Workshops

Aisha Bushby

How to find an Agent

A workshop on how write the perfect cover letter and synopsis, and tips and tricks on finding an agent.

Aisha Bushby was first published in Stripes Publishing’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ YA BAME short story anthology in 2017. It went on to win a YA Special Achievement Award. Her debut MG novel, ‘A Pocketful of Stars’ is out on 8th August 2019 with Egmont. Before Aisha became a writer she worked undercover as an agent’s assistant, and hopes to help aspiring authors find representation.

Alexandra Sheppard

Myths Made Modern: How to put a fresh spin on ancient tales

Explore the enduring appeal of myths, legends and fairy tales, plus learn how to modernise these tales in fresh ways for a new audience.

Alexandra Sheppard is a YA Author from North London, and her debut novel OH MY GODS was published by Scholastic in 2019.

Danielle Jawando

Creating Contemorary YA Characters 

Explore how to craft engaging, realistic and three-dimensional characters. Perfect for those who are writing contemporary YA. 

Danielle Jawando is an author and screenwriter. Danielle has had several short plays perfumed at the King’s Arms in Manchester and at Stratford Circus in London. In 2015, Danielle worked as a storyline writer on Coronation Street, she has was also commissioned by the BBC to write a short story for radio (aimed at children between the ages of 5 and 7). Her first children’s book, a biography about the life of Maya Angelou, will be published by Laurence King in September. Her debut YA novel ‘And The Stars Were Burning Brightly’ will be out with Simon & Schuster next year.

Emma Read

Writing for Younger Readers

Discussion, advice and practical exercises on writing Young Middle Grade.

Emma Read is the author of Milton the Mighty (out in June with Chicken House), which was shortlisted for the Bath Children’s Novel Award.
She is a WriteMentor Spark mentor and reader for both WMCNA and Bath Novel Award. Her passion is for writing and reading middle grade fiction and particularly books for younger readers which encourage a lifelong love of reading.

James Nicol

World Building with James Nicol 

Join The Apprentice Witch author, James Nicol, for a workshop on world building to help bring your wordy worlds to life! 

James Nicol has loved books and stories his whole life. As a child he spent hours absorbed in novels, watching epic 1980s cartoons or adventuring in the wood at the bottom of the garden. He lives near York, in a house with too many books and too many musical instruments, with his partner and a black and white cockapoo called Bonnie.

Jenny Pearson / Sam Copeland

#writefunny

Sam & Jenny will be discussing their writing processes and helping you to heap humour into your own work.

Sam Copeland is author of the laugh-out-loud MG book, Charlie Changes into a Chicken (Penguin). His second instalment Charlie turns into a T-Rex is out in August. He is also a literary agent at RCW. 
Jenny Pearson’s funny MG debut, The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates will be published in 2020 by Usborne. She is represented by Sam Copeland. 

Jo Gatford / Sarah Lewis

Write A Novel In 60 Minutes

A whistlestop tour of story structure for writers in a hurry.

Writers’ HQ runs writers’ retreats and online courses for badass writers with no time or money. https://writershq.co.uk

Joseph Elliot

Unlocking Creative Potential

Through exercises and practical advice, this workshop will look at how to start getting words onto the page and ways to encourage creativity.

Originally from Bristol, Joseph studied English Literature and Drama at the University of Manchester, before doing an MA in performance at Central School of Speech and Drama. For the last ten years, he has worked as an actor, predominantly in comedy and children’s television. Recently, he co-created, wrote and starred in InterNOT, a comedy sketch show commissioned by the BBC, which parodies the bizarre world of YouTube. He is part of the writing teams for BBC’s BAFTA-winning TV shows Class Dismissed and Swashbuckle, as well as a new female-led sketch show, The Amelia Gething Complex.

Joseph’s debut novel, The Good Hawk, will be published by Walker Books UK and Walker US in January 2020.

Twitter: @joseph_elliott

Kate Brauning

Magnet First Lines: How To Rivet Your Readers
(Including Agents & Editors)

Kate will present the 7 key elements that bestselling and award-winning books use for their opening sentences and dissect examples. Attendees may bring their first sentence for critique, and Kate will evaluate 1 first line from each attendee, time permitting.

Kate Brauning is an author of YA fiction (How We Fall, Simon Pulse) and an editor in the publishing industry, having worked with Lerner Publishing Group, Entangled Publishing, Carol Mann Literary agency, and others. Her books include USA Today bestsellers, a Rita finalist, a Kirkus starred review, two Junior Library Guild selections, a Goodreads Best YA of the Month, and more. Now she runs the Breakthrough Writers’ Boot Camp, a professional development program for established writers who want to take their career to the next level. In her spare time, she makes candy, bread, pies, and cakes, hunts down new music, and reads just about everything. You can find more about her at www.katebrauning.com or follow her on Twitter: @KateBrauning. 

Kesia Lupo

Writing YA Fantasy

A series of short exercises, writing prompts and advice to help participants develop a YA fantasy idea, followed by a Q&A.

Kesia Lupo is Senior Editor at Chicken House where she edits a roster of brilliant authors writing for children aged 7 to YA. She is also the author of YA fantasy novel We Are Blood and Thunder, published with Bloomsbury Children’s Books in April 2019.

