If you are serious about getting published, this series of events gives writers an opportunity to network with high-level agents and publishers.
Saturday 8th February, 2014
Bloomsbury Publishing, Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3DP
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 England. 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)
09.30-10.00 Welcome teas and coffees
10.00-10.30 Introduction to the world of children’s publishing with Emma Hopkin, Managing Director of Bloomsbury Children's and Educational Publishing
10.30-11.30 What are children’s publishers looking for and what are today’s children reading? Panel discussion with Emma Hopkin (Bloomsbury), Jill Coleman (Little Tiger Press) and Mara Bergman (Walker Books). Chaired by Julia Eccleshare, Children’s Books Editor of the Guardian. Followed by Q&A.
11.30 Tea and coffee break
11.45-12.45 How to submit your work to an agent: panel discussion with Julia Churchill (A.M. Heath), Jodie Hodges (United Agents) and Camilla Wray (Darley Anderson). Chaired by Julia Eccleshare.
12.45-14.00 Lunch break
14.00-16.00 A writing workshop with an author: Writing for young children with Yasmeen Ismail, writing for 8-12s with Elen Caldecott, or writing for young adults with Matt Whyman. Guests will be contacted following booking to confirm their choice of workshop.
16.00-17.00 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 - whether they're bestselling children's authors or literary agents specialising in YA fiction - will be sharing their personal experiences and insider advice on the day.
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.
Julia Churchill joined A.M.Heath in 2013 as Children's Agent, 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 Lean, Sarah Crossan and Joanna Nadin. She’s always on the treasure hunt for new writing talent and considers the slushpile to be the greatest place on earth. She’s looking for debut and established authors with storytelling magic, from picture book texts right up to YA fiction.
Yasmeen Ismail is an award-winning author, illustrator and animator. Yasmeen studied at art school in her home-town, Dublin and graduated in 2002. After Yasmeen moved to London she lent her talents to many different projects ranging from advertising to children's publishing. After running a successful animation production company and having worked in many varying capacities (Director, Designer, Creative, Animator, Producer, Script-writer) Yasmeen found herself writing and illustrating picture books. From her experience with scripts and storyboards Yasmeen is very familiar with writing narratives and working with story lines, and is especially acquainted with editing her work and writing creatively within boundaries. She is the author and illustrator of Time For Bed, Fred! which was recently nominated for the 2014 Kate Greenaway Medal. Originally from Ireland, Yasmeen now lives in London.
Mara Bergman grew up in New York and first came to England as a student, though she’s never lost her accent and people still ask her how long she’s visiting. She has worked at Walker Books since their offices were located above an Indian restaurant off the Euston Road – a very long time! As senior commissioning editor she works on a full range of fiction, from young illustrated titles to teen and young adult novels. Mara also has a great love of picture books and is the author of the Oliver series and Snip Snap, Alligator!, illustrated by Nick Maland. She loves seahorses, has lately discovered seals and has a birthday only once every four years.
Jill Coleman is the Managing Director of Little Tiger Press, an independent children's book publishing company which specialises in original children's picture books, novelty and fiction for the under 11's. Jill started life in publishing as an editor for a children's non-fiction publisher and has written a number of books herself. She was the Children's Book Director and then Managing Director of A&C Black Publishers and was on the senior executive of Bloomsbury for many years.
Julia Eccleshare is the Children’s Books Editor of the Guardian and an editorial advisor to many publishers. She won the Eleanor Farjeon Award 2000 in recognition of her outstanding contribution to children’s books. In addition to numerous anthologies her books include, A Guide to the Harry Potter Novels (Continuum, 2002), Beatrix Potter to Harry Potter: Portraits of children’s writers (National Portrait Gallery, 2002), The Rough Guide to Teenage Books, (Rough Guides, October, 2003), The Rough Guide to Picture Books (Rough Guides, 2007) and, most recently, 1001 Children’s books to read before you grow up, (Cassells, 2009).
Elen Caldecott is the author of Operation Eiffel Tower, How Ali Ferguson Saved Houdini, How Kirsty Jenkins Stole the Elephant, The Mystery of Wickworth Manor, and The Great Ice-Cream Heist. Her debut novel, How Kirsty Jenkins Stole the Elephant, was shortlisted for the Waterstone's Children's Prize and longlisted for the 2010 Carnegie Award. She graduated with an MA in Writing for Young People from Bath Spa University and was highly commended in the PFD Prize for Most Promising Writer for Young People. Before becoming a writer, she was an archaeologist, a nurse, a theatre usher and a museum security guard. Elen lives in Bristol with her husband, Simon, and their dog.
Jodie Hodges started her career in publishing working for an independent bookseller before joining PFD as Rosemary Canter’s assistant in 2005. She moved with Rosemary to United Agents at the agency’s founding in 2007 and began representing clients of her own the following year, then inheriting Rosemary’s list when she passed away in 2011. Jodie is now a partner at United Agents and represents over 80 children’s and young adult authors and illustrators, including Giles Andreae, Sophie McKenzie, Ian Whybrow, Rick Riordan, Kristina Stephenson and Benjamin Zephaniah. Jodie maintains an open list for submissions and tries to avoid suggesting ‘wish-lists’ as she usually doesn’t know what she's looking for until she sees it. In general, though she enjoys strong, original storytelling and a unique voice (doesn’t everyone!). She has a passion for funny writing for 7-12s and also a penchant for the realisms of teenage life - be that gritty or hilarious - in writing for that age group. That said, she also loves classic, epic adventure stories and a sprinkling of the fantastic. And a perfect picture book text is one of her most favourite things. Additionally, Jodie is always searching for children's book illustrators or writer/illustrators with a contemporary, quirky style. Her submission guidelines are on www.unitedagents.co.uk. You can also follow her on Twitter @jodiehodges31.
Matt Whyman has written widely for teenagers and younger readers, and is also known as the agony uncle for Radio 1’s Sunday Surgery and for Bliss Magazine. He is the author of critically-acclaimed novels including BOY KILLS MAN and THE SAVAGES, and has taught creative writing across Africa, Russia and the Middle East. Matt is married with four children and lives in West Sussex. Find out more at www.mattwhyman.com
Emma Hopkin is Managing Director of Bloomsbury Children's and Educational Publishing where she has overseen the launch of Bloomsbury Picture Books, Bloomsbury Activity Books and the efirst list Bloomsbury Spark for YA readers. Previously she was Managing Director of Macmillan Children's Books where she led the acquisition of the non-fiction children's publisher Kingfisher. She has worked with many authors and illustrators including Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler, Chris Riddell, Emily Gravett, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Andy Lane and Meg Cabot. Prior to being Managing Director she was Sales and Marketing Director. Previously she worked in marketing roles at Routledge, where she began her publishing career and Houghton Mifflin.