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How to write a children's book: A masterclass with acclaimed children's authors and publishers

Guardian Masterclasses

Saturday, March 17, 2018 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM (GMT)

How to write a children's book: A masterclass with...

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How to write a children's book: A masterclass with acclaimed children's authors and publishers Mar 16, 2018 £99.00 £4.46
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Event Details

Learn the tricks of the trade from some of the most respected names in children’s writing and publishing during this inspirational day of talks.

Whether you are already working on a young adult novel or are looking for an incentive to start that kids book you’ve always wanted to write, this inspirational day of talks with some of the UK’s leading authors and publishers will teach you how to keep a young audience entertained by your storytelling.

Curated by children’s author Laura Dockrill, the day includes expert advice from former children's laureate and award-winning author Malorie Blackman, Sarah Odedina, editor-at-large for the Pushkin Press children's and YA list, multi-award winning YA author Juno Dawson and picture book writer and illustrator Alex T. Smith.

Our speakers will share tips on various useful topics, such as developing your voice, writing for different age groups and getting published.


  • Laura Dockrill will share advice on how to unlock creativity, find your “inner child” and develop a distinctive writing voice
  • Malorie Blackman will discuss her writing career with Laura Dockrill 
  • Alex T. Smith, will talk about his process of collecting ideas and using them to create characters and stories
  • Sarah Odedina will cover the key points on how to submit material to publishers and agents, what to expect during the process of being considered for publication and how to work on your writing with or without a publisher or an agent
  • Juno Dawson will offer guidance on the key differences between children’s, “middle-grade” and young adult writing

Speaker profiles

Malorie Blackman has written over 60 books for children and young adults, including the award-winning Noughts & Crosses series of novels, Cloud Busting, Thief! and Hacker. Her latest book is Chasing the Stars, a science-fiction thriller. Malorie is a scriptwriting graduate of the National Film and Television School and her work has appeared on TV, with Carnegie Medal shortlisted Pig-Heart Boy being adapted into a Bafta-winning six-part series. Malorie was also a regular writer for CBBC's Byker Grove. In 2005, Malorie received the Eleanor Farjeon award and, in 2008, an OBE for her services to children’s literature. She was children’s laureate from 2013 to 2015.

Juno Dawson is the multi-award winning author of 10 titles for young adults, including Margot & Me and the international bestseller This Book is Gay. Last year, Juno also authored one of the World Book Day titles, Spot the Difference. She tweets @junodawson.

Sarah Odedina is editor-at-large for Pushkin Press, commissioning titles for the children's and YA list. She is also editor-in-chief of Scoop, a magazine for children. Sarah regularly talks at writers' conferences around the world and is the director of the children's programme of FlipSide literary festival in Suffolk, England. She worked at Bloomsbury Publishing for 14 years and oversaw the publication of the Harry Potter series, as well as many other bestselling prize-winning novels and picture books.

Alex T. Smith has written and illustrated nine picture books. He was the official World Book Day illustrator in 2014. His recent accolades include winning the UKLA Picture Book awards 2016 for Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion and best children's book at the World Illustration awards 2016 for illustrating Dodie Smith’s The Hundred and One Dalmatians. Alex is also the creator of the bestselling Claude fiction series for early readers.

Host profile

Laura Dockrill is a writer, illustrator and performance poet. Her work includes the Carnegie Medal nominated young adult novel Lorali and the Darcy Burdock series for younger readers, which was also nominated for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize in 2014. In addition to her work as a writer and creative writing tutor, she’s been a roaming reporter for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and appeared on Blue Peter and CBeebies. She tweets @LauraDockrill.

Full course and returns information on the Masterclasses website

Have questions about How to write a children's book: A masterclass with acclaimed children's authors and publishers? Contact Guardian Masterclasses

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When & Where

The Guardian
Kings Place
90 York Way
N1 9GU London
United Kingdom

Saturday, March 17, 2018 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM (GMT)

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Guardian Masterclasses

Welcome to Guardian masterclasses – a unique programme of learning embedded within one of the world's most forward-thinking media organisations.

Masterclasses offer a broad range of short and long courses across a variety of disciplines from creative writing, journalism, photography and design, film and digital media, music and cultural appreciation.

Harnessing the expertise and specialisms within the organisation, our courses are led by first class and award winning guardian professionals whilst also drawing on the skills and expertise of other leading figures at the forefront of the creative and digital industries.

The programme is aimed at anyone interested in personal or professional development whether that be refining your skills, focusing your ambition or simply broadening your mind and gaining inspiration.

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How to write a children's book: A masterclass with acclaimed children's authors and publishers
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