Online

Weekend

Flexible

Affordable

WriteMentor invites you to WOWCON, our annual, online conference for writers of children’s fiction that encapsulates our values of accessibility, affordability, community, and diversity

Bringing together children’s writers and industry professionals, WOWCON offers a packed weekend programme including…

  • Keynote speeches from leading UK authors on this year’s conference theme, ELEVATE
  • Two-hour interactive workshops on craft topics
  • One-hour live talks with Q&A sessions
  • Panels discussing current publishing topics and analysing manuscript extracts
  • 1-2-1 meetings with literary agents to discuss children’s fiction manuscripts

How does it work?

  • Buy a £12 entry-level ticket to access the conference. Includes all six keynote speeches, as well as an invite to join this year’s Slack group for socialising with fellow writers.
  • Book onto our live workshops, talks, and agent 121s taking place throughout the weekend. These will be recorded and available to ticket holders for up to 1 month after the conference, with live transcription (also available in recordings).
  • For the longer 2 hour workshops, we’ll build in a 10 minute break in the middle, but it’s also recorded too, so if people can only manage an hour live, they can come back for the recorded second hour later.
  • Pay to access the remaining panels, workshops, talks of your choice, pre-recorded so you can revisit them after WOWCON (for up to 1 month). For those on low-income, where cost is a barrier, we are self-funding 3 scholarships for the conference. Apply here.
  • If you have any access requirements, please email Emily on emily@write-mentor.com, with details on how we can help support you to access the conference.
  • Keep an eye out on our social media pages for updates and opportunities, and to connect with the WriteMentor community.

Access to the conference comes in 4 tiers where everyone gets a bit of something…

  • £12 FORCE-SENSITIVE (BASIC) ACCESS: all 6 keynotes and access to interactive community, including Saturday night party. You can add individual sessions (talks/panels/workshop) at a later date.
  • £49 PADAWN (PARTIAL) ACCESS: All keynotes and panels, plus access to interactive community, including Saturday night party. (Save £35)
  • £79 JEDI (MAJORITY) ACCESS: All keynotes, talks and panels, plus access to interactive community, including Saturday night party. (Save £53)
  • £149 JEDI-MASTER (FULL) ACCESS: All 6 keynotes, 6 talks, 6 panels, AND 6 workshops, plus access to interactive community, including Saturday night party. (Save £133)

Individual prices for panels/talks are £12 and workshops are £25, so you can use this to calculate the best plan for you to save the most money.

SPECIAL 20% DISCOUNT ON ALL ACCESS TIERS FOR HUB MEMBERS [EXCLUDING AGENT 1-2-1s]. NOT A MEMBER YET? JOIN NOW.

Agent 1-2-1s are now available to ticket holders only.

Bookings are open for individual Workshops, Panels and Talks.

Ready for WOWCON?

Advance your writing skills, gain industry insights, and join a supportive community of fellow writers by booking onto our workshops, talks, and panels below.

Keynote speeches

Hear from top children’s authors in children’s publishing, from Picture Book through to Young Adult, and publishing professionals, as they reflect on the conference theme

Believing impossible things

Rachel Bright

Rachel Bright author
Keynote description

In this uplifting, inspiring and occasionally silly talk which will walk you through a journey of well chosen words and epic pictures (and the mastery of wrestling them onto a page in a satisfying order), Rachel shares a rare glimpse into more than a decade and a half of experience as a picture book creator. Sharing her top 10 gems of advice on not only living a spectacular life of stories woven and dreams fulfiled, she also suggests finding ways to use your craft to ripple a compouding creative wave in the world, which allows others to believe – and achieve – impossible things too.

Biography

Trained in Graphics at Kingston University, followed by a Masters Degree in Printmaking at UWE, Rachel Bright’s striking illustrations and typographic style, coupled with her witty storytelling have resulted in a celebrated collection of over 30 picture books (and counting!), published by Hachette (Orchard), Harper Collins, PuffinRandomHouse, Simon & Schuster, Farrar Strauss Giroux & Walker Books. Her titles have sold well over four million copies and been translated into 46 languages.

Elevating our belief in ourselves

Serena Patel

Serena Patel author
Keynote description

Talking about how important self belief is and how it often evades us writers. So many of us feel imposter syndrome even when we are successful in our writing. I want to talk about my journey and how writing the Anisha series ultimately elevated my expectations of myself and my writing. 

