Wild Words Children’s Book Festival has rapidly gained its reputation as Ireland’s best Young Adult (YA) writing festival.This is primarily because Wild Words has attracted teenagers back to books and because the festival has picked up on the zeitgeist; a golden age for young adult books. Extraordinarily talented writers like Sarah Crossan, Dave Rudden and Eilís Barrett who are all part of this new wave underpin the reputation of the festival.With masterclasses, workshops, readings and other activities, the festival has plenty for every age group. This year however, with a wealth of new titles hitting the bookshelves, there is a strong emphasis on books for young adults.When Dave Rudden was at Wild Words last year he had just signed a six-figure book deal with Puffin. Those in attendance got a sneak preview of Knights of the Borrowed Dark. It has since been published – and it’s great. Rudden has been noted as “an author to watch” and Knights of the Borrowed Dark described as “a pacy, entertaining read, but with a heart, too.”It’s been a great year for Sarah Crossan too. Her new novel One, which tells the story of conjoined twins Grace and Tippi, has earned her the Bookseller’s Young Adult Book Prize, the Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year and the CILIP Carnegie Medal. For Wild Words Sarah will be giving a masterclass and appearing alongside first time author Eilís Barrett, who at 16 years of age has already published her first novel Oasis, fulfilling one of her life ambitions. Oasis tells the story of Quincy Emerson, a young girl who is on the run because she carries the X gene that causes a virus that nearly wiped out the human race. The book is gripping and all aspiring young authors will want to meet this remarkable young woman.
This year’s festival, running from Saturday 1 – Sunday 9 October, is the 10th, and will include a dedicated YA day on Saturday 8 October. [click the image to go to the online brochure]
Charlotte Eyre summarises some early deals made at (and prior to) Bologna….
Bloomsbury bought world rights to a YA novel by début author Karen Gregory on the first day of the fair yesterday (Monday 4th April). Gregory’s Countless is about a girl called Hedda who decides to call a truce with her eating disorder, which she calls “Nia”, when she finds out that she is pregnant. Publishing director Rebecca McNally acquired world rights in a two-book deal from Claire Wilson at Rogers, Coleridge & White. Publication of the title is scheduled for May 2017.
Meanwhile Bloomsbury Children’s has sold Letters to the Lost, a Young Adult fiction title by Brigid Kemmerer, in four territories: the Netherlands, Spain, Latin American (Spanish-language) and Serbia. The publisher also expects to close deals with publishers from Brazil, Germany and France at the fair. Bloomsbury bought world rights from Mandy Hubbard at D4EO Literary Agency.
Anne Clark at the Anne Clark Literary Agency sold three books to Oxford University Press ahead of the opening of this year’s fair. World rights were sold in Middle Grade thriller Stunt Double and another, as-yet-untitled book by Tamsin Cooke; and Lucy’s Magical Surprise, an animal story for younger readers written by Anne Booth.
Barrington Stoke will publish a dyslexia-friendly version of John Steinbeck’s classic novel Of Mice and Men after agreeing a sub-licensing deal with Penguin Random House. The accessible version, due for release in September, will be printed on a tinted background, with large-print text and spacing. Barrington Stoke said it “may consider” publishing accessible versions of more classic novels in the future.
The National Trust is launching its first children’s book festival at Wray Castle in the Lake District in March.
National Trust’s publisher Katie Bond created the event, entitled Children’s Book Festival 2016, to both boost the charity’s presence in children’s books and celebrate 150 years since the birth of Beatrix Potter, who gave land to the National Trust on her death.
Bond told The Bookseller: “I joined the National Trust in May 2014 and when I looked at what was going on business-wide I realised that the biggest hole was children’s books, so that was one of my main priorities. I was also aware of the Beatrix Potter anniversary and we’ve got amazing venues, which is always one of the challenges in organising a festival, so I thought a children’s book festival would be fantastic.”
Journalist and critic Julia Eccleshare right has been appointed children’s director of the Hay Festival. She will programme Hay’s Children’s Festival and the Hay YA programme, succeeding Mary Byrne.“I’m incredibly excited about becoming children’s director,” Eccleshare said. “I’ve been taking part in Hay events for 20 years and the children’s festival has always had a particular flavour about it.”
Celebrate the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with renowned artists who have all illustrated Alice. There’s comedy galore with Jim Smith’s Barry Loser, Gary Northfield’s Julius Zebra and John Dougherty’s Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face.
There’s plenty for young adults too, with master of the spoken word Steven Camden, novelist Melvin Burgess and many more. Don’t miss our amazing programme of Write On! Workshops, where you can learn anything from creative writing to making dolls’ clothes; and traditional tales are woven throughout the Festival, from fairy tales to stories from around the world.
A big thank you to Rob Biddulph who designed our fantastic front cover and to all this year’s authors, illustrators and storytellers who bring writing to life!”
Jane Churchill Book It! Director
via Book It! 2015.
