and the city provided ample nourishment for it. Nevertheless, she had to take some
detours on her way to become a published writer – including training as a clown, business
administrator and foreign language correspondent. But the desire to create and experience stories
was always there.
Today, she has written numerous books, was awarded the „Lesekompass 2021“ (Bookfair Leipzig),
enjoys seeing dragons in her mind and reminds herself to laugh when the going gets tough (see?
training as a clown was useful!). She writes mostly for children and young adults.

Karin Salmson, Sweden

Karin Salmson jobbar som författare till både barnböcker och böcker om normkritik och barnlitteratur. Hon är frilansredaktör med särskilt fokus på barn/unga, normkritik och inkludering. Dessutom är hon handledare litterär gestaltning vid Lunds Universitet och frilanslektör. Med över tio års erfarenhet av att driva förlag och föreläsa och som författare till över 25 titlar för både barn och vuxna bakom sig har hon en bred erfarenhet.

Marcus-Gunnar Pettersson, Sweden

Marcus-Gunnar Pettersson is a Swedish illustrator who lives in Arvika, Värmland. He works mainly with analog techniques and preferably in a manner between cute and grotesque. The creation of worlds and characters is something close to his heart, and that is why it is perhaps no coincidence that the picture book has become the medium in which he works most. 

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.

Meikeminne Clinckspoor, Belgium

Meikeminne is a Belgian Filmmaker(screenwriter&director) based in the Netherlands. She lived in Sweden for more than a year, speaks Swedish and stayed three months in the Northern woods while working on her first feature length screenplay for children “Cloudboy”(2017). Cloudboy is a co- production between Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway and mostly shot in Norwegian Lapland. Cloudboy is distributed by LevelK and their most asked festivallover in 2017. In 2019 Meikeminne’s life action television series for toddlers “DOOPIE”, premiered on Dutch television, followed by Belgian and Spanish television in 2020.  DOOPIE was nominated for the “Prix Jeunesse”, “The Televizier Ster Jeugd”, “The Cinekid Audience Award”, “The Cinekid Best Television series” & “The Kids EMMY AWARD”. In 2021 the life action Dance television series for Toddlers “ODD DUCK” premiered on Dutch Television, and in 2022 the colourful life action television series for Toddlers “CLUTTER IN THE COURTYARD” followed. It won the Cinekid Best Children’s series Award 2022. Currently Meikeminne is working on the DOOPIE children’s book, and is developing several youth projects for both Film & Television.

Meikeminne believes in the importance of telling stories that can resonate from within. Stories for children where they can see themselves and get triggered to grow. She truly believes in magic, and in the importance of magic in our daily life. She experiences this world to be multidimensional, and incorporating this into her work is part of her mission. In her movies, Meikeminne loves to look at the world through the eyes of a child and wonder about anything. Because wonder is the elixir of magic.

Dominic Williams, Wales

Dominic Williams is a poet, a performer and a creative mentor, for ten years he has been the curator of an annual international literary residency in Tranås and hosted by Kultivera. He has also been the artistic director of contemporary arts projects in residence. Since 2014 he is also the programme director of the Dylan Thomas international Summer School a twelve-day residential creative writing course at the University of Wales.