Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

YA-hoo! A Weekend of Young Adult

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Date(s) - 13/11/2021 - 14/11/2021
9:45 am - 3:45 pm

Zoom - virtual meeting online
Virtual - meeting , online Uk


Two virtual days of YA to liven up your imagination.


Can’t attend live?

Don’t worry – the recording will be available

to attendees for up to one month after the event.


The zoom link will be in your email confirmation! Watch out for it!





Illustrations: © Soni Speight 2021

F   U   N   D   I   N   G

A limited number of fully funded tickets are available for writers underrepresented in children’s publishing (BAME, LGBTQ+, socio-economically marginalised and writers with a disability)

We recognise all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA+, BAME, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities. We subscribe to a broad definition of disability, which includes but is not limited to physical, sensory, cognitive, intellectual, or developmental disabilities, chronic conditions, and mental illnesses (this may also include addiction).

Furthermore, we subscribe to a social model of disability, which presents disability as created by barriers in the social environment, due to lack of equal access, stereotyping, and other forms of marginalisation.

Application deadline: 29th October 2021
Successful applicants will be contacted by 6th November 2021





0945 ~ 1000



Saturday 13th November

WELCOME to our virtual YA conference!

Your hosts Debbie Edwards, Holly Butcher and Georgina Lippiett will welcome you to the weekend and wish you well with your creative journeys. Also, this is a good chance to test your “media stuff” to make sure the event will meet your needs.

1000 ~ 1100 Malorie Blackman Keynote
Malorie Blackman, prolific author, former Children’s Laureate and National Treasure, will be discussing her enduring love affair with YA. Grab some tea and toast (or other breakfast items) and join us!
1100 ~ 1115 Comfort Break
Grab a cuppa, some water, cake, stay and chat, whatever…
1115 ~ 1215 All About Character with Bryony Pearce

Bryony Pearce, award-winning writer of multiple YA novels as well as adult fiction and sci-fi, will be talking to us about creating and sustaining our characters. How do we make sure they feel like individuals in their own right but are also woven into the very fabric of your novel? And what are the key elements that make a successful YA character? Join us to find out.

1215 ~ 1315 Lunch time
Fill your boots (creative fuel tanks) with your preferred delights.
1315 ~ 1415 Agents Panel with Becky Bagnell and Catherine Pellegrino

Join Agents Becky Bagnell from the Lindsay Literary Agency, and Catherine Pellegrino from Marjacq, to hear them discuss what’s acceptable in Teen and Young Adult literature! They will cover general topics of acceptability on the theme, tone, and content and chat about the YA landscape in the UK publishing market.

1415 ~ 1430 Comfort Break 

Stretch your legs and put the kettle on.

1430 ~ 1530 Debut panel with KL Kettle, Cynthia Murphy, Attiya Khan and Julia Tuffs
Bringing out your first novel is hard enough, bringing it out in 2021 is quite another thing. Join our debut authors, K L Kettle – ‘The Boy I Am,’ Cynthia Murphy – ‘Last One to Die,’ Attiya Khan – ‘Ten Steps to Us’ and Julia Tuffs – ‘Hexed,’ as we discuss the current market for YA and their unprecedented road to publication during a global pandemic.
1530 ~ 1545 Close of day

Final chance to chat and say au revoir until tomorrow.


0945 ~ 1000

Sunday 14th November

Welcome Back!
Say Hi once more and strap in for the next adventure.

1000 ~ 1100 Jasper Fforde Keynote
Writing is what we do, but writing is also who we are – exporting one’s worldview has never been so important in a world seemingly ever more fractured by division, and now, more than ever, our words will count. Jasper Fforde gives a few thoughts and notes on the subject as well as hints and tips learned in three decades of writing fantasy and satire for all ages.
1100 ~ 1115 Comfort Break
Refreshment time once more.
1115 ~ 1215 First Pages Panel with Emily McDonnell and Jonathan Eyers

The First Pages Panel is a chance for writers to hear from a panel of industry professionals. Writers are invited to submit the first page of their manuscript in advance of the weekend (the submission email will be included in the booking confirmation). A selection will be presented anonymously to the panel, who will react as they would when opening submission on their slushpile. The panel will give honest, professional, and constructive feedback on real examples of writing from real people.


Our professional panellists for this event are Emily McDonnell, Senior Editor at Walker Books, and Jonathan Eyers, Commissioning Editor at Bloomsbury Publishing.

1215 ~ 1315 Lunch is served
1315 ~ 1415 Workshop on World-building with PM Freestone
Do you want to learn how to build a believable and compelling world for your YA novel? PM Freestone, author of the YA duology ‘Shadowscent,’ will guide you through constructing an imaginary world and developing a setting with coherent qualities from geography to history.
1415 ~ 1430 Yet another Comfort Break

We all need ’em.