Biography

Serena Patel is the author of the Anisha, Accidental Detective series which won the Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Award for Fiction. 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

It All Counts: What Makes A Writer

Ross Montgomery

Ross Montgomery author
Keynote description

What I’ve learned from working in the kidlit industry for ten years: how failures are as important as successes, how there’s no linear path to anyone’s success, and how you should never get bored of being surprised.

Biography

Ross Montgomery started writing stories as a teenager, when he should have been doing homework, and hasn’t really stopped since. He had written over twenty books for children, including The Midnight Guardians which was shortlisted for the Costa Book Award 2021 and selected as one of The Guardian’s Children’s Books of the Year. He lives in London with his girlfriend and their cat, called Fun Bobby.

Mapping the boundary

Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Kiran Milwood Hargreave author WriteMentor WOWCON
Keynote description

Exploring where the boundaries are, when they can be crossed, and where they must be demolished. Encompassing ideas about language, genre, content and theme, Kiran will extoll the virtues of following your nose and trusting your instincts – and above all writing to be read by children of all kinds.

Biography

Sunday Times-bestselling author Kiran Millwood Hargrave has written eight books for children, young adults, and adults. Her stories have won or been short/long-listed for every major UK prize, translated into over thirty languages, and optioned for stage and screen. Her latest kids book, Julia and the Shark, was a collaboration with her husband, the artist Tom de Freston, and won the Waterstones Gift of the Year 2021.

Why storytelling is my activism

Jasmine Richards

Jasmine Richards author WriteMentor WOWCON
Keynote description

Culture can combat or confirm bias in society. Storymix uses its storytelling to insist on a new narrative — one where children of colour get to be children and are not adultfied. We create stories where kids of colour get to be soft and silly, get to exist in joyful places and are at the centre of the narrative rather than on the margins.

Biography

Jasmine Richards has worked in children’s publishing for over 15 years and written over a dozen books for children, ranging from picture books to teen fiction. Her most recent books are Lucas Dives Deep, and the Aziza’s Secret Fairy Door series, which she has co-written with Tọlá Okogwu, under the pen name Lola Morayo. She features in the Happy Here anthology and her new novel, The Unmorrow Curse, comes out in May 2022. She is also the series creator of Granny Jinks and Future Hero. She is also a screenwriter on PJ Masks. Jasmine is the founder of Storymix, a children’s book incubator with a social purpose. Storymix focuses on putting children of colour front and centre in stories with inclusive casts of characters, through its creative projects. She is always seeking to work with new voices to offer an apprenticeship for minoritized writers and illustrators and create a pathway to being published.

Raise every voice

Aimée Felone

Aimee Felone WriteMentor WOWCON
Keynote description

As an industry we’re constantly trying to “do better” and “uplift” diverse voices – but what does true, inclusive elevation look like for the generations to come and for our readers of tomorrow?

Biography

Aimée Felone is Managing Director of Knights Of, winner of Children’s Publisher of the Year at the British Book Awards 2022. She founded and runs the multi award-winning inclusive publisher, and is focused on bringing underrepresented voices to the forefront of commercial children’s publishing. With a team led by women of colour, and an unwavering focus on their intended readership for each book, Knights Of works to engage with gatekeepers across the industry, including booksellers, teachers and librarians, and supports non-traditional community spaces with events, outreach, marketing and partnerships.

Workshops

Practice and develop your craft in a supportive, interactive environment with our two-hour live writing workshops

Creating characters

Jennifer Killick

Jennifer Killick author WriteMentor WOWCON
Workshop description

Jennifer Killick guides you through creating all-important characters, from finding a starting point to developing them into fully formed people that we know inside out, using some of her characters as examples.

Biography

Jennifer Killick is the author of Dread Wood, Crater Lake, Crater Lake Evolution, and the Alex Sparrow series. Jennifer regularly visits schools and festivals, and her books have been selected four times for the Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge. She lives in Uxbridge, in a house full of children, animals and books. When she isn’t busy mothering or step-mothering (which isn’t often) she loves to watch scary movies and run as fast as she can, so she is fully prepared for witches, demons, and the zombie apocalypse.

