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How to Write for Children and Young Adults

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23rd February 2019 - 9:30am to 4:30pm


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Are you the next Julia Donaldson? If you want to write for children or young adults, learn from the best with a day of writing workshops and panel discussions with leading children’s publishers and literary agents. 

Meet experts of children’s publishing, and find out how to improve your writing and how best to increase your chances of getting published.

The day includes: a two-hour writing workshop with an author; plenty of opportunity to network with speakers and fellow delegates; informative and interactive panel discussions with literary agents looking for debut authors to add to their lists.

In the morning, three successful children’s authors offer advice on how to improve your writing with engaging and interactive workshops full of practical exercises. The afternoon sessions help navigate the current market, warn of what to avoid in a submission to an agent, and give insight into the minds of leading publishing industry figures. 


09.30-10.00 Welcome coffee and tea 

10.00-10.20 Introduction to the world of children's publishing with Alysoun Owen, Editor of the Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook

10.20-11.15 A writing workshop of your choice: either writing picture books with X, writing for middle years with Thomas Taylor or writing YA with Lucy Van Smit

11.15-11.35 Short break 

11.35-12.55 Writing workshop continued 

12.55-14.00 Lunch break (lunch not included but teas and coffees available)

14.00-15.00 Keynote talk from Rebecca Hill, Fiction Editorial  Director at Usborne Publishing 

15.00-16.00 How to submit your work to an agent: panel discussion with children's fiction agents: 

16.00-17.00 Refreshments 

Speaker Profiles

Thomas Taylor is an award-winning author-illustrator for children. His recent middle grade novel Malamander was published to great acclaim, was selected for the coveted Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month slot and the movie rights have been purchased by Sony. Thomas illustrated the cover for the very first Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and went on to write and illustrate several picture books and young novels; he illustrated Scarlett Hart: Monster Hunter, written by Marcus Sedgwick. He lives on the south coast of England and can be found on Facebook and Twitter: @ThomasHTaylor

Lucy van Smit is an award-winning author, screenwriter, artist and TV Producer/Director/Interviewer. Lucy travelled worldwide for NBC News, flew on Air Force One with President Reagan and got surrounded by tanks in Manila airport during a coup, before she chilled and made documentaries on authors such as Ian McEwan, Nadine Gordimer, P.D.James and Martin Amis for Canadian Broadcasting. Lucy loves to moderate literary panels with authors and recently interviewed David Nichols at the London Screenwriters Festival. Dyslexic, with a BA Hons in Fine Art, Lucy got Distinction in her MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa.  Her debut, The Hurting, won the inaugural Bath Children’s Novel Award and is published by the legendary JK Rowling publisher Barry Cunningham. The Hurting is a lead YA title, translated into multiple languages and is pitched as a “Nordic Noir Wuthering Heights.” Lucy is currently working on a Middle Grade adventure story for Chicken House Books.

Event details

The event will be held at Bloomsbury Publishing, 50 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP. Doors will open at 9.30am, with teas and coffees provided upon arrival.

The talks will begin at 10am prompt, finishing at 4.00pm for refreshments.


'Accessible, informative, informal yet well-presented.' Kerry Corden

'It makes the whole publishing world feel more accessible - the spur I needed to keep going.' Tom Jordan

'Feel privileged to land a place on this course - now the rest is up to me!' Charlotte Turner

'Thoroughly enjoyed, very inspirational. Thank you so much for a great day with the right sized crowd and perfectly picked experts to share their knowledge.' Charlotte Scarborough

'I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for a wonderful and inspiring day on Saturday at the Writing for Children Conference. I spent Sunday writing up the notes I made and applying Matt Whyman's practical tips to my own manuscript. It was a pleasure to meet with so many other writers' who feel just as nervous as myself, apparently I'm not alone - who knew!' Shelley Wilson

'A lovely day! Very informative for someone new to the game! I'm super inspired to get cracking and get out there!' Rhiannon Holland

'This was an extremely helpful day, thank you! It was very well organised and informative - just what we needed. I was struck by how incredibly friendly everyone attending and running the workshop was. Being creative seems to bring out the best in people!' Astrid Weber

'Very well organised. Length of sessions was good, lots of variety and chance to ask questions.' Chelle Parker

'The conference offered a well-judged mix of practical advice and inspirational personal stories. The range of speakers – from literary agents, to publishers, to authors – meant that all aspects of the business were covered… [It] has certainly given me the tools to return to my own work not just with renewed enthusiasm but with a sharper editor's eye, too.' Becky Brewis

'Fantastic event. Thank you so much for all the great advice!' Margaret Kim

'Excellent course with so much to think about. Can't wait to get back to my writing.' Zita O'Rourke

'Very professional and friendly, inspiring and realistic. Heading home now to start the search for an agent!' Nikie Forster

'Loved the day, loved the speakers – thank you! Also thought that Alysoun was a perfect host for the day.' Kerensa Jennings


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