Lindsay Galvin

Reel in your reader!
How to craft a first page which will make them turn over

You don’t have long to hook that reader, and you know every word matters. But which words to choose? How to get enough information into just one book page that they absolutely have to turn to the next? This workshop breaks your a story opening down into 5 simple key elements. I will examine examples from modern and classic books MG and YA, live edit some of your story openings and give tips on how to orientate your new reader into your story world so they just can’t leave. Let’s reel them in…

Lindsay was lucky enough to be raised in a house of stories, music, and love of the sea. She left part of her heart underwater after living and working in Thailand where she spent hundreds of blissful hours scuba diving. Forced now to surface for breath, she lives in sight of the chillier Sussex sea with her husband and two sons. When she is not writing, she can be found reading, swimming or practicing yoga. She has a degree in English Language and Literature, is fascinated by psychology and the natural world, and teaches Science. Lindsay hadn’t written creatively since childhood until the idea for her debut novel The Secret Deep splashed into her mind, and now she’s hooked.

Louie Stowell

World building workshop

I’ll be giving a Twitter dm based group workshop about world building. Come with questions and problems you want to resolve in your world building. Happy to answer other writing questions too as part of the chat! ESP relevant to writers of fantasy and sci fi.

Writer and editorial director. I’ve been writing non fiction for years and my first novel is out June 6th: The Dragon in the Library from Nosy Crow. 

Maz Evans

Story, Plot and the Difference Between the Two

Stories and plots are the building blocks of writing – but they are different things. A discussion of different ways to approach both to find the one that works for you.

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. 

Olivia Levez

Trust Me, I’m a Narrator

It’s all very well creating a convincing voice – but what if you want a narrator who gets a kick out of convincing the reader? A deceiver? A with-holder of facts? A keeper of secrets? Or just plain forgetful? A guide to make the ultimate unreliable narrator.

Olivia is the author of two critically acclaimed YA books, THE ISLAND and THE CIRCUS. As well as writing, Olivia taught English for many years at a large secondary school. In 2015, she founded Scribblers, a Worcester based critique group. Olivia often walks on the Malvern Hills, where a starry night and a snowy day made her wonder about an alien girl landing there. 

P.M. Freestone

Building believable worlds

Whether you write fantasy, sci fi, historical or even contemporary fiction, it’s crucial you immerse your readers in the world your characters inhabit. But where do you even start? This workshop offers tips, tricks and tools to build a believable world that enhances your story, challenges your characters and transports your reader.

P. M. Freestone writes young adult fiction. Her debut fantasy novel, ‘Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom’ is out now in the UK and Australia, and publishes later in 2019 in the USA. It is the first in a planned duology and is so far set to be translated into seven other languages. She lives in Edinburgh, Scotland with her partner and rescue dog.

Rachel Leyshon

Self-editing: an editor’s guide

Editors are there to help – but every author needs to know how to edit their own work, to build confidence and develop a good, creative eye.

Rachel Leyshon grew up in Northern Ireland and South Wales. She read English at the University of Birmingham and at the Open University, and began her career in publishing in 1994, shortly after graduating. Her first job was at a literary agency, though she went on to work as an editor of adult fiction and non-fiction, notably at Weidenfeld & Nicolson and Orion, before finding her natural home in children’s books at the Chicken House. Her authors have been translated into many languages and won multiple awards, including the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. In 2017 she won the Branford Boase, and was shortlisted for Editor of the Year at the British Book Awards.

Rashmi Sirdeshpande

WRITING NONFICTION PICTURE BOOKS

An introduction to the world of nonfiction picture books. It’s a chance to talk through what’s happening in the industry, where ideas come from, and how to pitch and write a nonfiction picture book.

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. 

Serena Patel

What’s so funny?

A brief introduction to writing funny fiction for younger readers. Where to look for inspiration, how to make a funny scene really leap off the page and a few tips on the do’s and don’ts of writing humour for kids. 

Serena Patel is a mum of two from the Midlands. She works as a part time training co-ordinator and is the family’s finder of all lost things. She writes for children because the opportunities to be silly and create funny characters and situations are endless. Her first book in the Anisha Mistry series is being published by Usborne in September 2019. 

Sophie Cameron

Great YA characters & LGBTQ+ rep

Advice on creating realistic and empathetic characters, with a focus on LGBTQIAP+ representation and discussion of queer characters in YA. 

Sophie Cameron is a YA author from the Black Isle, now based in Spain. Her debut novel, OUT OF THE BLUE, was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and named one of the best books of 2018 by Kirkus. Her second novel, LAST BUS TO EVERLAND, was published by Macmillan Children’s Books earlier this year. 

Sophie Cleverly

Writing A Super Series

Are you thinking of writing a series for children or young adults? Join this workshop to find out my thoughts on writing and finishing one – as well as how I turned one book idea into six! We will have a friendly discussion about series publishing in general, what we think works and what doesn’t, and I will answer any questions you may have.

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.

Sufiya Ahmed

How to show not tell a short story

Sufiya Ahmed is the author of Secrets of the Henna Girl and a girls rights activist.

Vashti Hardy

Foreshadowing, Clues and Reveals

We’ll consider and analyse the elements we need to think about when considering the set up and pay off within stories. This will include the use of clues, mirroring, reader knowledge versus character knowledge, the use of events, show vs tell in foreshadowing, tone, planting questions and choosing when to answer them, and the frame of your story. I’ll give insights relating to Brightstorm and Wildspark along with other relevant story examples!

Vashti Hardy is a writer of children’s books living near Brighton in Sussex with her family. She was a primary school teacher for several years, and has a special interest in children’s writing, especially free-writing and the use of journals and creating fantasy worlds. She has a first-class honours teaching degree with English specialism and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester. After leaving teaching to focus more on her writing, she also became a digital marketing executive. 

Vashti is an alumni member of The Golden Egg Academy and is represented by Kate Shaw of The Viney Shaw Agency. Her books BRIGHTSTORM and WILDSPARK are published in the UK by Scholastic. Brightstorm was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and The BAMB Reader’s Choice Award and also long listed for the Blue Peter Book Award. 

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