Writing Judging Panel
The following panel of enthusiastic and well-respected editors and agent will select the stories to be included in the anthology:
Lauren Fortune, Fiction Editorial Director, Scholastic
Lauren Fortune is Editorial Director of the fiction list at Scholastic UK, working with a high-profile roster of authors who write commercial young series fiction, contemporary standalone middle grade, and YA, both funny and fantasy. In 2017 to date her authors have been chosen as the Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month (Lisa Thompson’s The Goldfish Boy) and WHSmith Kids Book of the Month (Ally Kennen’s The Everything Machine) and during her career she has acquired and edited books that have been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, the Waterstones Children’s Prize, the Blue Peter Book Award and the Branford Boase Award. A committed and passionate champion of debut writers, she is looking for standout voices with verve and fresh storytelling with a commercial edge.
Sarah Leonard, Commissioning Editor, Orchard Books
As well as working on a wide range of bestselling licences and series fiction – including My Little Pony, The Powerpuff Girls, Transformers, Secret Kingdom and Secret Princesses – Sarah is lucky enough to work with lots of incredibly talented authors, from established names like Chris d’Lacey and Ally Carter, to the most exciting new voices. In 2016 one of her titles (Badly Drawn Beth by dynamic duo Knife & Packer) won the Lollies award for the funniest fiction for 6-8s and this year Sarah is nominated for the Branford Boase award with Irena Brignull and her phenomenal debut, The Hawkweed Prophecy.
Sarah is currently looking to grow Orchard’s middle grade list with some stellar new talent. She loves commercial fiction with a strong hook that grabs readers’ attention from the offset, backed up by exceptional writing.
Joanna Moult, Literary Agent, Skylark Literary Limited
Joanna is the co-founder of Skylark Literary, a specialist Children’s and YA literary agency. She began her publishing career at Hodder Children’s Books, then moving to Simon & Schuster Children’s Books. She has edited authors including Sophie McKenzie, Cressida Cowell and Kes Gray. She then became Editorial Director for Children’s Fiction at literary agents Mulcahy Conway Associates, where she worked to seek out new talent and edit submissions to publishers. Having been inspired by this experience and bitten by the bug of discovering great new voices in children’s fiction, setting up Skylark Literary with Amber Caraveo was a natural next step.
Polly Nolan, Literary Agent, Greenhouse Agency
Polly Nolan is the UK agent for the Greenhouse Literary Agency. She has worked in children’s books for all of her adult life, starting as an assistant in the Children’s Books Department of a major London store before taking her first job at what is now Egmont Press. She has commissioned for the children’s fiction lists at Orion, Oxford University Press, Scholastic (as Editorial Director) and, most recently, at Macmillan Children’s Books (as Associate Publishing Director, Fiction). Authors commissioned and edited by her include Liz Pichon, Roddy Doyle, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Kevin Brooks, Meg Cabot and Andrew Lane.
Gillie Russell, Agent, Aitken Alexander Associates
Gillie has spent most of her working life as a publisher – her last experience was as the Publishing Director for Fiction at HarperCollins Children’s Books where she was for 10 years. While she was there, she worked with Michael Morpurgo, Derek Landy, Helen Dunmore, Louise Rennison and many other wonderful authors.
Gillie enjoys being an agent – for her, it’s a bit like panning for gold; the wonderful glint you may see on first reading a new manuscript, and the wonderful effect it can have when you drop it into a pool and watch the ripple effect on others when they first start reading it.
She’s always looking for fresh new voices and ideas – it’s the ‘voice’ that can really excite and engage me. She also have a rule-of-thumb – if she can remember a book three days after she’s read it (and she does see umpteen manuscripts) and it stays in her mind in a vivid way, then she know it might be something special. She doesn’t have any one particular genre that she’s looking for, but great storytelling and something with heart that leaps off the page is definitely the key for her.
Hannah Sheppard, Literary Agent, DHH Literary Agency
Hannah Sheppard is a Branford Boase Award nominated editor who has worked in trade publishing for over a decade. She started her career at Macmillan Children’s books before moving to Headline Publishing Group to run the YA and crossover list where she published Tanya Byrne’s HEART-SHAPED BRUISE, Jennifer E. Smith’s THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT and Julianna Baggott’s PURE trilogy.
She is now a literary agent with the D H H Literary Agency representing authors such as Abi Elphinstone, Keris Stainton, Honor and Perdita Cargill, and Patti Buff (who featured in the last Undiscovered Voices anthology), as well as a small number of adult fiction authors including Adam Hamdy.
Kirsty Stansfield, Head of Fiction, Nosy Crow
Kirsty Stansfield is Head of Fiction at Nosy Crow, joining a few months after the company was founded. She’s worked in children’s books for two decades, working at The Agency before progressing to Scholastic and then Orchard Books.
