Why Children's & YA Books are Vital (So Come To Our Festival!)

7th January 2022
4 min read
17th January 2022

Why children's & YA books are vital ... and why you should come to our 2022 online festival!

Children's & YA Fiction Festival

Creating stories for children and young adults is one of the most exciting things that you can do.

(Cards on the table: as an avid reader and children's fiction author, I'm biased!)

But I'm adamant that I'd say the same if I was a mortgage adviser or a deep sea diver. Why? Because my childhood was full of stories (I bet yours was too) and they helped me make sense of the world. Children and young adults need books to understand more about themselves, to empathise with others, to learn of the many shades of bravery and kindness displayed by characters in whom they so invest. 

One of my favourite writers perfectly sums up what children's fiction does:

"So it's to children's fiction that you turn if you want to feel awe and hunger and longing for justice: to make the old warhorse heart stamp again in its stall."

Katherine Rundell, Why You Should Read Children's Books Even Though You Are So Old and Wise


At Writers & Artists, our annual children's conference celebrates the very best of children's stories. Originally held at our Bloomsbury offices in Bedford Square, the day would be jam-packed with writing and illustration workshops, networking, panels and discussions with children's literary agents and editors. And books. Lots of books.

Then a pandemic. How annoying!

So in 2021 we moved our children's and YA conference entirely online and found ourselves delighted by the results. We were able to reach even more writers, illustrators and creatives, so in the name of keeping things as accessible as possible, we're remaining online for 2022 too!

The W&A Children's & YA Fiction Festival will run from Monday 21st to Thursday 24th February, with two workshops running each night before coming to a close with a keynote talk from best-selling author Jenny Pearson followed by a panel discussion on Creating Brilliant Books with literary agents and editors. (Those of you interested in attending two workshops running at the same time, please email us at writersandartists@bloomsbury.com)

Browse the full line-up here, or click on the sessions that pique your interest below!

And what about the books? Well, just like last year, we're partnering with an independent bookstore for the festival, with all 2022 festival book sales being made by The Little Bookshop Leeds

Whether you're several drafts deep and getting ready to submit to literary agents or you have no writing experience and would just like to explore how you might develop that idea bubbling at the back of your mind, we hope that you're able to join us for some (or all!) of what should be a fantastic few nights in celebration of the craft of writing for children and young aduls.


Monday 21st February: Write Fantastic Fiction with Aisling Fowler

Aisling Fowler and Fireborn

Monday 21st February: Writing Authentic Historical Fiction with Dinah Orji

Dinah Orji and Children of the Benin Kingdom

Tuesday 22nd February: Researching and Writing Children's Non-Fiction with Rashmi Sirdeshpande

Good News and Rashmi Sirdeshpande

Tuesday 22nd February: Telling Your Story in YA Fiction with Tanya Byrne

Tanya Byrne and Afterlife

Wednesday 23rd February: Creating Memorable Characters in Middle Grade Fiction with Piers Torday

Piers Torday and The Wild Before

Wednesday 23rd February: Writing and Illustrating Picture Books with Harry Woodgate

Harry Woodgate and Grandad's Camper

Thursday 24th February: Why Write for Children and Young Adults? keynote with Jenny Pearson and literary agent/editor panel discussion

Jenny Pearson and Grandpa Frank's Great Big Bucket List

Writing stage