Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Speaker Profile - Mina Witteman

Translator and Writer

Region: International Central
Age Levels: 5-10, 11-13, and 14-17
Will Travel: Anywhere in the world
Skype Visit: Yes
SCBWI Profile: Member Profile


An author, editor, creative writing teacher, Mina Witteman writes in English and Dutch. She has seven middle grade novels out in the Netherlands, over 40 short stories, and a Little Golden Book

Witteman's middle grade series tells the story of twelve-year-old Boreas, who circumnavigates the world with his parents on a sailboat. The first book, Boreas en de zeven zeeën (Boreas and the Seven Seas), 2015, received rave reviews and was longlisted for the Kinderjury. It was elected core title for the 2019 Dutch National Children's Book Week, an honor that brought the book to every elementary school, library and bookstore in the country. Boreas en de duizend eilanden (Boreas and the Thousand Islands), 2016, received equal praise, as did Boreas en de vier windstreken (Boreas and the Four Winds), 2017. Book 4, Boreas en de vijftien vrienden (Boreas and the Fifteen Friends), 2018, was longlisted for the Jonge Jury Prijs, the annual Young Jury Award. An excerpt of book 4 was added to the anthology Een stuk! Meer of De leescoalitie (The Reading Coalition), a coalition of organizations working toward full literacy in the Netherlands. The anthology is spread for free among all teachers Dutch of pre-vocational schools and all educational librarians and aims to assist teachers and librarians to promote literacy and the joy of reading.

Witteman debuted in 2005 with De wraak van Deedee (Deedee's Revenge), a middle grade novel with Van Goor Children's Books, followed by two more middle grade novels, before she transferred to Ploegsma Children's Books. 

Witteman has over 40 short stories published in magazines and anthologies, most notably a series of 21 short stories for Bobo with the illustrations of the illustrious Fiep Westendorp. She has a Dutch Little Golden Book to her name: Mia's Nest, 2014. The Spanish translation, El nido de Mia, 2016, was published by Panamericana.  

A seasoned book editor and an certified teacher creative writing, Witteman teaches and mentors published and prepublished writers alike. She was Chairman of the Working Group Children's Books of the Dutch Authors Guild and the Regional Advisor for SCBWI the Netherlands. She is founding member of the SCBWI Europolitan Conferences. Witteman is member of the EU Planning Committee of the SCBWI British Isles' Undiscovered Voices Competition for unagented and unpublished writers and illustrators, a nominating body for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. Witteman is a juror for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and a longtime juror for the Young Authors Fiction Festival of the American Library in Paris. 

Currently, she is SCBWI's International Published Authors' Coordinator and the Program Associate Children and Young Adults for the Bay Area Book Festival. She is the Coordinator Children's and Young Adult Literature for the USA of the Dutch Foundation for Literature (Letterenfonds). Witteman lives in Berkeley, California.

Presentation Description:
Being a writer as well as a creative writing teacher and an independent editor, I offer hands-on writing workshops for children and young adults. Depending on available time - from one time two hours to eight weekly sessions of two hours - we discuss reading and writing, we brainstorm about story ideas and we get to work. With younger children we try to finish a short story, with older children and young adults I might go deeper into a specific writing technique, like building a character or a setting, structuring a plot, or the ins and outs of point of view. At the end of the session(s) children and young adults will have a basic knowledge of what it entails to be a writer and how it feels to be in charge of your own story.