Plot a novel in 2 hours

Jonathan Eyres

Jonathan Eyres author WriteMentor WOWCON
Workshop description

Plot is a verb, and whether you’re planning a first draft or about to rewrite an earlier one, this two-hour workshop will look at all the key steps you need to work through, from character arcs to subverting reader expectations, and writing the perfect ending.

Biography

Jonathan Eyers is a commissioning editor at Bloomsbury Publishing. He is the author of five books of non-fiction and fiction, plus a ghostwriter and contributor to others. He edits and mentors writers of all levels through the Cornerstones Literary Consultancy and WriteMentor.

World-building

Ben Oliver

Ben Oliver author WriteMentor WOWCON
Workshop description

With author Ben Oliver, dive deep into the process of visualising the world in which your story will take place. How much detail should go in? How much history should you know? How do you bring it all to life in a realistic way?

Biography

Ben Oliver began writing creatively at age seven, and was promptly placed into the lowest reading and writing group at school. Frustrated by his lack of immediate success, Ben chose to step-down from the world of writing.

Three years later, he came out of retirement to write a What I Did During My Summer Holiday assignment, where he claimed he saved the world from the apocalypse. Encouraged by an enthusiastic teacher, Ben returned, triumphantly, to writing.

A mere twenty-two years later, and now a high school English teacher, Ben’s first novel, The Loop, was published in 2020.

Editing

Simran Sandhu

Sim Sandhu editor WriteMentor WOWCON
Workshop description

Editing is a crucial skill for writers to master but approaching your own manuscript can seem daunting. This workshop will break down the editing process and equip writers with the tools they need to make their writing sparkle. Ideal for writers at any stage of the writing process.

Biography

Simran Sandhu is an Editor at Macmillan Children’s Books focusing on Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction and Poetry. During her 5 year career at MCB she’s worked on a wide range of genres but for YA her absolute favourites are fantasy and coming-of-age romance, and for MG she’s obsessed with laugh-out-loud commercial adventures.

Write a Picture Book

Amy Sparkes

Amy Sparkes author WriteMentor WOWCON
Workshop description

Want to pen a picture book but don’t know where to start? Stuck for ideas and need that push to put pen to paper? Join author Amy Sparkes and write a picture book in 2 hours.

Biography

Amy Sparkes is a bestselling author for children of all ages. She has written over 20 books for children, including The House At The Edge of Magic series, the Pirate Blunderbeard series, and many picture books, including a series for BBC’s The Repair Shop.  Amy has been nicknamed The Story Godmother and is passionate about helping emerging writers.

Voice

Kesia Lupo

Kesia Lupo author Chicken House editor WriteMentor WOWCON
Workshop description

Whether you’re writing middle-grade or Young Adult, contemporary or fantasy, voice is incredibly important in hooking agents, editors and ultimately readers. But what exactly is voice, why is it so important and how can you nurture yours? Using examples from Kesia’s editorial and writing lives, she will help explore her take on voice and guide you through a few key exercises. For the last half an hour, she will open up to Q&A.

Biography

Kesia Lupo is Senior Editor at Chicken House, the boutique children’s publisher founded and run by publishing legend Barry Cunningham, where she has worked since 2015. Now, she acquires and edits Young Adult and middle-grade fiction across an eclectic range of genres, as well heading up the Times/Chicken House Competition, the largest children’s fiction competition in the UK. Authors she works with include Costa-winning magical realist author Jasbinder Bilan and bestselling fantasy writer James Nicol on the middle-grade side, and speculative fiction writers Ben Oliver, Naomi Gibson and Molly Morris for Young Adult. Kesia is also the author of two YA fantasy novels published by Bloomsbury, We Are Blood and Thunder and We Are Bound by Stars. Find her on Twitter and TikTok: @keslupo and on Instagram @kesialupoauthor

Talks

Authors and publishing professionals lead one-hour live talks on a variety of topics with advice, insights, and a Q&A

Building a Career

Vashti Hardy

Vashti Hardy author WriteMentor WOWCON
Talk description

Writing the first book can seem like an impossible milestone. But what about the next one, and the next one? Using her own work as an example, Vashti Hardy shares how authors can build long term, sustainable careers.

Biography

Vashti Hardy is a writer of children’s books spending her time between Lancashire and Sussex. 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. Now a successful children’s author, Vashti’s breathtaking middle grade fantasies are published across the world in several languages.  Wildspark won the Blue Peter Book Award ‘Best Story’ in 2020 and the FCBG Children’s Book Awards and Brightstorm was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, Books are My Bag Awards, among others.  Brightstorm was also selected for Independent Booksellers Book of the Season and both Brightstorm and WIldspark were selected as Primary School Book Club Reads.

From page to screen

Holly Race 

Holly Race author WriteMentor WOWCON
Talk description

Author and script editor Holly Race discusses the business of adapting books for the big and small screen.

Biography

Holly Race is the author of the Midnight’s Twins trilogy – a Young Adult urban fantasy set between our world and the world of dreams. She used to work in TV and film script development for companies like Red Planet Pictures, Aardman Animations and Working Title.

Picture Book publication 

Clare Helen Welsh

Clare Helen Welsh author WriteMentor WOWCON
Talk description

Follow a picture book from concept with Clare Helen Welsh, through various drafts pre-and post-agent. Find out what can happen in the run up to acquisitions and after, comparing initial drafts to published texts – a behind the scenes look at the process people don’t usually see. 

Biography

Clare Helen Welsh is a former primary school teacher and mental health champion, turned children’s writer. She is delighted that her books mean she can continue to inspire children to love language, themselves and the world around them. Clare’s picture book publishers include Little Tiger Press, Quarto, Pan Macmillan, Andersen Press and Nosy Crow. Clare also writes early readers for Ladybird, Schofield and Sims, Collins Big Cat and Maverick Books. When Clare isn’t fulfilling her dream of writing for children, she is helping aspiring writers do the same. Clare was WriteMentor Writer-in-Residence for Picture books in 2021 and is a WriteMentor course tutor and mentor.

Discussion between author and agent

Benjamin Dean & Chloe Seager

Benjamin Dean author Chloe Seager agent WriteMentor WOWCON
Talk description

Take part in a discussion on the inspiration behind Benjamin Dean’s children’s and Young Adult titles, the process of writing and getting published, and the author/agent relationship.

Biography

Benjamin Dean is the author of middle-grade novels Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow and The Secret Sunshine Project. He was recently shortlisted for both the Branford Boase Award and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. With his latest title, The King Is Dead, he crossed over into the YA market.

Chloe Seager joined the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency in 2019 from Northbank Talent where she spent four years building a children’s and YA list from scratch. As well as the wonderful Benjamin Dean, she represents Carnegie nominated author Emily Critchley, and the 2022 Jhalak Children’s and Young Adult Prize winner Maisie Chan.

Working as co-authors (mother & daughter)

Perdita & Honor Cargill 

Perdita and Honor Cargill author WriteMentor WOWCON
Talk description

A frank chat about the benefits and the challenges of a daughter and mother writing children’s books together. Not just the process involved in two people (mostly in different places) writing one book in one voice but also the advantages of sharing the ups and downs of publishing.

Biography

Honor Cargill began writing when she was about sixteen, co-authoring the funny teen series, Waiting for Callback (Simon & Schuster). Honor read Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at Oxford and is now studying for a masters in the History of Art. She enjoys researching party scenes and also writes non-fiction history.

Perdita Cargill spent years working as a commercial barrister before she finally turned to writing. Bizarrely for a pessimistic Scot, she loves to write funny books. She is the co-author with Honor Cargill of the Waiting for Callback series (Simon & Schuster) and lives in London.

How words and pictures come together

Catherine Emmett & David Tazzyman 

Catherine Emmett David Tazzyman author WriteMentor WOWCON
Talk description

Author Catherine Emmett and illustrator David Tazzyman share the process of how a picture book goes from being a text document into being a fully illustrated book, using their picture book The Pet as an example.

Biography

Catherine Emmett grew up in Newcastle and spent all of her childhood reading books. Then she spent 14 years in London making spreadsheets and not reading any books at all. After advising a group of young girls to find a career that they loved, she decided to take her own advice. She packed up her husband and her three young boys, moved to rural Essex and started to write picture books. She now spends her days surrounded by words, animals and noisy boys.

