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Organised by Commonword, this panel discussion is for those aspiring to write for the children’s fiction industry. Topics covered will include: how to find an agent, what publishers seek from writers in this genre, the challenges of writing diverse characters, the difficulties BAME authors face getting published within the children’s book industry and possible solutions.

Alexandra Antscherl – Penguin Random House, Executive Editor
Melvin Burgess – Award-Winning Author
Catherine Pellegrino – Marjacq Scripts Ltd, Literary Agent
Rosemarie Hudson – HopeRoad Publishing

This masterclass is part of the 4th Commonword Diversity Writing for Children Prize

Catherine Pellegrino, children’s book agent representing Marjacq Scripts Ltd says: ‘As a children’s agent, living in one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, it struck me that there was a gaping hole in the children’s writing community; in the authors I represent, the writers published and consequently in the books we are able to offer our children to read – books that should represent our rich cultural diversity but so often fail to do so. The opportunity to address this issue alongside Commonword and Puffin Books is enormously exciting and I am confident that working together we will bring to light original and talented new writers and writers in the making.’

Shannon Cullen, executive editor for fiction at Puffin, says: ‘As an editor at the UK’s number-one children’s publisher I am always on the lookout for exciting new voices for Puffin’s list. The lack of diverse authors and characters has always been an issue for me – our schools and communities are so much more wonderfully diverse than the current children’s book market suggests. I look forward to working with Commonword and RCW to discover and develop some fantastic new talent.’

Commonword’s Artistic Director, Pete Kalu, said: ‘Notions of Englishness are seeded by writers, including by children’s writers. We are a diverse nation and yet there is a disturbing absence of diversity in what is currently published in the UK. This Prize addresses that and I am optimistic we will discover and nurture some exciting new diverse talent.’

The deadline for the prize is 6th June 2016.
To find out more about the prize please go to