Are you writing and/or illustrating for children? Join us for our Children’s Writers & Illustrators Festival 2024: an online, craft-based festival for Children’s writers & illustrators at all stages of their careers.
We're proud to present this full-weekend line-up of authors, illustrators, agents and industry professionals, who will talk tips, offer advice, share experiences and pass on knowledge. We'll discuss the current children's publishing marketplace, host invaluable sessions on the creative process with leading authors and illustrators, and provide essential advice on pitching your work when it comes to seeking literary agent representation.
All attendees will automatically be entered into our festival raffle, while everyone will have the opportunity to send in a pitch of their work-in-progress ahead our agent panel.
Weekend Pass £80: Access to all festival content: 3 live masterclasses, 5 pre-recorded videos, 1 children's marketplace discussion, 1 agent panel. Plus x2 raffle entries!
Masterclass+ £65: 1 live masterclass, 5 pre-recorded videos, 1 children's marketplace discussion and 1 agent panel. One raffle entry.
Single Pass £45: 1 live masterclass and live agent panel. One raffle entry
Full Festival Line-Up:
Speaker bios and further information about our raffle and live agent panel can also be found by scrolling down this page.
Saturday 23 March 2024
10:15-10:45: Video 1: Writing Funny with Serena Patel
Writing funny books can be tricky, so who better to offer tips that an expert of the craft?! Listen to the fabulously talented Serena Patel explain how she creates her laugh out loud series, Anisha the Accidental Detective, and offer advice on how you can inject humour into your own stories.
11:00-12:30: LIVE MASTERCLASS 1: Using Poetry Within Your Craft with Children’s Laureate Wales Alex Wharton (click here for more details)
Find out how to have some fun with poetry and learn about some of the ways to bring it into your craft, bringing your writing and/or illustrations to life. Alex will guide you through some simple children’s poetry exercises and give you lots of take-away tips in this exclusive live masterclass and Q&A .
12:30-13:30: Lunch break
13:30-14:00: Video 2: Why Non-Fiction, Why Now! with Bloomsbury Children's Non-Fiction editor
The children’s non-fiction market continues to grow and grow. But why? And how do fiction writers tap into this? Watch this video with the current Bloomsbury Children’s Non-Fiction editor to understand more about this booming genre in Children’s Publishing.
14:15-15:45: LIVE MASTERCLASS 2: Writing for Young Adults with Holly Bourne (click here for more details)
Learn from a master of writing YA by joining us for this live masterclass with critically acclaimed author Holly Bourne. This practical session will include writing exercises and discussion on how to effectively - yet sensitively - approach topical issues within books for the YA marketplace.
16:00-16:30: LIVE: The Children's Publishing Landscape: in discussion with Alysoun Owen
Why is it so hard to make a career from writing and/or illustrating for children? What is the insider knowledge? How do you stand out from the crowd? Weekend Pass and Masterclass+ ticket holders will be able to tune in for this honest and open discussion with Alysoun Owen, Editor of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook and the Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook, who has twenty-five years' experience of working in the publishing industry.
16.30-16:45: What to expect from tomorrow
Sunday 24 March 2024
09:45-10:00: Welcome back!
10:00-10:30: Video 3: Writing About What Matters with Hannah Gold
In this exclusive video Hannah Gold offers tips and advice about how you can create stories and characters that allow your own personal passions to shine through in your own writing
10:45-12:15: LIVE MASTERCLASS 3: Managing Your Brain for Your Creative Life with Andrew Wright (click here for more details)
Could you become a #NeuroNinja writer? In this session, Andrew Wright from Action Your Potential will excite, engage, and inform you about the incredible power of your amazing brain. This will be a practical session, with key tips and daily habits that will help you build creativity, manage mind-wandering and improve learning, memory and mental health.
12:15-13:15: Lunch break
13:15-13:45: Video 4: Finding Your Illustration Style: Craft Tips with Rikin Parekh
Want to know how to carve and maintain a career in illustration? Searching for your own personal illustration style? In this exclusive video, the talented and tenacious Rikhin Parekh will share tips on how to nurture your talent and find a style that will help develop your career as an illustrator.
