29th February 2020 - 9:30am to 5:00pm
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 Hannah Lee, writing middle grade 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 with 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 Julia Churchill, Zoë Plant and Davinia Andrew-Lynch
Hannah Lee was born in London, where she still lives. She always loved books, but yearned to see more stories that featured children like her - so now she is writing them. My Hair, published by Faber, is her debut picture book, which was Highly Commended in the 2017 FAB Prize for writing.
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.
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.
Julia Churchill joined A.M.Heath in 2013 to run the children’s department, after four years building up the UK side of the Greenhouse Literary Agency, and six years at the Darley Anderson Agency where she started the children’s book side of the list.
She represents some fabulous writers, including Sarah Crossan, Cat Clarke, Sam Copeland, Joanna Nadin, but she's always on the lookout for new writing talent. She's looking for debut and established authors with storytelling magic, from picture book texts right up to YA fiction.
Davinia Andrew-Lynch is the founder of ANDLYN, a boutique agency dedicated to children's fiction and content. The aim of the agency is to find authors whose material can not only exist on the page but can also find an outlet through other media territories. Davinia was previously an associate agent at a highly reputable film and television agency, and worked simultaneously as a freelance children's fiction editor and reader for various publishers, literary agencies, consultancies and scouts.
ANDLYN are actively looking for new talent and want to discover stories that will smack them between the eyes and capture their hearts. They welcome picture books, middle grade, young adult and cross-over fiction alongside non-fiction material and represent both writers and illustrators.
Davinia is also expanding into commercial fiction and has a particular love of ‘out of the box’ cosy crime/mystery.
Zoë Plant joined The Bent Agency in 2019 after spending five years as a literary scout, scouring the UK market for the very best children’s and adult books to recommend to international publishers. She is building a children’s list that is focused on commercial, exciting middle grade and YA. Her favourite books are full of pace and plot, but have something quirky and fresh about them: a speculative or high concept setting, an unusual twist or a voice that changes how she sees the world. She very much wants to hear from authors from underrepresented backgrounds. She particularly loves fantasy, science-fiction and anything a little bit nerdy, but is also on the look-out for strong contemporary voices with spark and life.
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.
'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
'Excellent course with so much to think about. Can't wait to get back to my writing.' Zita O'Rourke
'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. Being creative seems to bring out the best in people!' Astrid Weber
'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 aspect 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
'Love the day, loved the speakers - thank you! Also thought that Alysoun was a perfect host for the day.' Kerensa Jennings