Posts Tagged ‘Children’s Poetry’

In my last blog I mentioned that I would be attending a couple of writers’ conferences this year in a bid to better my skills and network with other mad people who choose to write. Writing can be a lonely occupation, so any opportunity to get out there and socialise is grabbed with both hands.

York Festival of Writing was recommended by a friend and fellow author so I have decided to give it a go, be brave and get my work and face out there (scary, the face that is!).

In this blog I wanted to give other aspiring authors details about the conference and the wonderful authors/agents/publishers holding workshops and one-to-one sessions. After attending the conference, I will give honest feedback, so watch this space.

The Festival at a Glance

25-27 March, University of York, UK

A brief selection of the many agents in attendance:

Carole Blake; Agent to bestselling authors including Sheila Flanagan, Joseph O’Connor, Barbara Erskine – and author of Pitch to Publication.

Antony Topping & Judith Murray; Antony and Judith are senior agents at Greene and Heaton, and represent such big names as Sarah Waters,Marcus du Sautoy, CJ Sansom, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall & many more.

Simon Trewin (pictured): Co-head of Books at United Agents. Represents Richard Curtis, Nicci French, etc.

 

 

The Specialists / publishers

In their words;

“We’ve also invited specialist agents & publishers who know the market you are writing for. Among many others …”

John Jarrold: The best known specialist in science-fiction / fantasy / horror in the UK. If you write in this area, you HAVE to meet him

Julia Churchill (pictured): Julia is an agent devoted 100% to the children’s & Young Adult market. No one knows this market better.

(I met Julia at Winchester Writers’ Conference and found her to be warm and encouraging.)

 

Jane Holland & Lyn Vernham: Specialist publishers of women’s fiction & romance. And you don’t need an agent to get published by them either!

Philippa Pride: Philippa is Stephen King’s UK editor at Hodder, and is the person responsible for his entire range. She’s also a consultant who loves working with new writers.

 

 

Alan Mahar: Alan runs Tindal Street Press, one of Britain’s smallest but most prestigious publishers. About 25% of its entire output having won or been shortlisted for national literary awards.

Patrick Janson-Smith: As joint MD at Doubleday / Transworld, Patrick discovered authors such as Bill Bryson, Sophie Kinsella, Andy McNab, Joanna Trollope, and many more. Patrick now runs his own imprint at HarperCollins.

Nicola Morgan: Vastly successful author of YA & children’s fiction. No one knows this territory better. Nicola also hosts the successful, amazing and informative blog; Help! I need a publisher!

(I have my one-to-one appointment with Nicola, so i’m excited to receive her advice.)

http://helpineedapublisher.blogspot.com/

 

Amazing authors that are leading some of the mini courses / sessions available;

Finding Your Voice, with Debi Alper & Dr Emma Darwin – Two experienced and extraordinary authors

Getting Published, with Harry Bingham & Helen Corner – Harry Bingham in organiser of the festival (along with his small army of helpers!). Helen Corner is co-author of, Teach Yourself: How to Write a Blockbuster.

 

Kate Williams (pictured): The vastly popular historian and author of publishing sensation The Pleasures of Men.

Learn from the professionals


Learn how to plot
With Jeremy Sheldon. Novelist, screenwriter & tutor at Birkbeck College, London.

Showing not telling
With novelist Jean Fullerton. If you’re confused about what this rule means, you don’t have to be.

Breaking the Rules
With Debi Alper. You know the rules – but what if you want to break them? Debi tells you how (and how not to) proceed.

 

There are many more exciting authors / professionals listed on the website so please go and take a look.

http://www.festivalofwriting.com/

I look forward to seeing you there……….

In the words of the organisers; 

“Writing West Midlands is the Literature Development Agency for the West Midlands.”

“We focus on work to develop opportunities for writers, including supporting young writers and building audiences for writing. We exist to help good writing and literature activities flourish in the West Midlands.”

(Event held at South Birmingham College, Saturday 20th November 2010)

This was the first time that I had attended a Writers’ conference in The Midlands, though it was their third gathering; I have always had to travel further afield as I didn’t realise there was such a vast and enthusiastic pod of writers in my area (what is the name for a group of writers?? Suggestions in the comments box please). I came across the conference details purely by chance whilst reading about funding information on The Arts Council UK website; i’m so glad I did!