14:00-14:30: Video 5: Storytelling as a Tool with Sandra A. Agard
In this exclusive video the Queen of Storytelling, Sandra Agard offers tips and advice about how you can use the art of storytelling in your own writing and career.
14:45-16.15: LIVE PANEL DISCUSSION: Join literary agents Charlotte Collwill and Julia Churchill to learn how to pitch your work
Charlotte and Julia, two specialist children’s agents, will critique your pitches live, as well as offer general guidance and advice on the submission process for both authors and/or illustrators. This session ends with a live Q&A.
16:30-16:45: Raffle draw and closing remarks
Sandra A. Agard is a storyteller and author. She has worked for over forty years in libraries as a literature development consultant and is currently a Learning Facilitator for Schools at the British Library.
Sandra is an RSL Honorary Fellow and was awarded the 2022 Benson Medal for Services to Literature.
Holly started her writing career as a news journalist, where she was nominated for Best Print Journalist of the Year. She then spent six years working as an editor, a relationship advisor, and general ‘agony aunt’ for a youth charity – helping young people with their relationships and mental health. Inspired by what she saw, she started writing teen fiction, including the best-selling, award-winning ‘Spinster Club’ series which helps educate teenagers about feminism. When she turned thirty, Holly wrote her first adult novel, examining the intensified pressures on women once they hit that landmark.
Alongside her writing, Holly has a keen interest in women’s rights and is an advocate for reducing the stigma of mental health problems. She’s helped create online apps that teach young people about sexual consent, works with Women’s Aid to spread awareness of abusive relationships, and runs Rethink’s mental health book club.
Camilla Chester describes herself as a dog walker who writes.
After receiving a distinction in a Diploma for Creative Writing and Literacy, Camilla went on to self-publish three children’s novels. She was a finalist in the National Literacy Trust New Author Award 2016 and Mslexia Children’s Novel Award 2019. Her traditionally published children’s novel, entitled Call Me Lion, was shortlisted for the Oxfordshire and Portsmouth Awards in 2023 and won the SCBWI 2023 Crystal Kite Award. Camilla also writes for the popular online school resources, Serial Mash and Fiction Express.
Camilla has a long history of supporting other writers both voluntary and through her freelance work. She has a very practical eye and likes nothing more than helping writers find the heart of their story.
I 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 I started the children’s book side of the list.
I’m lucky to represent some fabulous writers, but I’m always on the lookout for new writing talent. I’m looking for debut and established authors with storytelling magic, from picture book texts right up to YA.
Charlotte began her career as a bookseller in independent bookshops in London and Melbourne, including Daunt Books and most recently running the children’s department at Foyles, Charing Cross Road, before becoming an agent in 2018. She has worked at Tibor Jones, on many of Wilbur Smith's recent co-authored titles and at the Jo Unwin Literary Agency where she worked with Eliza Clark and Caleb Femi. In 2022 she joined forces with former Penguin editor Kay Peddle to form Colwill & Peddle, an independent literary agency that represents a wide range of authors of commercial fiction, non-fiction and children's books.
Hannah Gold worked in the film and magazine industries before taking time out to pursue her dream of writing. She lives in Lincolnshire with her tortoise, her cat and her husband. The Last Bear was her middle-grade debut which became an inspirational, international bestseller on release in 2021 and has gone on to win a multitude of national awards including the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award 2022. Hannah’s books have sold over 280,000 copies worldwide and have been translated into 25 languages. Hannah is also an ambassador for Whale and Dolphin Conservation (https://uk.whales.org/)
Alysoun Owen is the Editor of the annual bestselling Writers' & Artists' Yearbook and the Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook, which provide advice and contacts for authors across all forms and genres on how to write and get published. She runs a publishing consultancy, is the author of the Writers' & Artists' Guide to Getting Published and is a regular speaker at literary and publishing-related events. www.writersandartists.co.uk
Rikin studied art at Camberwell College of Arts and then at the University of Westminster. After graduating he worked Freelance in the Film industry designing monsters and as a Storyboard Artist. He also worked as a bookseller at Borders right up until they ceased trading. He then worked for the online streaming company LOVEFiLM and then decided that he'd love to work in Primary schools as a Teaching Assistant so he could help children read, write and draw. He's currently working on a non-fiction series with Walker Books, finishing final art for the last book in the "Worst Class in the World..." series and lots of other fun projects!
