Wolves & Apples 2018

Wolves & Apples is a brilliant (and very affordable) full-day event where aspiring children’s writers can get practical advice and guidance (via panels, talks and workshops) from established professionals, including authors, agents and publishers. Speakers will be on hand to share their experiences, and signpost a range of ways to progress your writing and get your work in front of readers.

Wolves & Apples 2018 will take place on Saturday 29th September at St Martin’s House Conference Centre, 7 Peacock Lane, Leicester. LE1 5PZ.

Book tickets here.

Download the full Wolves & Apples programme here.

Or download the programme outline here (2 A4 pages)

JENNY ALEXANDER 
Jenny Alexander has written fiction and non-fiction for readers of all ages. Her children’s fiction includes the Blue Peter Book Club choice How to Get What You Want, by Peony Pinker, and Red House Children’s Book Awards Highly Commended Car-Mad Jack. Her funny self-help book, Bullies, Bigmouths and So-called Friends, is still consistently top in its Amazon categories ten years after publication, and her Young Adult novel about sibling suicide is recommended by Cruse Bereavement Care. Her adults’ books include three for writers, covering different stages in the writing process. Writing in the House of Dreams: Unlock the power of your unconscious mind is about finding inspiration; Happy Writing: Beat your blocks, be published and find your flow is about keeping going with a long project or indeed a long career, and Free-Range Writing: 75 forays for the wild writer’s soul is about extending your range and just having fun with it. Jenny has placed articles in many magazines, including Mslexia, Writers’ Forum, The Author and Writing Magazine, where she currently has a monthly column, Free-Range Writing Through the Year. A prolific writer herself, Jenny loves teaching creative writing. She runs her own varied programme of evening courses, one-day and two-day workshops in Cornwall, as well as working for large organisations, including The Society of Authors, The Scattered Authors’ Society, Bridging Arts, Endelienta, Writing Magazine, The Arvon Foundation and The Writing Retreat, as well as small independents such as writing groups, after school clubs and home-educating families.

NARINDER DHAMI 
(Photo: Robert Hodges)
“I always loved reading and writing stories from when I was very young. After leaving Birmingham University (where I obtained an English degree and also met my husband) I started teaching children aged 7-11. I enjoyed teaching, but over the years I started writing stories again, with a view to getting published. I entered a competition to write the first three chapters of a book and was placed second. My prize was a word processor, an Amstrad 9152 (!) so I decided it was time I left my teaching job and started writing full-time. The first book I ever wrote was a short novel for younger children called A Medal for Malina. The book was accepted by the first publisher I sent it to, and I have never looked back. I’ve published around 200 books, including the novelization of the 2002 movie Bend It Like Beckham and the Bindi Babes series. I have written many of the multi-million-selling Rainbow Magic books for younger children, under the shared pseudonym of Daisy Meadows.”

More about Narinder…
Influences: Every book I’ve ever read and loved or hated since I was seven
Favourite book: Persuasion by Jane Austen
Favourite author: Jane Austen
Favourite quote: ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’
Random thoughts on writing: Something that annoys me, frustrates me, makes me happy.
Any advice you would offer to someone starting out: Be a reader before becoming a writer
Best advice you’ve ever been given: Stop making excuses and just write!
Worst mistake you ever made: Nothing. Most mistakes I think I’ve made have always turned out to have some positives, although I may not realise it until years later.
Something that people don’t know about you: I won a Blue Peter badge when I was 11 years old for designing a dress for one of the presenters!

ANNE FINE 
(Photo: Carsten Murawski)
Anne Fine is a distinguished writer for both adults and children. Her novel Goggle-Eyes won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize as well as Britain’s most coveted award for children’s literature, The Carnegie Medal. She won the Carnegie Medal again for Flour Babies, which also won the Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year Award. In 1990 and again in 1993 she was voted Publishing News’ Children’s Author of the Year. Adaptations of her work have been screened by the BBC and her novel Madame Doubtfire was adapted for film under the title Mrs Doubtfire. Having written over fifty books for children of all ages, Anne Fine became Children’s Laureate in 2001 and during her two years of office set up the Home Library,  where you can download free modern bookplates, and published three classic anthologies of poetry for different age groups, called A Shame to Miss 1, 2 & 3. In 2003 she became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was awarded an OBE.

RUTH HUDDLESTON 
(Photo: David Ellwand)
“I have been a bookseller (online with The Book People / Red House and offline), a printer, specialising in children’s picture and novelty books, a published author and and an event organiser (The Imagine Festival at Southbank in London). The majority of my working life to date was spent at Templar Publishing, where, typically for a small independent, I covered a variety of roles, but primarily Sales & Marketing. The company grew exponentially over the 21 years I was there and we had some big successes, including, notably, the ‘Ology series. We sold Templar to Bonnier in 2008. Three years of corporate publishing later, I decided I was never going to publish a book again – but in 2015 I started Old Barn Books and had to re-learn everything I thought I already knew.”

