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How To Get Published - York Literature Festival

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24th March 2018 - 9:00am to 5:00pm



If you want to delve into the world of speculative/fantasy fiction, learn from the best at our day of writing talks and panel discussions with bestselling authors, and literary agents.

Writers & Artists are back at York Literature Festival and have teamed up with Orbit Books, leading publisher of science fiction and fantasy, to bring you informative sessions on writing for the genre; key note speaker on subverting the normal in fiction; a networking drinks reception with the speakers; and informative and interactive panel discussion with leading literary agents. 


09.00–09.30 Welcome coffee and tea

09.30–10.45 Session 1: Gripping your reader from the off: writing a compelling introduction to your world with author Claire North

10.45–11.00 Short break

11.00-12.15 Session 2: The Hero’s Journey: pacing and plotting your novel with author Anna Stephens

12.15-13.25 Lunch

13.25-14.25 Subverting the normal in fiction with Ken MacLeod

14.25-15.50 How to submit your work to an agent: panel discussion with literary agents Danielle Zigner, Sandra Sawicka and Ed Wilson

15.50-17.00 Networking drinks

Speaker Profiles

Claire North is a pseudonym for the Carnegie award-nominated British author Catherine Webb. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August was her first novel published under the Claire North name, and was one of the fastest-selling new SFF titles of the last ten years. It was selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club, the Radio 2 Book Club and the Waterstones Book Club. Catherine currently works as a theatre lighting designer and is a fan of big cities, urban magic, Thai food and graffiti-spotting. She lives in London. In 2017, Cat was shortlisted for the Sunday Times/PFD Young Writer of the Year award and also won the World Fantasy Award for The Sudden Appearance Of Hope. Find her on Twitter as @ClaireNorth42.

Anna Stephens is the UK author of gritty epic fantasy, the Godblind Trilogy. Book 1, Godblind, is available in the UK and Commonwealth, North America, France and Germany. Book 2, Darksoul, is due for publication in 2018. She is represented by Harry Illingworth in the UK and sub-agented by Cameron McClure in North America. Along with the territories mentioned above, further publishing deals have been struck in Poland, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.A literature graduate from the Open University, Anna loves all things speculative, from books to film to TV, including classic Hammer and Universal horror films, as well as the chameleon genius of David Bowie. 

As a second Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate, she’s no stranger to the feeling of being punched in the face, which is more help than you would expect when writing fight scenes. 

Twitter: @AnnaSmithWrites | Website:   

Ken MacLeod is the author of twelve previous novels, five of which have been nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and two which have won the BSFA Award. Ken MacLeod is married with two grown-up children and lives in West Lothian.

Danielle Zigner joined LBA Books in 2014, after having spent a year working with a number of publishers and agencies, and has been since actively building her list. She's looking for a broad range of captivating fiction and non-fiction. On the fiction side Danielle would love some quirky YA, as well as original fantasy and science fiction. She would also like to find some heart-wrenching women’s fiction titles and well-written romances. Danielle loves psychological thrillers with a unique hook, and is always keen on cross-genre mixes. In terms of non-fiction she looks for feminist literature that has something new to add to the dialogue. Danielle also represents a couple of health and cookery titles, and is excited to find new stars in this area.

Sandra Sawicka joined Marjacq Scripts in 2014 and is actively looking for new clients. She is particularly drawn to original voices and exotic settings – and this could be anything from a spanning space opera to historical Southern gothic to a literary novel set in a remote part of the world. She loves complex, morally ambiguous characters and has a weird soft-spot for university settings. Sandra represents authors from all over the world and believes that truly great stories are universal. She also handles translation rights for all authors represented by Marjacq.

Ed Wilson has been an agent at Johnson & Alcock since 2007. He represents a diverse list of fiction and non-fiction, encompassing everything from new and debut writers to established, bestselling and award-winning authors. In fiction, he looks for anything with originality and style, both literary and commercial: books with an imaginative setting, strong narrative voice and compelling premise. He is actively building a SFF list and is always on the lookout for books that transcend genre. High concept writing, intelligent crime and thrillers, crossover teen and YA should all be sent his way.

About Orbit Books

Orbit UK is the science fiction and fantasy imprint of Little, Brown Book Group. Launched in 1974, it is one of the leading SFF imprints in the UK. Orbit UK authors include Sunday Times and international bestsellers Iain M. Banks, Terry Brooks, Jim Butcher, Trudi Canavan, M.R. Carey, James S.A. Corey, N.K. Jemisin, Robert Jordan, Ann Leckie, Anthony Ryan and Brent Weeks.

In recent years, Orbit in the US and UK has published two Hugo Award winners: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, and Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, which became the first novel to win every major award in the field.

Event Details

The event will be held at De Grey Lecture Theatre, York St John University. Doors will open at 8.30am, with teas and coffees provided upon arrival.

Booking and Payment

The price for this event is £95.

Bookings can be made by either clicking on the 'Book' buttons at the top and bottom of this page, or by calling 0207 631 5985.

Price inclusive of standard VAT.

Please note that this is not a ticketed event, so you don't need to bring anything on the day as your names will be on our guestlist.