1430 ~ 1530 Sex in YA panel discussion with Simon James Green, Lucy Cuthew and Lucy Whitehouse

Sex in YA books can be a minefield. So, what are the boundaries when writing YA? How do authors and publishers navigate their way through, when writing for this age group? Authors Simon James-Green and Lucy Cuthew are joined by Lucy Whitehouse, from digital sex education resource charity Fumble to discuss this tricky, but important area.

1530 ~ 1545 And so the curtain falls
Fare ye well one and all and enjoy your YA adventures.


P&G Wells, Winchester’s Independent Bookshop, will have a selection of books from all our wonderful speakers in stock and available to purchase online. 

P&G Wells Booksellers | Independent Booksellers since 1729 (




in order of appearance



 Malorie Blackman

Malorie Blackman has written over 70 books for children and young adults, including the Noughts and Crosses series of novels (Noughts and Crosses won the Red House FCBG Children’s Book Award as well as being included in the top 100 of the BBC Big Read), Cloud Busting (winner of the Smarties Silver Award), Thief (winner of the Young Telegraph/Fully Booked Award) and Hacker (winner of the WH Smiths Children’s Book Award and the Young Telegraph/Gimme 5 Award for best children’s book of the year). Her latest book is Endgame, is the final novel in the Noughts and Crosses series.
Malorie is a scriptwriting graduate of the National Film and Television School. Her work has appeared on TV, with Pig-Heart Boy, which was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, being adapted into a BAFTA winning 6-part TV serial. As well as writing original and adapted drama scripts for TV, Malorie also regularly wrote for CBBC’s Byker Grove. She also co-wrote the Doctor Who episode – Rosa.
In 2005, Malorie was honoured with the Eleanor Farjeon Award in recognition of her distinguished contribution to the world of children’s books. In 2008, she was then honoured with an OBE for her services to Children’s Literature.
Malorie was appointed Children’s Laureate 2013-2015.

Follow @malorieblackman on Twitter.

Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde has been writing in the Comedy/Fantasy Genre since 2001 when his novel ‘The Eyre Affair’ debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list, and his latest YA novel, ‘The Great Troll War’, has just been released into the wild. Fforde’s writing is an eclectic mix of genres, which might be described as a joyful blend of Comedy-SF-thriller-Crime-Satire. He freely admits that he fascinated not just by books themselves, but by the way we read and what we read, and his reinvigoration of tired genres have won him many enthusiastic supporters across the world.

Follow @jasperfforde on Twitter.




Bryony Pearce

Bryony Pearce is a multi-award-winning novelist working in both the YA and Adult markets.
In the YA genre she has produced a mixture of dark thrillers, paranormal adventures and horror and currently has nine published novels (most recently Raising Hell and Cruel Castle).
For the adult market she writes domestic noir for Avon (Harper Collins) – her debut, The Girl on the Platform was published in 2021 and her next one, Little Rumours, is out in Spring.
Bryony also writes short stories, which have been published in a number of anthologies.
She teaches a course at City University (London) called Writing for Children and delivers inspirational talks in schools. Among other events, she has performed at the Edinburgh Literary Festival, YALC and Comicon and appears regularly at the Sci Fi Weekender.
Bryony also works as a consultant and mentor for Cornerstones Literary Consultancy and The Writing Coach.
She currently lives in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire and has two children so when she isn’t working or providing a taxi service, she can usually be found reading, writing, drinking wine or playing the cello (badly)!

Follow @BryonyPearce on Twitter



Becky Bagnell

Becky Bagnell is the founder of the Lindsay Literary Agency and has been in publishing for over 25 years. She worked as a commissioning editor at Macmillan before becoming a literary agent in 2008. Becky’s clients have been published in multiple languages across the world and include the award-winning authors Pamela Butchart, Sue Wallman, Sam Gayton, Larry Hayes and J. M. Joseph.



Follow @LindsayLit on Twitter.




Catherine Pellegrino

Catherine has worked in publishing for 30 years: in translation rights at Victor Gollancz, Penguin and Bloomsbury; as a literary scout; and in her current role as an agent specialising in Children’s and YA literature, first at Rogers, Coleridge and White and currently at the dynamic and fast expanding agency Marjacq Scripts, where she represents an eclectic and talented stable of authors including – Linda Coggin, Roopa Farooki, Steve Feasey, Bryony Pearce,T.C Shelley, Harriet Whitehorn.

Her tastes are eclectic and tend towards literary, but a cracking story with great characters whether sci-fi, fantasy, literary or historical will always win the day. She is a judge, mentor and founder member of the Commonword Diversity Prize sponsored by Puffin and Marjacq Scripts, which aims through its grassroot workshops and competition to promote diversity in children’s writing.

Follow @MarjacqScripts on Twitter.


KL Kettle

Made in Birmingham, Kathryn now lives, works and writes in London. The opening of her debut YA novel, The Boy I am, was shortlisted in SCBWI British Isles Undiscovered Voices 2018. Her completed novel was published by Little Tiger in January 2021. Kathryn is represented by James Wills of the Watson, Little agency.



