28th February 2015 - 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 the gatekeepers of children’s publishing and find out what they’re looking to publish next, 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 of your choice; networking drinks reception with the speakers; and informative and interactive panel discussions with highly regarded commissioning editors and literary agents looking for debut authors to add to their lists.
The morning sessions will help you navigate the current market, warn you of what to avoid in a submission to an agent and give insight into the minds of three of the best children’s book publishers in the UK. In the afternoon, three successful children’s authors offer their advice on how to improve your writing with an engaging and interactive workshop with exercises and feedback.
In a climate where publishers are less and less willing to take a risk on a new author, it makes good sense to know the field.
Anne Fine (from the foreword to the Writers' & Artists' Companion to Writing Children’s Fiction)
9.30-10.00 Welcome coffee and tea
10.00-10.20 Introduction to the world of children’s publishing with Alysoun Owen, the editor of the Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook
10.20-11.15 What are children’s publishers looking for and what are today’s children reading? Panel discussion, followed by Q&A.
11.15-11.35 Tea and coffee break
11.35-12.25 How to submit your work to an agent: panel discussion, followed by Q&A.
12.25-12.55 Author and agent discuss the author agent relationship
12.55-2.00 Lunch break
2.00-4.00 A writing workshop of your choice: either writing picture books, writing for middle years or writing YA
4.00-5.00 Drinks reception with the speakers
The day will be filled with practical advice on how to get your work ready for submission, what publishers and agents are looking for and how the agent-author relationship works. All of our speakers - including bestselling children's authors, leading literary agents and publishing experts specialising in children's and YA fiction - will be sharing their personal experiences and insider advice on the day. We will confirm the full list of speakers attending on the day as soon as possible.
Alysoun Owen is a publisher with over 20 year's experience as a commissioning editor and running her own publishing consultancy business. She has been the Editor of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook and the Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook for three years and is a regular speaker on how to get published at literary festivals and writer events
Sallyanne Sweeney grew up in Dublin and studied English at Trinity College before completing an MPhil in American Literature at Queens' College, Cambridge. After graduating she joined Watson, Little Ltd, becoming a Literary Agent in 2008 and a Director of the company in 2011. She joined Mulcahy Associates in August 2013 and is building her list of fiction and non-fiction authors for children and adults, as well as a small number of picture book illustrators. Passionate about working with debut authors, her fiction tastes are wide-ranging, from the literary to the very commercial, but she is particularly looking for voice-driven narratives with a strong hook. This year, Sallyanne was a judge for the 2014 Undiscovered Voices Award, run by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Zoe Griffiths is one of the fiction commissioning editors at Bloomsbury Children’s Books. She works on books for all ages, but has a particular love for young illustrated fiction, and for capturing children’s imaginations right at the beginning of their reading journeys. In the past she has worked with Liz Pichon and here at Bloomsbury she has the pleasure of working with A F Harrold, Alan Macdonald and Jenny McLachlan
Camilla Wray joined the Darley Anderson Agency in July 2007 and represents established and début authors in the UK and the US, including James Carol, A J Cross, Jason Dean, Helen Grant, David Hewson, Emma Kavanagh, Rebecca Shaw, Sean Slater and Tim Weaver.
She represents children’s and YA authors and this is an area she is incredibly excited to build at the agency. She especially loves characters that grab the heart, inspire and make you see the world in a whole new way, no matter what age you are. Camilla also specialises in commercial and accessible fiction, and is always looking for characters to fall in love with and stories that thrill. She really enjoys working closely editorially with her authors and welcomes all submissions.
Annalie Grainger is a fiction commissioning editor at Walker Books. She works on books for children of all ages but has a particular passion for YA novels. She is lucky enough to work with lots of talented authors, from established names like Shirley Hughes, Anthony McGowan and Cassandra Clare to upcoming writers like Non Pratt and Zoë Marriott.
Holly Bourne is the bestselling YA author of Soulmates and The Manifesto on How to be Interesting. She got her two-book publishing deal with Usborne when she was just 24. Soulmates was voted as one of the best iBooks of 2013 in the teen category. Her newest book, Am I Normal Yet? will also be published by Usborne, in 2015.
When she's not writing novels, Holly works as a journalist and relationship expert for TheSite.org, an advice website for young people that has over a million users each month.
Frances Hardinge was brought up in a sequence of small, sinister English villages, and spent a number of formative years living in a Gothic-looking, mouse-infested hilltop house in Kent. She studied English Language and Literature at Oxford, fell in love with the city's crazed archaic beauty, and lived there for many years.
Whilst working full time as a technical author for a software company she started writing her first children's novel, "Fly by Night", and was with difficulty persuaded by a good friend to submit the manuscript to Macmillan. "Fly by Night" went on to win the Branford Boase Award, and was also shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Award. Her subsequent books, "Verdigris Deep," "Gullstruck Island", "Twilight Robbery", "A Face Like Glass" and "Cuckoo Song" are also aimed at children and young adults.
Frances is seldom seen without her hat and is addicted to volcanoes.
When Sue was little she liked making little story books and drawing the pictures to go in them. She would write the blurb on the back and even draw a barcode. Now Sue is big she still likes making little story books and drawing the pictures to go in them but now someone else adds the barcodes.
Sue is the bestselling author and illustrator of Barry The Fish with Fingers (Simon and Schuster), which sold 70,000 copies in the first three months. Her book Wanda and the Alien is now a TV show on Channel 5 and Nickelodeon worldwide. Her book No-Bot the Robot with No Bottom (Simon and Schuster) won the Oxfordshire Book Award. She is also the illustrator of Spider Sandwiches (Bloomsbury). Since joining the Bright Agency she has written books for Hodder, Simon and Schuster and Random House as well as illustrating for Scholastic, Harper Collins, and Random House US.
Vicki Willden-Lebrecht founded The Bright Group over a decade ago with the intention of growing an illustration agency that represents & nurtures promising talent and generates current, engaging and commercial content across all genres of children’s publishing.
With formal training in Graphic Design, Bright’s Managing Director and lead agent presently represents over 12 creatives, but the group over 200, they cater to a vast global client base and she continues to expand her company’s creative reach in both Europe and the US. In 2014, Vicki has lead her business through their most successful year yet, having won every prestigious illustration and publishing award available – including Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, V&A Illustration Awards, Oscar’s First Book Prize & Sheffield Children’s Book Award – appearing on New York Times Best Picture Books of the year with Yasmeen Ismail’s Time for Bed Fred, as well as seeing the transition of book to animation with Sue Hendra’s Wanda and the Alien on Channel 5’s Milkshake. 2015 will see further expansion in the US, further brand extensions of the rights she manages on behalf of her artists and the Bright Emporium opening, Bright's first Shop, showcasing products, books and art from the agency.