Dave Rudden

The Art of Interrogation

Summary: How to Strive for Original, Quality Work Through Interrogation of Theme, Setting, Character and Word Choice

Dave Rudden is the author of the award-winning Knights of the Borrowed Dark trilogy and Doctor Who: Twelve Angels Weeping. Follow him at @d_ruddenwrites

Haleh Agar

Submitting Your Manuscript to Agents—Is it Ready Yet?

Summary: How do you know when your manuscript is ready for submission? It can be difficult to tell when to send your manuscript off to agents and publishers. This talk provides guidance on how to check that your manuscript is in the best shape possible so that you can approach the submission process with confidence. There will also be tips on what to put in your cover letter to agents to get your submission noticed. 

Haleh Agar is a teacher and author. Her debut novel OUT OF TOUCH will be published by W&N (Orion, Hachette) in Spring 2020. Her short fiction and non-fiction are published in different journals, anthologies and magazines including Mslexia and The London Magazine. Her essay ‘On Writing Ethnic Stories’ won The London Magazine essay prize and her short fiction piece ‘Jellyfish’ won the Brighton Prize. She most recently ran a workshop on characterization and people of color in fiction at the U.K. Flash Fiction Festival. She loves a sunny afternoon with nothing to do. 

Lauren James

Writing with STEM

Summary: I discuss how scientific research I’ve done inspired events in my novels. I also show a presentation including examples of spreadsheets used to accurately calculate the figures involved in my writing, such as spaceship travel times and time travel figures. Includes discussion of Einstein’s theory of relativity, time dilation, extinction and evolution.

Lauren James was born in 1992, and graduated in 2014 from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. She is the Carnegie-nominated British Young Adult author of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, The Quiet at the End of the World and The Next Together series.

She started writing during secondary school English classes, because she couldn’t stop thinking about a couple who kept falling in love throughout history. She sold the rights to the novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university.

Her books have sold over fifty thousand copies in the UK alone, and been translated into five languages worldwide. She has been described as ‘Gripping romantic sci-fi’ by the Wall Street Journal and ‘A strange, witty, compulsively unpredictable read which blows most of its new YA-suspense brethren out of the water’ by Entertainment Weekly.

Her other novels include The Last Beginning, named one of the best LGBT-inclusive works for young adults by the Independent, and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, which was inspired by a Physics calculation she was assigned at university. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and all of her books feature female scientists in prominent roles. The Quiet at the End of the World considers the legacy and evolution of the human race into the far future.

Lauren is published in the UK by Walker Books and in the US by HarperCollins. She lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient. She has written articles for numerous publications, including the Guardian, Buzzfeed, Den of Geek, The Toast, and the Children’s Writers and Artist’s Yearbook 2020. She lectures at the University of Cambridge and Coventry University, and works with Writing West Midlands, providing creative writing courses to children through the Spark Young Writers programme.

Maz Evans

This Writing Business

Summary: This Writing Business: Writing a book is just the beginning – learn a little about the business of being a writer from someone who’s had to learn from a lot of mistakes!

Maz’s debut children’s novel Who Let the Gods Out was published by Chicken House in February 2017 and was selected as the Waterstone’s Children’s Book of the Month. It entered the bestseller charts on its first week on sale, has sold to 18 countries worldwide and received over 20 award nominations, including the Carnegie Medal, Branford Boase, Books Are My Bag and Waterstone’s Children’s Book of the Year. She has written three further books in the series (Simply The Quest, Beyond The Odyssey and Against All Gods) while teaching creative writing around the UK and beyond to all ages, from Reception to University. 

Patrice Lawrence

What Happens Next?
Six easy ways to shove your plot along when you’re stuck

You’ve been bombing along with your work in progress and suddenly you grind to a halt. Here are six easy(ish) ways to write yourself out of that dead end.

Patrice Lawrence is an award-winning writer for children and young people. Her debut YA novel, Orangeboy, won the Bookseller YA Prize and the Waterstones Prize for Older Children’s Fiction, and was shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Award and many regional awards. Indigo Donut, won the Bristol Crimefest YA prize. Her recent books include Snap, a special World Book Day day, Toad Attack for younger readers and Diver’s Daughter, part of Scholastic’s Voices series inspired by UK Black and Asian history. Patrice has contributed to several short story anthologies including Malory Towers: New Class of Malory Towers. Patrice’s third YA novel, Rose, Interrupted is published in July. 

Rashmi Sirdeshpande


The business of writing picture books – everything from building your WHY and goal-setting to understanding the market and thinking (and working) strategically. [Focus on picture books but broader lessons can be applied more widely!]

Rashmi is a lawyer and MBA turned children’s writer with the curiosity of a 3-year-old. She was a Penguin Random House WriteNow mentee and her nonfiction picture book debut HOW TO BE EXTRAORDINARY, illustrated by Annabel Tempest, is out with Puffin in August 2019. An exciting pipeline of fiction and nonfiction books to follow over the next few years too. 

Sophie Cleverly

Overcoming Obstacles –
How To Write When Everything Is Wrong.

Summary: Many of us face obstacles that get in the way of writing – whether it’s due to physical or mental health problems, raising children, working other jobs, or just struggling with motivation. In this talk I will discuss my own experiences, and give my top ten tips for overcoming these problems and getting your words on the page. 

Sophie Cleverly was born in Bath in 1989. She studied for a BA in Creative Writing and an MA in Writing For Young People. Her Scarlet and Ivy series is published by HarperCollins worldwide, and has been translated into 5 different languages so far.

Aside from writing, she can often be found blogging about symphonic metal, watching fantastical TV and struggling to find her way out of her ever-increasing pile of books.