Finding the Heart of Your Story

25th November 2023 9:00am to 3:00pm, Bloomsbury Publishing

Get inspired, build confidence and make invaluable contacts at this practical mini-conference designed exclusively for writers of children's fiction.

If you're a writer or illustrator of children's books then join us at the home of Bloomsbury Publishing for this inspirational event with leading authors and industry professionals, during which you can expect to develop both your writing craft and creative confidence. This is a space to share ideas, network with like-minded creatives, and to express yourself. Who knows where it could take you?

Seats at the event are limited to just 35 attendees, ensuring a class-sized environment in the hope that everyone is given the space and time they need to participate. As well as takeaway materials from each of the workshop sessions, all attendees will also receive a conference gift bag containing more goodies courtesy of Bloomsbury Children's. 

In the morning, attendees will work with trained actor and picture book author, Robert Tregoning, who will use his skills, knowledge and expertise to get you digging deep for the story ideas that only you can write; and then with Middle Grade and Young Adult author, Emma Norry, who will draw on a wealth of experience to get you thinking about how personal experiences can help shape a story that shines with authenticity.

We'll then break for lunch (provided) before coming together to hear your host for the day, Camilla Chester, in conversation with Alexandra Antscherl, Editorial Director of Children’s Fiction at Bloomsbury Publishing, about the current children's publishing marketplace, as well as what they're looking for in a submission.

There will be plenty of opportunities throughout each of the sessions to ask questions, and the final 30 minutes of the day has been set aside not just for cake(!), but to take the chance to discuss your writing with your fellow attendees.


09.00: Registration

09.30: 'Why Me, Why Now' – Robert Tregoning on how to embrace your creativity

11.15: Find Your Story, Find Your Voice – Emma Norry on tightening your story structure and how to find - and then amplify - elements that make it stand out from the crowd

12.45: Lunch (provided)

13.30: Understanding the Market - Alexandra Antscherl, Editorial Director of Children’s Fiction at Bloomsbury Publishing offers guidance on what she's looking for in a submission, and tips on how to get ahead when it comes to preparing to submit your work to agents and publishers

14.30: Talk about your book – have a slice of cake and use this networking session to practice selling your book (as well as make useful beta-reader contacts!)

15.00: Close

Speaker profiles
Emma Norry

Emma Norry has a BA (Hons) in Film and an MA in Screenwriting. She grew up in the care system in Cardiff, but now lives and works in Bournemouth with her husband and family. Emma’s previous books include Son of the Circus (Scholastic, 2019), which was shortlisted for the Diverse Book Awards, and Amber Under Cover (OUP, 2021). Her short stories have been published in anthologies including The Very Merry Murder Club (Farshore, 2021), Happy Here: 10 stories from Black British authors & illustrators (Knights Of, 2021) and The Place for Me: Stories about the Windrush Generation (Scholastic, 2021). Emma's powerful new fantasy novel, Fablehouse, (Bloomsbury, 2023) is out now.

Robert Tregoning

Robert studied at the Glasgow School of Art before leaping in to a career on the West End stage. He has appeared in shows including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, directed by Academy Award Winner Sam Mendes and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda the Musical, directed by Matthew Warchus.

As an LGBTQ+ writer, Robert hopes to help children and adults alike to accept and celebrate all that makes us uniquely ourselves. The stories Robert writes are stories he wishes he could have read as a child. He hopes they provide a voice of recognition, validation and kindness to those who need it. His latest picture book, Out of the Blue (Bloomsbury, 2023), is available now.

Alexandra Antscherl

Alex is an Editorial Director of Children’s Fiction at Bloomsbury, where she works on broad range of titles from illustrated young fiction to Young Adult novels, with authors including E.L. Norry, Lesley Parr and Tom Percival. Alex has been a children’s editor for almost 30 years, including several years at Hachette, where her major responsibility was managing the Enid Blyton brand, but she also published Carnegie Medal-winning YA author Ruta Sepetys among others. Prior to that, she was at Penguin Random House where she was Jacqueline Wilson’s editor, as well as working on the Roald Dahl list and Puffin Classics

Booking & payment

This event is priced at £125 (incl. VAT). This fee is payable in full online, though please note that payment instalment plans are available for all W&A events, writing courses and editing services. Contact W&A Admin on so that we can find a payment schedule that works for you.

If this event is Sold Out, please look out for more children's and YA fiction events by visiting our Events homepage. If you would like to see be placed on a waiting list or have any other event-related queries, please email and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

To view our event refund and cancellation policy, please click here.

Accessible to All

It’s of real importance to Writers & Artists that our events and courses remain accessible to all.

  • As part of our accessibility scheme, one bursary place has been made available for this event. Please visit our bursaries page for further information about how to apply.

  • This event will take place at the offices of Bloomsbury Publishing, which is fully accessible. If you’d like to attend but have any questions or concerns regarding accessibility, then please email

  • Joining instructions and full guidance will be circulated by W&A Admin in the days leading up to the date of the event.

  • Supplementary materials will be made available to all participants on the day of the event. This will include written text and visuals. Please contact us in advance so that we can make arrangements to be sure all documents appear in a format that works for you.

  • There will be no recording of this event, so please be sure to bring a notebook or laptop to make the notes you need.

  • Food will be provided at this event. Please be sure to respond to the joining instruction emails from W&A Admin if you have any dietary requirements


Bloomsbury Publishing
50 Bedford Square

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