WriteMentor Children’s Novel and Picture Book Awards 2022: Meet the Judges

We are delighted announce our double judging team for the joint awards for 2022.

Clare and Lydia from Darley Anderson Children’s Book Agency bring a wealth of experience across all age groups and genres, and are delighted to have the opportunity of being the joint shortlist judges for book the Novel and Picture Book Awards.

In case you don’t know Clare and Lydia, a full biography is below for both of them, but rest assured they are top agents with an eagle eye for talent, representing some of our favourite authors, and many of the WriteMentor community.

Clare Wallace

Clare joined the Darley Anderson Agency in January 2011 and is building both the Darley Anderson Children’s Agency and the Darley Anderson Illustration Agency lists. As chief talent-spotter, Clare loves to discover memorable new characters, bold and unique voices, strong concepts and gripping storytelling. She represents picture books, middle-grade, teenage and YA. Clare is particularly looking for funny chapter books for younger readers at the moment as well as YA rom coms, especially with underrepresented protagonists. Whatever the age range, Clare loves a big hook, a lot of heart, and a standout voice. For picture books she has the widest taste, from daft to lyrical, rhyming to prose. If your submission doesn’t fit a description here, it doesn’t mean Clare doesn’t want to receive it. She often doesn’t know what she’s looking for until she finds it (although she is not the person for steampunk or space opera). Her list gives a good indication of her taste.

Clare is actively looking for submissions from underrepresented writers. Please include the hashtag#diversevoices in the subject line of your email when you submit.

The clients Clare represents include Perdita & Honor CargillCaroline CroweTom Ellen, Martyn FordStewart FosterA M HowellPolly Ho-YenRachel IpBeth ReeklesJ.P. RoseLindsay Galvin, Dave RuddenDeirdre Sullivan and Efua Traoré.


Lydia Silver

After a childhood buried in library books and Beanos, Lydia started her career in the editorial team at Egmont, where she commissioned books such as the Carnegie Medal-winning The Poet X. She joined the Darley Anderson team in 2018, and is building an engaging and diverse list of authors and illustrators. With experience on both sides of the commissioning desk, Lydia loves working editorially with her clients and developing ideas from an initial spark into a full manuscript. She represents clients across all age groups, including picture book, chapter book, middle grade and YA, and has a particular focus on non-fiction. Lydia reads and considers widely, and among other things she is looking for snort-inducing stories for younger readers, clever and contemporary teenage and YA fiction, and non-fiction projects that take big ideas and make them easily navigable, accessible and fun. No matter the story, Lydia is drawn to voice above anything else and will always be sucked in by a strong hook.

Lydia is actively looking for submissions from all under-represented writers. Please include the hashtag #diversevoices in the subject line of your email when you submit. 

Lydia represents clients including SoofiyaGina Blaxill, Mark BradleyRyan HammondAlice Harman, Joyce Efia Harmer, Catherine Jacob, Hannah Moffatt, Rachel Morrisroe, Nick SheridanRashmi Sirdeshpande and Eva Wong Nava. If you could sum up her tastes in three words, they would be curious, characterful and heartfelt, and in three books, they would be One of Us is Lying, Nevermoor and You Are Awesome.


We will chat with both for more information on what they’re looking for closer to the time of entries opening (usually 1st December), but in the meantime they wrote this terrific guide for authors:


Don’t think you can wait until next year for them to judge your work? Well, why not submit to them now (if you’re ready!): https://www.darleyandersonchildrens.com/submissions

We will be back soon with more information on this year’s awards. We are likely to be making a couple of changes this year in light of the record high entries we received last year and struggled under the swell of…but rest assured we’ll let you know in plenty of time before entries open.

In the meantime, take care and May the Force be with you!

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