Anthony McGowan will be one of the authors participating the FLY Festival. Ahead of his talk and workshop at the University of East Anglia, Eleanor Pringle caught up with him to ask a few questions.
Here’s a couple extracted from the full piece:
There is a lot of debate surrounding adult vs. young adult fiction. Do you think young adult fiction stands up as viable against adult fiction, or even that one is superior to the other?
I don’t think adult fiction is superior, but I’m slightly sympathetic to the idea that adults should read adult fiction, and teenagers should read whatever they want. I think there’s almost an infinite number of amazing adult literary texts, it just seems almost a waste of your reading opportunities as an adult to read novels that are aimed at teenagers. So I do actually think there’s a time to move on. But there are some amazing writers like Meg Rosoff, Patrick Ness, that are ‘YA’ writers, but are in fact universal.
You have described in the past what it’s like to be married to a ‘super woman’. (Anthony is married to writer, and former fashion designer Rebecca Campbell) What do you believe the greatest achievement of your career is, and why?
Statistically, the most impossible thing I’ve ever done is to get published, for every thousand writers only one gets through that. That, in itself, is always a nice achievement. But everyone I know in London now, almost everyone I interact with socially went to private schools. I’m often the only publicly schooled person at a gathering; I suppose I’m proud of having come from that background and having achieved this.
Claire Hennessy kept notes during the YA discussion panel at the Mountains to Sea festival in Dún Laoghaire and the Irish Times published a short report:
The panel was chaired by Elaina Ryan, Children’s Books Ireland director and former editor at Little Island, and included David O’Callaghan (Children’s/YA buyer at Eason’s), Louise O’Neill (YA author of Only Ever Yours), Sheena Wilkinson (YA author of Taking Flight and Grounded), and Aaron Williams (“actual teenager” and a former teen curator for Mountains to Sea).
You’ll need to be a subscriber or buy the paper to see the full copy of Nicolette Jones’ highlights from the programme drawn up by Jane Churchill:
There are 100 ticketed events on the Book It! programme for children and young adults, orchestrated by human firework and guest director Michael Rosen and director Jane Churchill. Their biggest coup is the inclusion of five of our own children’s laureates (Michael Morpurgo, Anthony Browne, Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman and Rosen himself) as well as America’s first: Jon Scieszka. Rosen and Blackman will be discussing teen fiction and her Noughts and Crosses series (October 4, 11.45am). Rosen will talk to Lucy Mangan about Inside Charlie’s Chocolate Factory, her celebration of 50 years of the Roald Dahl classic (October 4, 1.45pm, 8+), and he will also appear solo — with a hilarious performance of poems and stories (October 5, 11.45am, 7+), and advice for parents on how to become their child’s best teacher (October 3, 4pm).
The infallibly engaging Morpurgo will appear with illustrator Helen Stephens (who will be drawing throughout the event) to convey the magic of their latest collaboration, Mimi and the Mountain Dragon (October 4, 10am, 7+). Browne will be talking about gorillas and playing The Shape Game (October 5, 4.15pm 6+). And you can celebrate, with the author, the publication of Wilson’s 100th novel, Opal Plumstead, about a factory girl in Edwardian Britain (October 12, 1.30pm, 9+).
Vicky Allan, for the Herald, looks back on the children’s and young adult programme of the recently concluded Edinburgh International Book Festival:
The children’s book festival is a testimony to a vibrant sector of the book industry. Earlier this year The Bookseller reported that the pre-school and picture books genre has grown every year since 2001. Janet Smyth, director of the book festival’s children’s programme, says that almost all pre-school events sell out. Smyth believes that is partly "because parents are really quite keen on the whole reading together thing". But also because many of these events feature singing and "make and do". Julia Donaldson has long been reeling in audiences with this kind of show, but almost as big a lure was Kristina Stephenson, author of Sir Charlie Stinky Socks, a writer-illustrator who Smyth describes as "a show-maker who packs them out, and entertains the little ones with singing and dancing".
Sometimes it seems as if the ideal children’s book festival event is some kind of kid-friendly gesamtkunstwerk involving singing, talking, reading, drawing, and possibly glue. James Mayhew, the illustrator in residence, is also a musician who dresses up as Van Gogh. Aidan Moffat, formerly of the band Arab Strap, presented his rhyming tale of The Lavender Blue Dress, while the young audience busied themselves creating a dress design. I can see why words are not enough. My kids get restless after more than a few minutes of just talking. After 10, they’re hunting around inside my handbag for entertainment.
Smyth has also observed that this year more people are moving from different art forms into children’s literature. Since David Walliams became the new Roald Dahl, it seems that many a comedian has turned his or her talent to children’s books. Among those at this year’s Book Festival were Mackenzie Crook, Catherine (Catie) Wilkins and David O’Doherty. The connection works for two reasons. One: they’re often famous, which helps sales. Two: they’re funny. And, as Roald Dahl once said of children’s writing, "It’s got to be funny."