Illustration Judging Panel
The following panel of enthusiastic and well-respected art directors and agent will select the illustrations to be included in the anthology:
Chrissie Boehm, Agent, Artful Doodlers
Chrissie trained as a designer, then worked as an illustrator, before deciding to change to project managing, working in an illustration and design studio before setting up Artful Doodlers in 2001.
Artful Doodlers is a small but busy company – apart from original projects, they have created new styles and characters for various publishers, but a great deal of the work comes from the artists having the ability to change to different styles.
Most of the artists Chrissie has known and worked with for many years, but she is always looking out for new talent – especially artists with a wide range of styles.
Claire Cartey, Agent, Holroyde Cartey Agency
Formally a graduate of Camberwell School of Art, Claire Cartey has worked in children’s publishing for over twenty five years in various design roles at Dorling Kindersley, Random House, Egmont and was most recently Art Director at Hodder Children’s Books.
In 2015 she co-founded Holroyde Cartey with Penelope Holroyde and now as an agent represents a quality list of award-winning and best-selling authors and illustrators.
Andrea Kearney, Senior Designer, Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Andrea Kearney is a Senior Designer working at Bloomsbury Children’s Books. With 10 years experience in publishing, she has worked on Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse and recently the highly anticipated 20th Anniversary Editions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone illustrated by Kate Greenaway medal winner Levi Pinfold.
Will Steele, Fiction Design Manager, Usborne Publishing
Will has worked in children’s book design for the past 12 years, for several reputable publishing houses including Templar Publishing, Penguin Random House, Faber & Faber and is now Fiction Design Manager at Usborne. He has experience in designing and art directing books for all ages from baby board books, pre-school picture books, through to novelty/pop-ups and non-fiction, and over the past 5 years he has been focussing mainly on fiction for ages 6 through to YA. Will has worked with many award-winning illustrators and continues to search for fresh talent to commission.
Nghiem Ta (Neem), Assistant Art Director, Walker Books
Nghiem Ta (Neem) is currently an Assistant Art Director at Walker Books. She currently works on a broad range of books that includes brand/character publishing and specials for the Walker Studio list, including The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan.
Previously, Nghiem was a Senior Designer at Templar Publishing, having designed and art directed the first 12 ‘Ology’ books – Dragonology to Dinosaurology. She also helped establish the ‘Pictura’ range of colouring-in books, working with artists to create panoramic pieces of black and white line art.
Nghiem started her career working as a Designer and Paper Engineer with Ron van der Meer and Mark Hiner, assisting with the creation complex pop-up books.
Honorary Author and Illustrator Chairs
We are thrilled that Frances Hardinge and Alexis Deacon have agreed to be this year’s honorary chairs.
Frances Hardinge – Honorary Author Chair
Frances Hardinge was brought up in a sequence of small, sinister English villages, and spent a number of formative years living in a Gothic-looking, mouse-infested hilltop house in Kent. She studied English Language and Literature at Oxford, fell in love with the city’s crazed archaic beauty, and lived there for many years.
Whilst working full time as a technical author for a software company she started writing her first children’s novel, Fly by Night, and was with difficulty persuaded by a good friend to submit the manuscript to Macmillan. Seven of her books have now been published, all aimed at children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Lie Tree, won the Costa Book of the Year Award, the fiction category of the Boston Globe Hornbook Award and the 12-16 age category of the UKLA Awards.
Frances is seldom seen without her hat and is addicted to volcanoes.
Alexis Deacon – Honorary Illustrator Chair
Alexis Deacon is a writer and illustrator of children’s books. His first book, Slow Loris, was published in 2002 and was shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award. In 2015 it was named one of the hundred best children’s books of all time by Time Magazine.
He has twice been shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal and is a two time recipient of The New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award. In 2014, The River, won the Observer/Jonathan Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize. In 2008 he was chosen by Booktrust as one of the ten best new illustrators of the preceding decade.
Alexis’ latest book, Geis, Nobrow Press, is the first in an epic trilogy genre-spanning a mix of supernatural, historical fantasy, action and folk tale.
A number of volunteers, passionate about finding new children’s book talent, work behind the scenes on the Undiscovered Voices anthologies.
Sara writes and edits fiction for children and teens. Her new series Chasing Danger is an action-adventure series for tweens.Dark Parties, her first young adult novel, won the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Crystal Kite Award for Europe. As a freelance editor of series fiction, she has worked on twelve different series and edited nearly 100 books. She has given writing workshops in the US, UK and Europe as part of Book Bound (www.bookboundretreat.com) and teaches a master’s class on writing for children/teens at Goldsmiths University. She is also a member of The Edge, eight UK-based authors working together writing a blog and running events across the country.