The event is organised by and hosted by Writing West Midlands; Jonathon Davidson, Chief Executive and Sara Beadle, Director. The day is extremely well organised and thorough, covering a wide range of topics with each Panel Session. They welcome writers of all kinds as well as publishers, agents, producers (Radio, Film and TV), teachers and literature development workers.

The Panel Session Topics were as diverse as they were informative: Writing for Broadcast, Real Writing Lives, Writing and Reading in the Mental Health Sector, Different Fictions, Understanding Publishing, Creative Writers in Schools, The Rights of Writers, Doing Digital, Writing and Science, Writing in Places, The Future of Theatre Writing, Building Audiences for Poetry, Creative Writing and Higher Education.

The speakers / panel members for each session appeared to be both enthusiastic in promoting the aspiring writer / established writer, and encouraging and forthcoming with help and advice. The question and answer sessions at the end of each panel member introduction (of which I seemed to dominate slightly) were helpful and stimulating. Not wanting to come across shy or self-promoting (ahem), I made sure that I asked any questions which I thought could potentially help others, I hope that this worked!

The keynote address: No Messages, Jim Crace, novelist, was humorous and enlightening. I am ashamed to say that I had never heard of Jim but have now ordered some of his books from Amazon!

Book Titles: Continent, The Gift of Stones, Arcadia, Signals of Distress, Quarantine, Being Dead, The Devil’s Larder, The Pesthouse.

The Closing Address: The Writer’s Smoking Jacket, Graham Joyce, author. This was an informative and concise speech by Graham and opened my eyes to many possibilities and opportunities.

Book Titles: The Devil’s Ladder, Simple Goalkeeping, Do the Creepy Thing, Memoirs of a Master Forger, The Limits of Enchantment (and many, many more!).

In conclusion, I would recommend that you look for future events held by Writing West Midlands and come and connect and socialise with “others in the business of writing”.

http://www.writingwestmidlands.org

As I get out of my Dad’s van and look into the sky, what do I see?

But a huge black and yellow furry thing, flying straight at me

Tiny lacy wings vibrating either side,

A humongous dangerous sword attached to it’s rear hide.

How does it keep that body flying through the air?

As the bumble bee gets closer, I find I do not care.

With a deafening buzzing sound filling up my ears,

My legs begin to move fast, cranking up the gears.

Running doesn’t help, the buzzing is close behind,

There’s no way i’m looking back, i’m scared of what i’ll find.

That poisonous sword, thrusting, stabbing for my rear,

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, that buzzing is so near.

Running round the nearest tree and peeking through a branch,

I find I cannot see the bee and decide to take a chance.

Hands at the ready, one on each bum cheek,

Heart pounding in my chest, thumping out each beat.

“Go!” I shout at myself, and run as fast as I can,

How long will it take me to get back to Dad’s safe van?

Breathless, hot and sweaty, with hands shielding my butt,

I charge across the green so hard I cause pains inside my gut.

Twigs and branches all around, broken on the ground,

Tripping over one of them, I land with a thwumping sound.

Buzzing close overhead is some black and yellow fur,

Not one, not twenty, but hundreds of them creating a smoke-like blur.

Not looking seems like a good idea, so I close my teary eyes,

When all of a sudden someone talks to me and takes me by surprise.

“Why are you running? And what is your name?” A tiny voice squeaks,

Opening my eyes and looking around, I find I cannot speak.

On my chest as bold as brass and the size of a small rat,

Is the cutest, fluffiest bumble bee wearing a furry high top hat.

“I’m pleased to meet you, my name’s Buz” He says with a friendly smile,

Were he not sitting on my chest, I would’ve run a mile.

“J-J-Jay” I reply, trying to be brave but quivering all over,

“Friends?” He calls as he’s taking off, waving over his shoulder.

What was I scared of? I think to myself as I stand and watch the bees,

Flying off towards their hive, high up in the trees.

K L Hansen