We are delighted to announce our judges for the WriteMentor Children’s Novel Award for 2021.

Pictures Books

Judge(s): Justine Smith and Paul Moreton
Entry: £5
Prize: £250 plus a text review and 1-2-1 call with Justine and Paul.

Justine joins Bell Lomax Moreton from Pan Macmillan, where she has been commissioning and acquiring picture books. She is an experienced and versatile author and editor who has worked at Penguin, Dorling Kindersley, Templar and Big Picture Press in senior publishing roles. She has also worked as a script editor in children’s animation and over her 30 year career has developed, written, edited and published bestselling and award-winning baby and preschool books, picture books, non-fiction, 5 – 8 and middle-grade fiction.

Justine has always loved that special blend of words and pictures, unique to storytelling for children. She holds a Postgraduate Diploma in illustration and continues to work as a children’s author and freelance editorial consultant.

At Bell Lomax Moreton Justine works with authors and illustrators to shape their work for submission to publishers.

Paul is the Managing Director of Bell Lomax Moreton. He joined the agency in 2000 from Penguin Books, where he was Head of Children’s Book Sales. He’s interested in children’s books across all age ranges and narrative non-fiction, biography, sport, music and autobiography. He’s also interested in crime fiction and anything a bit weird and wonderful.

Novels (Chapter Book, Middle Grade and Young Adult)

Judge: Lauren Gardner
Entry: £10
Prize: £500, plus trophy.

Lauren joined Bell Lomax Moreton in April 2014 as literary assistant and has been agenting full time since October 2015. She graduated in 2009 with a degree in English Literature and Drama from the University of Manchester, and has a background in lifestyle and entertainment PR.

In adult non-fiction, Lauren has a keen eye for spotting new trends and big ideas. She has a specialism for working with digital first talent and working with authors to develop book ideas that originate from new media, including podcasts, Instagram and YouTube.

She is currently is looking for narrative and illustrated adult and children’s non-fiction projects, ranging from people undertaking extraordinary challenges and having amazing adventures, to young activists, podcast creators, diverse voices, and experts in STEM, History, Pop Culture, Fashion and Mental Health fields.

She has a passion for children’s literature and is also looking for young fiction and middle-grade debuts with heart, humour and maybe a supernatural or high concept twist (or two). For teens and YA, a good swoony romance will always be top of her TBR pile, and she would love to find the next Louise Rennison (think diaries of a young Fleabag). Lauren is actively looking for children’s fiction and non-fiction submissions from diverse and marginalised authors across all age ranges and genres.

Lauren does not represent Adult Fiction, SFF or Picture Books.

Find out more about our judges and who they represent over at the Bell Moreton Lomax website.

We will do a full interview with judges closer to the time of entries opening, so you can get a better idea of what they’re looking for and their very best tips to help you.

More details on the award itself will also appear later in the year and well in advance of the award opening for entries in December.