Sara graduated from Indiana University with degrees in journalism and psychology, and later she earned a master’s degree in creative and life writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She’s incredibly proud to have co-founded the Undiscovered Voices project with Sara O’Connor in 2006.
Catherine is a freelance author and editor; she’s written over thirty children’s books and edited at least a thousand! She’s been a freelancer since 2011, and loves it – not just because she can wear her pyjamas all day if she wants to, but because of the variety of her work in freelancing for many major and independent publishers, agents and writers. Previously senior commissioning editor at Orchard Books, Catherine’s commissioned and edited a wide range of highly successful fiction, from Beast Quest and Rainbow Magic to The World of Norm and Gallagher Girls – and she’s worked with top authors including David Almond, Vivian French and Mary Hoffman. Her authored book series include The Owls of Blossom Wood, The Unicorns of Blossom Wood and Kid Cowboy. She’s passionate about helping to ease and demystify the path to publishing for talented writers and is delighted to be involved in Undiscovered Voices.
Jenny is a children’s book editor with over ten years’ experience. She was previously Commissioning Editor at Orion Children’s Books, editing and commissioning bestselling fiction from 5+ to YA, and working with hugely talented authors, such as Francesca Simon, Sally Gardner, Phil Earle, Kate Pankhurst and Liz Kessler. Now Jenny is a freelance editor and works with publishers, agents and writers, and The Golden Egg Academy.
Benjamin teaches creative writing to a range of schools, groups and organisations (which include the Uppingham Summer School, the Oxford University Continuing Education Department and Swanwick, the Writers’ Summer School). He reviews for Carousel, the specialist children’s book magazine, as well as pursuing his own writing and giving freelance editorial advice. He was recognised in 2012 for his Outstanding Contribution to SCBWI British Isles in his role as Assistant Regional Advisor. He is the author of five Star Fighters books (2, 4, 6, 7 and 9) published under the name Max Chase and published by Bloomsbury Books. As the series’ lead-author, Benjamin loves going into schools to share these exciting space-adventures – inspiring pupils to read more and to write for fun. He has written three books in another popular and long-running series for children and two titles for the Oxford Reading Tree. He is currently working on a Young Adult fantasy novel with his agent Gillie Russell.
Simon James Green
Simon was selected for Undiscovered Voices 2016 with the opening chapters from his YA novel, Nuts. He signed with Joanna Moult at Skylark Literary and has since signed a two-book deal with Scholastic. The book has had a name change (it’s now called Noah Can’t Even) and will be published on 4th May 2017. Simon is also a screenwriter, with credits including feature-length teen rom-com Rules of Love (BBC), and has directed both for stage and television. He wanted to be on the UV committee to help other authors benefit from the same fantastic opportunities it gave him.
Anne-Marie Perks is a published illustrator author and art educator who has served as Illustrator Coordinator for the British Isles Region since 2001. Books that she has illustrated include, The Tortoise Who Bragged, Clever Calculator Cat and Clever Calculations and Other Cool Creatures by Betsy Franco with Stokes Publishing. She has recently completed two wordless books for Books Beyond Words Publishing, When Dad Hurts Mum, December 2014 and Finding a Safe Place From Abuse, May 2015.
Loretta has illustrated numerous picture books including ‘Beauty and the Beast’ written by Michael Morpurgo, ‘A Monster’s Moved In!’ written by Timothy Knapman and the new ‘Sky Private Eye’ series of picture books written by Jane Clarke. Loretta also illustrates a number of young fiction titles including the ‘Dougal Daley’ series written by Jackie Marchant, and ‘Class Six and the Eel of Fortune’ written by Sally Prue. She has worked with a range of publishers including HarperCollins, Little Tiger Press, and Bloomsbury, and is currently writing her own picture book stories and a fiction series for children.
Patrick is a London-based children’s illustrator working in both traditional and digital media. He was published for the first time in 2015 by OUP, illustrating three Icelandic sagas for their ‘Greatest Stories Ever Told‘ series. He has since gained additional commissions for more middle grade educational chapter books for them, including a graphic novella adaptation of WW1 poetry, plus representation by Andlyn Literary Agency. He recently returned from a year living in China where he held weekly creative workshops for adults and children, something he has been delighted to continue at library visits and illustration workshops with schoolchildren as a member of CWISL. He is represented by Andlyn Literary Agency.
Tioka loves helping others tell their stories. She’s worked as a teacher, writing festival coordinator, literacy consultant for international governments, and documentary television producer. She currently reviews books for Hachette Livre. Since 2007, she’s run the SCBWI group in France and worked to launch the Europolitan Conference. With Undiscovered Voices, she’s thrilled to be part of getting wonderful authors discovered.