Writing Your Children's Book 2024

8th May 2024 6:30pm to 12th June 2024 8:00pm, Online

Are you crafting a story for young people? Do you aspire to write children's and middle-grade books that will sit on bookshelves next to writers such as Jacqueline Wilson, Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Emma Carroll? Or powerful YA novels reminiscent of Angie Thomas and Malorie Blackman?

The stories we read when we are young shape us. This May, join us for a six-week online course (including a reading week) to help develop your craft and work towards the publication of your children's book. Lesley Parr, award-winning writer of children's fiction including The Valley of Lost Secrets and Where the River Takes Us will be using practical exercises, discussion and sharing opportunities to help you shape your book. She will be delving into the writing process, helping you create memorable characters, build a world, and structure your story, while students can also expect her to share insight into the children's book market and how to improve your chances of getting your work published.

The course has been designed to benefit children's fiction, middle-grade and YA authors* at all stages of their writing journey, so whether you have an initial idea and want to know where to start, or have a full draft and need help with revising and making it the best it can possibly be, this is the course for you.

The sessions will run online via video conferencing software, with homework assignment deadlines in place for the following week. 

All attendees will receive a complimentary copy of the latest edition of the Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook as well as Lesley's latest book.


Week One: The Children's Book World

Wednesday 8th May

  • What it is and how your writing fits in
  • Age ranges
  • Word counts and content
  • Themes, trends and genres

Week Two: Getting Started and Keeping Going

Wednesday 15th May

  • To plan or not to plan
  • Stimulating ideas
  • Ways to get unstuck
  • Building confidence
  • Finding a community of writers

Week Three: Character Development

Wednesday 22nd May

  • Creating memorable and believable characters
  • Viewpoints
  • Authorial and character voice
  • Dialogue
  • Character motivation

Week Four: Reading Week

Wednesday 29th May

This will not be a teaching week. Instead, students will have an opportunity to read a short children's book set by Lesley, and encouraged to work on their writing, prompted by this.

Week Five: The Story

Wednesday 5th June

  • The messy first draft
  • Plot and structure
  • Settings/ worldbuilding
  • Pace

Week Six: Shaping up for Publication

Wednesday 12th June

  • Editing
  • Query package
  • Improving your chances
  • Synopsis

All sessions will include exercises, discussions and sharing time. You will explore and analyse the work of others (including published authors) as well as your own. Writing at home and sharing your work in sessions is encouraged (though not compulsory); this course will provide a supportive environment to acquire valuable feedback and develop your own critiquing skills. 

*Please note that this course does not cover picture books or illustration. Please contact events@writersandartists.co.uk for guidance on upcoming events that focus on writing and/or illustrating children's picture books 

Speaker profiles
Lesley Parr

Lesley Parr is the author of three novels for children. Her debut, The Valley of Lost Secrets, was published in 2021 and was both a Waterstones Book of the Month and longlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal. It won the Tir na n-Og Award, the King’s School Chester Book Award and the North Somerset Teachers’ Book Award, as well as being shortlisted for many others.

Lesley grew up in South Wales and now lives in England with her husband. A former primary school teacher from a working-class background, Lesley is passionate about seeing more working-class voices in fiction for children. She graduated from the acclaimed MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University with a distinction, and shares her time between writing stories and tutoring adults. Apart from books, rugby union is her favourite thing in the world, especially if Wales is winning.

@WelshDragonParr | www.lesleyparr.com

Booking & payment

The course fee of £350 (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 events@writersandartists.co.uk so that we can find a payment schedule that works for you.

If this event is Sold Out, please look out for other writing courses by visiting our Events homepage.

This is a live online course which will be presented using video conferencing software. Joining instructions and full guidance will be provided by the W&A Team a week before the event start-date. Event timings are UK Time.

Course materials will be made available to attendees for a time-limited period after the event at the author's discretion.

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.

  • Writers & Artists has made one bursary place available for this event as part of our accessibility scheme. Please visit our bursaries page for further information about how to apply. 
  • Payment instalment plans are available for all W&A events, writing courses and editing services. Contact W&A Admin on events@bloomsbury.com so that we can find a payment schedule that works for you.
  • A link to a recording of the course will be circulated each week. This will be made available to course attendees only, and for a time-limited period.
  • This course 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.
  • If you’d like to attend but have any questions or concerns regarding accessibility, then please email AccessWA@bloomsbury.com


United Kingdom

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