Spotlight on children's and YA fiction writers for DHA open day

Spotlight on children's and YA fiction writers for DHA open day

David Higham Associates has hosted its second open day for under-represented writers, this time focusing on writers of children’s and YA fiction.

Twelve unpublished authors from around the country congregated at the David Higham offices in Soho for a day of talks designed to demystify the publishing industry.

Talks from the agency’s staff included sessions on the role of the agent, the translation rights team and the film/TV department. Guest speakers Ruth Alltimes, senior publisher of Hachette and Storymix founder Jasmine Richards. Participants were also coached on how to write a query letter and given one-on-one feedback with a David Higham agent on their pre-submitted work.

David Higham literary agent Caroline Walsh said: “DHA’s first open day for underrepresented children’s writers was a great success, characterised by enthusiasm and excitement, and every participant came away feeling that is a hugely worthwhile enterprise.  We know from the feedback we’ve received that our attendees feel better informed and prepared for the challenges of being published and we are already thinking hard about building on these positives and doing even better next time around.”

Attendees included Caroline Lowrie, Attiya Khan, Lui Sit, Sian Tower, Fran Benson, Dawn Treacher, Saara Eldin, Dale Hannah, Charlotte Gajek, Jo Somerset, April Roach and Charlotte Comley.

“It was an amazing opportunity to network and meet like minded people," Khan said. "As a writer who identifies as BAME it's so exciting to have this chance as often at events with agents and publishers I am the only person of colour in the room.”

Somerset said of the event: “I appreciated the introduction to the business side of publishing, much of which was new to me, and found Jasmine Richards' talk uplifting about her career as a writer.  My highlight, however, was the individual feedback session: hearing a seasoned professional's response to my novel really boosted my confidence in my writing.” 

David Higham Associates have further open days in the pipeline, including one for script and screenwriters in September, and a second for adult fiction scheduled for early next year.