Nnedi Okorafor is an international, award-winning novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism for both children and adults. She's the author of the Black Panther comics from Marvel Comics, with a movie adaptation that became a world-wide sensation! She's authored a spinoff graphic novel, Wakanda Forever, with a movie to follow. Her other comics include Antar: the Black Knight (IDW/Mirage Films), and LaGuardia. Author George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones) and HBO are turning Nnedi's adult novel, Who Fears Death, into a TV series. The Book of Phoenix (prequel to Who Fears Death) was heralded by the NY Times as a "triumph".
Born in the United States to two Nigerian immigrant parents, Nnedi is known for weaving African culture and folklore into creative, evocative settings with memorable characters. She's considered by many to be the successor to Ursula LeGuin for her literary quality fantasy and sci-fi creations. She's a multi NYTimes bestselling author, and her many literary awards include a Nebula and Hugo Award. She has a passionate YA following for her Binti series, and the Akata Witch books. Her children's book Chicken in the Kitchen won an Africana Book Award. Akata Witch 2: Akata Warrior, and Binti 2: Home, are now out in paperback. She holds a PhD in English.
Smita Bakshi, CEO of Zyante, is a high-tech professional with over fifteen years of experience spanning product management, business development, engineering and education across several software industries. Her specialties include Education Technology and Enterprise Software.
Smita holds a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School and a PhD in Information & Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine.