WOWCON: online writing conference for writers of children's fiction25th-27th September 2020
WOWCON, WriteMentor’s annual writing conference, brings together our supportive community for a weekend of expert talks, interactive workshops, panels, a pitching event, and agent 1-2-1s.
WOWCON is proud to be both affordable and accessible. A ticket to our conference welcomes you into a friendly, supportive, and inclusive space where you can improve your craft, network with experts, mingle with like-minded writers, and feel part of a wider community – all from the comfort of your own home.
The theme for this year’s conference is VOICE.
Read below to find out more about our keynote talks, workshops, panels, 1-2-1 agent pitches and #WMPITCH, as well as our scholarship opportunities, and keep updated via our social media pages and #WOWCON2020.
Includes 3 Keynotes and 1 panel
Each lasts 1 hour, timetable below
Agents panel included with general ticket
15 minute Skype call on 10 pages or Picture Book text
Enjoy three one-hour keynote speeches as part of your WOWCON ticket. Leading, award-winning authors interpret the WOWCON 2020 theme of VOICE, drawing on their own perspectives, experiences and writing expertise. The speeches are pre-recorded, which means they are available at any time and to watch again and again (for 1 week after WOWCON).
How do you create a realistic character, a strong narrative voice, a believable world? What’s a synopsis? How can you edit a manuscript? What’s it like to work with agents? From Picture Book to Young Adult fiction, our interactive workshops, led by published authors, give you accessible and affordable craft advice and industry insights. A chance to learn from experts, take part in fun, inclusive writing activities, and connect with a community of writers.
Emma Read | Oh no! I need a Synopsis??
Spoilers? 1 or 2 pages? Sub-plots? No wonder it’s called the Dreaded Synopsis. Love or hate them, we need them. You think once you’ve signed with your dream agent the nightmare will be over, but no! There will be more synopses. I’m here to help!
Emma is the author of Milton the Mighty, one of The Times Best Children’s Books. She is a WriteMentor mentor, workshop leader and reader for WMCNA and Bath Children’s Novel Award.
Yasmin Rahman | Creating Distinct and Rich Voices in YA
How do you write multiple perspectives? Learn how to create distinct and rich voices for your characters.
Yasmin is a British Muslim with a Carnegie-nominated debut ‘All The Things We Never Said’. She has an MA in Creative Writing and in Writing for Young People, and also makes bookish fan art. Her designs are sold worldwide on behalf of John Green.
Jenny Pearson | Story Climax
Learn to be a ‘closer’ and discover the tricks to writing a story climax that delights your readers.
Jenny is the author of The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates published by Usborne this year following a major 8-way auction. It has already been sold in 18 languages and was Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month. She is represented by Sam Copeland of RCW Literary Agency.
Jasmine Richards | The Title is Where Your Heart is
Discuss the importance of your title and why working out what the real heart of your story is will make coming up with your title so much easier.
Jasmine is an author, writing coach and founder of Storymix, a book incubator of inclusive stories. She has over 15 years’ experience in commissioning and editing fiction including roles at Hamish Hamilton, Puffin, and Dutton Books.
Danielle Jawando | Creating Contemporary Young Adult Characters
An interactive workshop exploring how to create compelling, three-dimensional characters that leap off the page.
Danielle is a writer and Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Danielle’s first nonfiction book for children (about the life of Maya Angelou) was published by Laurence King in 2019.
Her debut Young Adult novel And The Stars Were Burning Brightly was published by Simon & Schuster this year.
Vashti Hardy | Get To The Heart Of Your Novel
Discover practical ways to get to the heart of your story, from initial concept to polished draft. Writers juggle many threads, so you’ll consider ways to articulate what lies at the core of your idea and to tease out its uniqueness.
Vashti’s breathtaking Middle Grades 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.
Tita Berredo | Making picture-books – the visual storytelling
Find out about the role of the illustration and its balance with the text when bringing a picture book to life. Learn about perspective, composition, characters, and all you need to create a truly engaging visual story.
Tita is a children’s writer and illustrator born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She has a Master’s degree in Children’s Literature and Illustration from Goldsmiths University of London. Tita works as a freelance illustrator in Glasgow, and she leads her own children’s writing and illustration workshops across the country.
Emma Smith-Barton | The Road to Publication
Whether you’re a beginner writer or polishing your draft for agents, learn what makes a stand out submission. Look at aspects of craft, from voice and characterisation to editing, to get your novel the best chance of publication.
Emma was born in South Wales to Pakistani parents. Her first novel for young adults, The Million Pieces of Neena Gill, was shortlisted for this year’s Waterstones Children’s Book Prize; Branford Boase Award; and Romantic Novelists’ Association Debut Romantic Novel.
Selom Sunu | Drawing for fun
Talking about the importance of enjoying the drawing process.
A British-born Illustrator of Ghanaian heritage, Selom has in the publishing industry for about a year and a half. So far he has illustrated five covers for Jason Reynolds including Ghost.
His drawings also feature in Penguin book The Puffin Book of Big Dreams publishing in September 2020.
A devout Christian, Selom lives in London with his wife and daughter (a toddler).
From writing a book to seeking agent representation to releasing your debut, hear from leading agents, editors, and authors about different stages of the publishing process. Panels are pre-recorded and participants will have the opportunity to submit questions for our panellists beforehand.
AGENT PANELAgents share advice on the submission process and how to stand out from the crowd. Panellists: Chloe Seager (Madeleine Milburn), Christabel McKinley (David Higham Associates), and Clare Wallace (Darley Anderson) Moderator: Florianne Humphrey (Chief Editor of WriteMentor Magazine)
An editor, author, and agent discuss the opening pages of manuscripts from their position in publishing.
Panellists: Asmaa Isse (Assistant Editor, Penguin Random House Children’s), Dave Rudden (Middle Grade author, Puffin), Lydia Silver (Agent, Darley Anderson)
Moderator: A.M. Dassu (Middle Grade Author, TU Books)
PICTURE BOOKSAsk questions about publishing, the submission process and the author-agent-editor relationship. Panellists: Alice Williams (Agent, Alice Williams Literary), and Ellie Farmer (Senior Editor, Little Tiger Press) Moderator: Clare Helen Welsh (Picture Book author, Little Tiger Press, Quarto, Andersen)
DEBUTSChildren’s authors share the highs and lows of publishing their first book. Panellists: Jenni Spangler (Middle Grade author, Simon & Schuster), Kathryn Foxfield (Young Adult author, Scholastic), Nizrana Farook (Middle Grade author, Nosy Crow) Moderator: Jenny Pearson (Middle Grade author, Usborne)
Agent/Editor 1-2-1 sessions
Pitch your manuscript to a leading literary agent during a 15 minute one-to-one session. After sending 10 pages of manuscript in advance for your chosen agent to read, this will form the basis of your discussion during the session, with a chance to ask questions and receive feedback.
PLEASE CHECK that the agent is doing your age category before booking the slot; the day of the slot, as there is a large variation; and the time zones, as some agents are based in the USA. More information can be founded via our ‘read more’ page and by clicking on the agent’ names below.
Lina Langlee | The North (MG, YA)
Anne Clark | Anne Clark Literary Agency (PB, MG, YA)
Lydia Silver | Darley Anderson (PB, MG, YA)
Amber Caraveo | Skylark Literary (MG, YA)
Joanna Moult | Skylark Literary (MG, YA)
Kat Kerr | Donald Maass Literary Agency (YA)
Rachel Mann | Jo Unwin Literary Agency (MG, YA)
Catherine Pellegrino | Marjacq (MG, YA)
Lynnette Novak | The Seymour Agency (MG, YA)
Becky Bagnell | Lindsay Literary Agency (MG, YA)
Christabel McKinley | David Higham Associates (PB, MG, YA)
Zoë Plant | The Bent Agency (MG, YA)
- BAME writers
- disabled/chronically ill writers
- low-income/unemployed writers
- trans writers
- OPEN scholarship for any underrepresented writers (we want to ensure that we don’t leave anyone out, so use this one if you’re not represented in the four specific ones above)
Last year we got lots of offers from individuals to sponsor tickets and this year, we wanted to formalise this. If you’d like to support another writer to attend, you can make a small donation via the link below. This will go to towards the OPEN scholarship and if we exceed the £60 we will make a second place available for those who apply for the OPEN scholarship.
Scholarship applications are NOW OPEN.
We will close the application form at the end of July, and contact those who are successful in August.
PLEASE NOTE: It should be noted that you can apply to more than one scholarship, should you fall into more than one of these groups. However, application should only be from those writers who would otherwise be unable to attend the conference. Eligibility is down the writer themselves, and we do not require any disclosure of personal information.
Do I need to buy a general ticket to attend?
Online, via Slack. It’s a very intuative platform, which we used to some success last year. We are, of course, looking to improve all aspects of that for this year.
If unsure about Slack, we’d suggest watching a tutorial in advance on YouTube.
We will also invite all attendees to the Slack platform a few days in advance, to allow you time to get to grips with it before the weekend of the conference. This also worked well last year.
Can tickets sell out?
Yes, our 1-2-1s (8 max) and workshops (20 max) have limited numbers, so you’ll need to be quick to ensure a place for those.
If you are applying for a schoalrship, we will reserve 1-2-1s and workshop spaces for those who are successful.
Is the whole conference live?
Workshops and 1-2-1s are live. The keynotes and panels will be pre-recorded. This worked well last year and means less issues with tech on all fronts. It also means you can watch those at your pleasure across the weekend, if you’re unavailable during the first showing.
Will the material be available after the conference weekend?
WOWCON has given me the chance to meet like-minded people and learn from some of the best in the business, which I never normally get the chance of due to various reasons. The fact it’s all online, and you can get so many speakers and new friends for £10, is mind-blowing. Stuart has gone above and beyond to make it the best experience for those attending. Much like a rocker with a festival, I’m already queuing for WOWCON 2020 tickets!
There has been a wealth of information, inspiration and new ideas coming from all angles. As someone who lives in Scotland, works and has three kids, heading down south for conferences aren’t always doable. This was perfect in your own home and 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 M
WOWCON has showcased for me how inspirational and hugely supportive the writing community can be. I’ve learnt so much and enjoyed every minute.
It felt like a particularly friendly and inclusive space, with so much information and encouragement from all involved. There’s genuinely something for everyone.
WOWCON brought so many people and ideas together in one place in such an accessible format. I loved how supportive everyone was too – at every level.