Follow @klkettle on Twitter


Cynthia Murphy

Cynthia Murphy is a YA writer from the North-West of England, though her ‘real job’ is in education. She is represented by Stephanie Thwaites at the Curtis Brown Agency. Her debut YA novel, ‘Last One to Die,’ was published in January 2021. Cynthia is married to her best friend and they share (are ruled by) a Romanian rescue dog called Loli, who loves to steal socks.

Follow @CynthiaMurphyYA on Twitter.




Attiya Khan

Attiya Khan is a mother of three and works as a GP in East London. She holds an MA in Modern Literature from Birkbeck, where she graduated with merits. She was selected to be part of the David Higham’s Open day for underrepresented writers and was also on the longlist for SCBWI Undiscovered Voices 2020. Ten Steps To Us is Attiya’s debut book.



Follow @attiyakhan39 on Twitter



Julia Tuffs

After a brief (but fun) stint working in television and as a primary school teacher, Julia Tuffs decided to take her writing dreams more seriously. She lives in South West London with her family and ragdoll cats (Billy and Nora) and spends her time writing, reading, dreaming of holidays and watching too much reality TV. She aims to write the kinds of books that shaped and inspired her as a teenager.

Her debut YA novel, ‘Hexed,’ published with Orion Children’s Books/Hachette in July 2021

Follow @JuliaTuffs on Twitter



Emily McDonnell

Emily McDonnell is a Senior Editor at Walker Books, where she has worked in the editorial team for over eleven years. She is the editor for Lauren James, Alison Croggon, Justyn Edwards and Maria Parr, among others, and has worked with a wide array of authors during her time at Walker, including Cassandra Clare, Stephan Pastis and Frank Cottrell Boyce. She works primarily on fiction, with particular interest in Young Adult and Middle Grade books.



Follow @WalkerBooksUK on Twitter




Jonathan Eyers

Jonathan Eyers is the author of five books of non-fiction and fiction. He is a commissioning editor at Bloomsbury Publishing, and works with writers directly as an editor and mentor through the Cornerstones Literary Consultancy and WriteMentor.




Follow @EyersJonathan on Twitter




PM Freestone

P. M. Freestone writes fantasy, speculative and historical fiction. In 2019, their debut novel ‘Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom’ was published in English by Scholastic, has so far been acquired in seven other languages, and was a finalist in the 2020 Aurealis Awards. Freestone’s short stories for adults and young people have appeared in various print and online venues. They are a Clarion Writers’ Workshop graduate, a Scottish Book Trust New Writer’s Award winner, and hold degrees in archaeology, history, sociology and global health. Originally hailing from Australia, they now call Scotland home, where they lecture in creative writing at Edinburgh Napier University.

Follow @PM_Freestone on Twitter



Simon James Green

Simon James Green is an author and screenwriter. His young adult novels include Noah Can’t Even (long listed for the Branford Boase and also published in Poland, Brazil and France); Noah Could Never; Alex in Wonderland (nominated for the Carnegie medal and selected as one of the top 20 LGBTQ+ books of 2019 by Attitude); and Heartbreak Boys. 2020 also saw publication of his first picture book, Llama Glamarama, illustrated by Garry Parsons, and Life of Riley: Beginner’s Luck, his first middle-grade book, which has been shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2021.

Follow @simonjamesgreen on Twitter.



Lucy Cuthew

Lucy Cuthew has published over thirty children’s books, including picture books, educational titles and non-fiction, and she regularly speaks on the subject of children’s books for the BBC. She was a children’s editor for over ten years, both in-house and freelance, and graduated from the MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa in 2019, with an exceptionally high distinction grade.



Follow @LucyCuthew on Twitter.




Lucy is a journalist and editor, and the founder of Fumble. Fumble is a new, award-winning youth charity in the UK. We create a happy, healthy digital world of sex education with young people, for young people. We make sure that young people have the skills and knowledge to successfully manage their sexual health, mental health and relationships today. We do this through our trusted, quality co-created digital content and our peer-to-peer relationships and sex education (RSE) programme.

Follow @lucehouse on Twitter





Georgina Lippiett joined SCBWI a few years ago after enrolling on the MA in Writing for Children at Winchester. SCBWI is such a wonderful, supportive community of like-minded souls, and she is daily amazed by how generous the members are with their time. She takes real pleasure from watching people develop their skills and confidence, so is thrilled to be part of this event.



Follow @McSquorge on Twitter



Debbie Edwards is a MG and YA fantasy writer. She lives in a wooden shack in a disused chalk quarry in Norfolk with her chauffeur/husband and several hundred honey bees. Debbie has volunteered for several years and runs the Central East region for SCBWI BI. She won the Summer Service Award last year for supporting writers and illustrators during the pandemic.








Holly discovered the art of telling a good story while studying for a BA in Fine Art. She then went on to earn an MA in Writing for Children from The University of Winchester and shortly after began volunteering for SCBWI BI. Holly enjoys getting involved with the writing community, meeting fellow writers and chatting about books. She recently dived into the world of BookTok which has increased her ‘to be read’ pile tenfold.

Follow @HollyRoseWrites on Twitter