David Tazzyman is an internationally acclaimed award-winning illustrator. Born & raised in Leicester, David wanted to be an artist since the age of 5. He graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University 1993 and then travelled around Asia with sketchbooks for 3 years before moving to London in 1997. He worked as a commercial illustrator (clients including Cream, Vodafone, Orange, Natwest, Fiat, Levi’s, Virgin Atlantic, We Love) before falling into children’s publishing in 2006, illustrating Andy Stanton’s Mr Gum series which went on to win numerous awards including the first Roald Dahl Funny Prize in 2008. Now David mainly illustrates children’s picture and fiction books and lives in Leicestershire with his partner and 3 children. David likes drawing a lot. He also likes football, cricket, golf and biscuits. He still does not like celery (although he does concede it helps the flavour of a bolognaise sauce).

Panels

Access our pre-recorded panels during and beyond the WOWCON weekend to watch authors and industry professionals debate current topics and analyse your writing

Saving the world!

Writing about the natural world and the cost of human impact from authors who inspire change for our planet

WriteMentor environment panel
Meet the panellists

Piers Torday began his career in theatre and then television as a producer and writer. His first book for children, The Last Wild, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Award and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal. His second book, The Dark Wild, won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. There May Be A Castle was a People’s Book Award finalist and a Times Children’s Book of the Year. The Lost Magician was a Book of the Year in six national newspapers and won the Teach Primary Book Award. The follow up, The Frozen Sea, was published in 2019 and was an iPaper Children’s Book of the Year. A prequel to The Last Wild Trilogy, The Wild Before, published in August 2021. Piers has also completed an unfinished novel by his late father Paul (author of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, The Death of an Owl) and adapted The Box of Delights and A Christmas Carol for the stage.

Hannah Gold grew up in a family where books, animals, and the beauty of the outside world were ever present, and is now passionate about writing stories that share her love of the planet. The Last Bear, her middle grade debut, became an instant classic and international bestseller upon release in 2021. It won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the Blue Peter Book Awards and was shortlisted for the British Book Awards, the Indie Book Awards and was also nominated for the Carnegie Medal.The Lost Whale is Hannah’s second middle-grade novel which tells an incredible story about the connection between a boy and a whale and the bond that sets them both free. Both novels are illustrated by renowned artist Levi Pinfold and published by HarperCollins Children’s Books. She lives in the UK with her tortoise, her cat and her husband. 

Nicola Penfold was born in Billinge and grew up in Doncaster. She studied English Literature at Cambridge University. Nicola has worked in a reference library and for a health charity, but being a writer was always the job she wanted most. Nicola writes ecological adventure stories for Little Tiger for 9+. Her debut novel Where the World Turns Wild was chosen as a Future Classic for the BookTrust School Library Pack and shortlisted for several regional awards. Nicola writes in the coffee shops and green spaces of North London, where she lives with her husband, children and cats, and escapes when she can to wilder corners of the UK for adventures.  

[Chair] Alexandra Sheppard is a children’s author from London, UK. Her debut YA novel ‘Oh My Gods’ was published by Scholastic and featured in Buzzfeed, Refinery29 and The Guardian’s Summer Reading List. It was also shortlisted for the Bristol Teen Book Award 2019. Her short story was featured in the 2021 Knights Of anthology ‘Happy Here’ and her debut middle-grade novel is coming soon. 

Submissions pile

Analysing the submissions pile from an agent’s perspective: what works and what doesn’t work.

WriteMentor agent panel
Meet the panellists

Clare Wallace 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.  The clients Clare represents include Perdita & Honor Cargill, Caroline Crowe, Tom Ellen, Martyn Ford, Stewart Foster, A M Howell, Polly Ho-Yen, Rachel Ip, Beth Reekles, J.P. Rose, Lindsay Galvin, Dave Rudden, Deirdre Sullivan and Efua Traoré.

Lucy Irvine is an Agent, working primarily on PFD’s children’s list. After graduating from University College London with an MA in Issues in Modern Culture in 2017, she interned at Agora Books, PFD’s publishing arm, before becoming assistant to CEO Caroline Michel. She began building her own list in 2019 and was promoted to Agent in June 2021. She is looking for commercial Middle Grade and YA and is drawn to narratives driven by world building; quick-paced, addictive, and adventurous, with returnable series potential. 