Serena Patel is the author of the Anisha, Accidental Detective series which won the Sainsbury's Children's Book Award for Fiction in 2020 and The Week Junior Children's Book Award for Young Fiction in 2023. She lives in the West Midlands with her family and believes all children deserve to feel seen in the stories they read and that books are an important tool for empathy. When she's not writing Serena enjoys watching movies, reading and eating cake. Chocolate cake preferred.
Alex Wharton is an award-winning writer and performer of poetry for adults and children. His First Book of poetry for children, Daydreams and Jellybeans, was shortlisted for the Wales Book of The Year Award 2022, The North Somerset Teacher’s Book Awards, The Laugh Out Loud Book Awards and was named as a National Poetry Day Recommended Read.
Alex won the inaugural Rising Stars Wales Award in 2020 and is the Children’s Laureate Wales 2023-2025. He has collaborated with key national organisations such as Cadw, National Dance Company Wales, Welsh Government, British Council of Literature and Welsh Libraries, and has also appeared in festivals such as Hay Festival and Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Alex’s second and third collections of poetry Doughnuts, Thieves and Chimpanzees and Red Sky at Night: A Poet’s Delight will be published with Firefly Press in 2023 and 2024.
Andrew is the CEO and founder of Action Your Potential. His company employs over 30 coaches offering 1:1 support as part of the Build a #NeuroNinja programme. The aim of this programme is to build #NeuroNinja, unleashing in parents, carers and children 14 powerful metacognitive skills to help them change their brain, change their mind and change their world. AYP started in 2018 and now works in 170 schools nationally, as well as with businesses and business leaders. They also offer individual and family subscriptions to support any interested individual to begin the journey to become a #NeuroNinja. A #NeuroNinja is someone who lives in their amazing brain, understanding how it works and living and working inside it in ways to get the most out of everyday.
Pitch Your Book to Literary Agents: Live Panel Discussion
Your weekend pass includes a free place at our agent panel discussion with Charlotte Colwill and Julia Churchill, which starts at 14.45 on Sunday 24th March, 2024.
Ahead of this session, you will be invited to submit your own novel pitch. A select number of pitches will then be chosen by our agents, and critiqued during the session itself! Look out for an email from W&A in days leading up to the festival, which will contain all the information you need about how to submit your pitch.
Every festival attendee is automatically entered into our festival raffle, while weekend pass holders receive two raffle entries. The raffle will be drawn at the end of the festival, with the following prizes up for grabs:
3rd prize: Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2024 and Bloomsbury Children's book bundle
2nd prize: complimentary place at any W&A evening masterclass (RRP £30) + Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2024 and Bloomsbury Children's book bundle
1st prize: gratis Opening Chapters editing service (RRP £240/£380)
Your festival weekend pass gives you access to all three live masterclasses, all pre-recorded videos, a live children's marketplace discussion, our panel with literary agents, and two entries into our raffle.
This festival will take place online in full, and will be presented using video conferencing software. Joining instructions, links, and full guidance will be circulated for the above in the week leading up to the festival.
Any event materials associated to individual masterclasses will be made available to attendees at the author's discretion, and all recordings will be made available for a time-limited period.
The festival weekend pass is priced at £80 (inc. VAT), and payable in full online.
Please note that payment instalment plans are available for all W&A events, writing courses and editing services. Contact W&A Admin on firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can find a payment schedule that works for you.
To view our event refund and cancellation policy, please click here.
Accessible to All
It’s of real importance to Writers & Artists that our events and courses remain accessible to all.
- Writers & Artists has made one full weekend pass available for our festival as part of our accessibility scheme. Please visit our bursaries page for further information about how to apply. All bursary applications must have been submitted for consideration by 4th March 2024
- At the author’s discretion, event materials will be made available to attendees after the masterclass.
- A link to a recording of the masterclass will be circulated after the event. This will be made available to event attendees only, and for a time-limited period.
- Each event will include written text and visuals. Please contact us in advance so that we can make arrangements to be sure all documents appear in a format that works for you.
- If you’d like to attend but have any questions or concerns regarding accessibility, then please email AccessWA@bloomsbury.com