Hachette Children’s Group will host two virtual open days to discover picture book writers and illustrators from the North of England and Scotland.
The first virtual open day will be for writers on 12th October and the second one will be for illustrators on 13th October. The days will give talent from the North and Scotland the opportunity to engage directly with a publishing team from Hachette Children’s Group and receive industry feedback and direction on their work. Attending the days will be picture book development director, North, Emma Layfield (based in Manchester) along with other picture book editors and designers from the Hachette Children’s Group.
Layfield said: "There is a huge creative talent pool in the North of England and Scotland and we can’t wait to discover, nurture and encourage budding new picture book writers and illustrators. We are actively looking for creatives with different voices and different backgrounds."
The days are open to writers and illustrators over the age of 18 who are living in the North of England (North West, North East and Yorkshire) and Scotland and are previously unpublished in children’s books. Entries must be text or artwork for children. Writers should submit one complete picture book text (maximum 1,000 words), writer-illustrators should submit one complete picture book text plus three pieces of their artwork (in colour), and illustrators should submit three pieces of their picture book portfolio (in colour). All submissions should be emailed as a PDF or Word document to firstname.lastname@example.org and Hachette asks entrants to include their name in the file name and also whether they are a writer, illustrator or writer-illustrator. Submissions open today (10th June) and close on 1st September.
Ivan Wadeson, executive director of Manchester City of Literature, commented: "I am delighted to see Hachette Children's Group launching their online development days across the North of England and Scotland. When UNESCO gave Manchester the designation of City of Literature, they were recognising the wealth of talent amongst our local writing community. It is so pleasing to see one of the major publishers responding to this and joining our thriving independent publishing scene to support and publish local writers and illustrators."
Hachette UK announced it would be opening a new office in Manchester in November last year, with Layfield, who was previously group picture book publisher, taking on her current role in January of this year. This news followed the launch of the Hachette Children’s Novel Award in 2018, a prize for debut children’s writers from the North of England run in conjunction with New Writing North which was won by James Harris in its inaugural year.