Megan Carroll graduated from Goldsmiths with a BA in English and American Literature in 2013 and worked as an intern at Watson, Little and Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency before returning to the agency as the assistant in July 2014. She is now a Literary Agent and is building her own list.

Aisha Bushby was born in Bahrain and have lived in Kuwait, England and Canada. The first novel she ever worked on was a piece of fan fiction, based on her favourite book series, which she stayed up all night to work on when she was thirteen. She now writes children’s books, sometimes with a little bit of magic in them. 

Show me the real author

Revealing the behind-the-scenes, day-to-day life of an author – the highs, the lows, and everything in between

WriteMentor author life pa
Meet the panellists

Jenny Pearson is the author of the LOLLIES award winning book, The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates, The Incredible Record Smashers and Grandpa Frank’s Great Big Bucket List. She also co-authored Tuchus and Topps Investigate the Underpants of Chaos with Sam Copeland 

Patrice Lawrence has won many prizes including the YA Prize, the Waterstones Prize for Older Children’s Fiction, the Crimefest YA Prize twice and the inaugural Jhalak Prize for Children and Young People. The Elemental Detectives, her Georgian fantasy middle grade is published in September 2022. She is an ambassador for the creative writing charity First Story.

Phil Earle is slightly obsessive about children’s fiction, so it isn’t a surprise that he decided to try and write some himself. His debut novel, Being Billy, was nominated for a dozen awards, including the Carnegie Medal and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. He lives with his family in London, writes on the bus and has no plans to write a novel for adults, although he might read one. One day.

[Chair] A.M. Dassu is the internationally acclaimed author of Boy, Everywhere, which has been listed for 25 awards, including the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the Carnegie Medal, is the 2021 winner of The Little Rebels Award for Radical Fiction and is also an American Library Association Notable Book. She is a director at Inclusive Minds, which is an organisation for people who are passionate about inclusion, diversity, equality and accessibility in children’s literature, and one of The National Literacy Trust’s Connecting Stories campaign authors, aiming to help inspire a love of reading and writing in children and young people. A. M. Dassu grew up in the Midlands dreaming of becoming a writer but studied economics instead and worked in marketing and project management before realising her dream. She writes books that challenge stereotypes, humanise the “other” and are full of empathy, hope and heart. Her latest novel, Fight Back is out now. You can also find her on Twitter @a_reflective or Instagram @a.m.dassu.

A little help from my friends

Understanding the importance of finding and forging a writing community for both personal and professional support

WriteMentor younger readers panel
Meet the panellists

Cynthia Murphy is a YA writer from the North-West of England. She has a long-standing love affair with all things scary, reading Point Horrors at primary school before graduating to Stephen King in her misguided teens. Classic 90s and 00s horror movies are definitely her pub quiz strong point and her first love may well have been Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Studying for a degree in Art History and Archaeology meant that she developed a thirst for anything old, beautiful and very often dead. She tries to combine this with contemporary settings in her writing to make unique and chilling modern stories. Cynthia is married to her best friend and they are ruled by a Romanian rescue dog called Loli.

Naomi Gibson was born in 1988 and grew up in Cheshire, UK. Her childhood was spent with her nose in a book and her hands on a sketchpad, constantly in search of adventure and new worlds. Encouraged by her family to be creative, she developed a love for writing at a young age – something that never left her. She studied Art History at the University of Manchester. Whilst there, she met her husband, someone who continues to tell her all about the latest advancements in AI, space, and consumer technology, even when she’s not listening. Every Line Of You is her first novel, and proof she does in fact listen to her husband.

Georgia Bowers lives in Bedford, a small market town in England. When she got to the age where she had to decide what to do with her life, she was obsessed with two things: books and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It seemed sensible to follow in the brogued footsteps of Rupert Giles, so she became a librarian, though sadly not the demon fighting kind. But there’s still time. Ever since her mum told her that witches used to meet in the woods near their village she has been obsessed with witchcraft and the paranormal. When she was a teenager, a weekly habit of Point Horrors satisfied her thirst for chilling tales before she moved on to reading Stephen King. These days she likes to give her nerves a break every now and then with a good YA romance. After completing a course in writing YA fiction she was a winner in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Undiscovered Voices. Since then she has dabbled with stories of chosen ones and ghostly best friends until she conjured up the magical ingredients for her debut novel, Mark of the Wicked.

[Chair] Melissa Welliver is a speculative Young Adult author represented by Lucy Irvine at Peters, Fraser & Dunlop. Her debut novel, The Undying Tower, was published by Agora Books  in October 2021. Melissa has been a mentor for the last three years since WriteMentor’s inception. Apart from writing, she works as a freelance editor and has several testimonials on her website.

Writing for younger readers

Authors share everything you need to know about engaging a young audience in your stories, including tips and tricks

Meet the panellists

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 book series Scarlet and Ivy and The Violet Veil Mysteries are published by HarperCollins worldwide, as well as being translated into 7 different languages so far.

Emma Read is the author of the Milton the Mighty books, published by Chicken House.  She is also a big fan of the side hustle, being a long-serving member of WriteMentor, as well as a tutor with Creative Writing Ink, a freelance novel editor, as EmDashED, and owner of StorySpinners – a creative writing club for 7 to 11-year-olds.

Emma Finlayson-Palmer lives in the West Midlands with her husband and a multitude of children, cats and chickens! She an author, artist and illustrator. She runs #ukteenchat, a writing themed chat on Twitter; mentors for #WriteMentor and is one half of Word Witches, an editing and mentoring business. Emma’s first book for 5-8 year old readers, Autumn Moonbeam: Dance Magic, is published by UCLan.

[Chair] Emily Randall has worked as a touring actor, an historical interpreter at Hampton Court and for the National Trust, creating events, exhibitions and interpretation. She writes haunting middle-grade mysteries and has won both the Mslexia Children’s Novel and YA competition and the Times/Chicken House Competition. She’s represented by Lucy Irvine at Peters, Fraser & Dunlop and her debut novel will be published in spring 2023. When she’s not writing, she’s busy raising two young children. On days off she can be found near the sea, at the pub or eating cake. Or all three. 

Introducing WriteMentor’s Hub

Wanting to join a writing community? Hear from writers about the WriteMentor Community Learning Hub

WriteMentor Hub panel
Meet the panellists

Sarah Daniels is a former archaeologist who escaped academia and now writes stories from her home in rural Lincolnshire. The Stranded is the first book in a duology.

Rachael Davis is a mixed-raced British-Black Caribbean children’s author and book reviewer. She writes for children of all ages, both fiction and non-fiction, and is passionate about showcasing diversity, mental wellness and the links between science and art. Her debut picture book, I Am Not a Prince (Hachette, January 2022), is a twisted fairy tale challenging gender stereotypes, illustrated by Beatrix Hatcher. Her debut non-fiction, A Mind Like Mine, breaks down mental health stigma and is publishing on 5th July 2022 with Quarto, illustrated by Islenia Mil. She is also working on titles with Flying Eye Books, Scholastic, Hodder, HarperCollins and a fantasy chapter book series via Storymix. Rachael is a picture book mentor for WriteMentor.

Katina Wright is a disabled writer and mum who deals with chronic health conditions by using writing and creativity. Imagination is her refuge from reality and a doorway to places where nothing is impossible. She’s explored and shared this idea through music, theatre, jewellery design, running children’s creative writing projects and writing. Believing it’s important for all readers to see themselves in books – her focus is on writing stories where disabled heroes and protagonists with chronic health conditions lead the adventures. Writing MG and YA books, articles, poems and short fiction, Katina’s an active member of SCWBI and Write Mentor. Having found them an invaluable support and joy, her constant advice to new writers is to join a writing community. Along with a few competition successes and published articles, Katina was a WriteMentor Mentee in 2018. Glitter, laughter and kindness are three of her favourite life hacks. 

[Chair] Melissa Welliver is a speculative Young Adult author represented by Lucy Irvine at Peters, Fraser & Dunlop. Her debut novel, The Undying Tower, was published by Agora Books  in October 2021. Melissa has been a mentor for the last three years since WriteMentor’s inception. Apart from writing, she works as a freelance editor and has several testimonials on her website.

Timetable (all times are BST)

Please note all keynotes and panels are pre-recorded and can be viewed any time after they are put up on the conference page (for up to 30 days after the conference). Therefore you do not need to be present live for these sessions.

The Workshops and Talks are both LIVE sessions, but again if you can’t attend live, a recording will be available for 30 days after.

You can book individual sessions (though we do recommend the package tickets which are at the top) here.

DAYTIMEKeynotesWorkshopsTalksPanels
Friday 23rd September4-5pmOpening Remarks/
Introduction
5-6pmKiran Millwood Hargrave
6-8pmAmy Sparkes
7-8pmSaving the World!
8-9pmChloe Seager &
Benjamin Dean
Saturday 24th September9-10amRachel BrightVashti HardyWriting for
younger readers
10-12Kesia Lupo
12-1pmAimée Felone
1-3pmSimran Sandhu
3-4pmClare Helen Welsh
4-5pmRoss Montgomery
5-6pmBen OliverSubmissions Pile
6-7pm
7-8pmPerdita and
Honor Cargill
Show me the
real author
Sunday 25th September9-10amCatherine Emmett
10-12Jonathan EyersIntroducing
WriteMentor’s Hub
12-1pmJasmine Richards
1-3pmJennifer Killick
3-4pmHolly RaceA little help
from my friends
4-5pmSerena Patel
5-6pmClosing Remarks/
Goodbyes

Why writers love WOWCON…

“WOWCON is an amazing conference. I’m so incredibly grateful that so many writers gave their time and experience to help others in this way. It’s invaluable to be able to access all of this knowledge from the comfort of your own living room while still wearing your pyjamas! What a fantastic weekend of writerly goodness.”

Julie Marney Leigh

“WOWCON was like a fabulous feast – an all you can eat writers’ buffet – and there was so much I’m still going back for more. What’s more, it was delivered to each of our doors and yet we could eat together – all of us, sharing and chatting like one big family!”

Tricia Gilbey

“WOWCON was a writer’s paradise; a weekend of access to some of the best, sharpest, funniest writers for children. The agent 1:1s were a wonderful opportunity, and their encouragement and feedback was so helpful!”

Frances Tosdevin 

“Can’t praise WOWCON enough! Well organised, fabulous speakers/ workshops and superb value for money. WOWCON is totally inclusive – it reaches out to everyone, gives generously and leaves you totally motivated to continue your writing journey, whatever stage you’re at.”

SJ Hopwood

“The best value for money conference in the country, with all the perks of a usual writers’ conference: agent 1-2-1s, talks by industry experts, workshops and writers’ tips – but without the hassle and expense of travelling anywhere!”

Lydia Massiah

“Many people in the writing community face barriers to attending large writing conferences. WOWCON was designed with everyone in mind, and it created a fantastic virtual space for writers to network.”

Louise

“WOWCON offered a fantastic opportunity to interact with other writers, learn from experts, and gain feedback on my work from agents and published writers. All this, from my home. This was the most accessible conference I have attended.”

Julie

“I live in a rural community, separated from the rest of the UK by an expensive stretch of water. For me, WOWCON was a chance to take part in a high quality writing conference without breaking the bank.”

Anna Britton

“WOWCON far surpassed expectations, and the expectations were already high! As a working class single mother, I’m not able to attend many conferences without either financial help or help with childcare. WOWCON levelled the playing field to make all the events affordable and accessible, and I was able to attend workshops and talks at my own leisure while simultaneously looking after my child.”

Jenny Shippen

“WOWCON has been the most amazing weekend. There has been a wealth of information, inspiration and new ideas coming from all angles. As someone who lives in Scotland, works and has 3 kids, heading down south for conferences aren’t always doable. This was perfect in your own home, own comfort zone and no travelling. It didn’t mean there wasn’t friendships made and new people met, I met and connected with several likeminded writers. Now, if only I’d booked them all.”

Susan Mann

“If you want to learn how to write with more insight & skill, at speed, from the luxury of your own living room (or bedroom) then WriteMentor WOWCON is the conference for you. This is a writing conference that celebrates the best of what technology has to offer by joining writers and sharing knowledge. It’s quite simply a force for good and a force for change in opening up the access to ALL writers within the children’s writing community. Bravo Stuart and to all who have contributed to making this groundbreaking conference.”

Natasha Holmes

Join us for a jam-packed writing weekend

Choose your workshops, talks and panels to access WOWCON weekend.

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