More about Ruth…
The inspiration or motivation behind any of your work:
I want all children to be able to derive the lifelong pleasure from books that I have. I want all the world to see the great work that authors and artists are producing. (Not much to live up to then)!
Your influences: My parents, who were both teachers at the special school where we lived. They created their own books and materials, tailored to the needs of each child, and encouraged learning by any means accessible – reading anything in sight, drawing, listening, outdoor activity… I wish I had their patience and open mindedness.
Favourite book: No, impossible to pick just one. Changes as I change.
Favourite author: I go through phases. I had a moment for male American authors (Richard Ford, John irving, Dave Eggers), but I loved all the early Virago output and the early Margaret Atwood was a big influence. Recently, I’ve loved the strong female writing coming out of the UK. My degree was in French and German. It still feels like a holiday to be reading novels in English.
Any advice you would offer to someone starting out: Forget about trying to achieve the perfection we all seek. Just keep reading, writing and reflecting. I find long dog walks especially good for this.
Best advice you’ve ever been given: Who is it for?
Worst mistake you ever made: Too many to mention
Something that people don’t know about you: At 40, I took up riding lessons together with my 3 year-old daughter. She’s now a great rider and I mostly achieve not falling off.

NON PRATT
(Photo: Jordan Curtis Hughes)
After several years working as an editor in children’s publishing, Non became a full-time author when her debut YA novel, Trouble, was released in 2014. She has written two further novels Remix, Truth or Dare and two novellas Unboxed and Second Best Friend, all of which focus on teen characters getting up to all the things Non wanted to do at that age (but didn’t). She has collaborated with six other UK authors to create Floored and adapt John Allison’s hit comic series Giant Days into a novel.

Interview with Non Pratt

More about Non…
The inspiration or motivation behind any of your work: I always say that it’s best to write for yourself – I just happen to write for my 14-year-old self.
Your influences: I read a lot of YA fiction, although I tend to think that what I read doesn’t influence what I write, so much as how I write – even then, I think my own voice is so loud in my head that others get drowned out!
Favourite book: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness – or the whole Lockwood & Co. series by Jonathan Stroud.
Favourite author: Dick Francis – he’s the author who first made me a reader.
Favourite quote: I’m rubbish at remembering quotes until someone else says them.
Random thoughts on writing: Love the process not the product – being published isn’t the dream you think it will be, because it’s a business. But, as ever, loving what you do makes the day job enjoyable.
Any advice you would offer to someone starting out: Be patient with yourself, especially if you’re a young writer, it can take time to find your voice.
Best advice you’ve ever been given: If you think you’re doing things too slowly, move quicker. (Which seems to directly contravene the advice above… oh well.)
Worst mistake you ever made: I just ditched a book at 50,000 words. Not ditching it sooner was the mistake.
Something that people don’t know about you: That I’m cagey about answering questions like this in case people use it to log into my bank account.

PAM SMY
Pam Smy has illustrated folktales, chapter books, nursery rhyme collections, picture books and novels, and has illustrated books for authors such as Siobhan Dowd, Linda Newbery, John Agard and Penelope Lively. Her first novel as both author and illustrator, Thornhill, was published by David Fickling Books in 2017, and was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and the CILIP Greenaway Medal 2018. Pam has combined her career as an illustrator with teaching at undergraduate and post graduate level, and is passionate about sharing a love of drawing as a basis of research and exploration for the illustrator. She is a visiting lecturer on the MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art and a founding member of Orange Beak Studio, along with illustrator Maisie Paradise Shearring and designer, Ness Wood.

Here’s Pam talking about Thornhill

More about Pam…
Your influences: I am inspired by fiction – especially novels where a house holds a tension or mystery that needs unlocking by the inhabitants. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson are especial favourites. I love observational drawing – early Ronald Searle, David Gentleman, Felix Topolski, and printmakers such as Robert Tavener, and Mervyn Evans.
Favourite book: Jane Eyre
Favourite author: Kate Atkinson
Favourite quote: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett
Any advice you would offer to someone starting out: Don’t give up. Be persistent. Be true to your own voice rather than trends around you, and be brave enough to make lots of mistakes.
Best advice you’ve ever been given: Read!
Worst mistake you ever made: Accepting illustration commissions for books I was not the right fit for.
Something that people don’t know about you: I watch and re-watch my favourite period dramas whilst working.

FELICITY TREW
Talented, enthusiastic and energetic, Felicity Trew is keenly building up a list of children’s writers and illustrators at the Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency. Clients she already represents include CLPE award winning poet, children’s writer and performer, Joseph Coelho, winner of this year’s Branford Boase award, Mitch Johnson, Swapna Haddow and picture book writer, Helen Docherty. Her growing list of illustrators includes Yuval Zommer, Sandra Dieckmann, Thomas Docherty and Zehra Hicks. Dream projects to arrive on her desk would be: a spellbinding novel of our time, a bold UK teen voice to rival the likes of John Green and Holly Smale, an accessible, well-plotted (and don’t hold back on the funny!) middle grade book, and a picture book classic of the future à la The Tiger Who Came to Tea. Felicity is also on a mission to find extraordinary illustrators who capture the life of their characters and have a real love of story-telling at the heart of their artwork. Felicity is delighted to be one of The Bookseller’s Rising Stars 2016.

TAMSIN WINTER
Tamsin Winter is a fresh, funny and moving voice for children aged 9-14. She grew up in a Northamptonshire village where she spent her childhood reading books and writing stories. She studied English Literature and Creative Writing at university, and has worked as an English teacher for many years. In 2015 Tamsin was a finalist of the Emirates Festival of Literature writing prize. Her award-winning debut novel, Being Miss Nobody, has been chosen as one of the Books of the Year by the Reading Agency, and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal. Her second novel, also aimed at young teenagers, will be published in 2019.

Listen to Tamsin reading an excerpt from Being Miss Nobody.

More about Tamsin…
The inspiration behind your work: Being Miss Nobody is a story about speaking out, told by a girl who can’t. I wrote it because I wanted to reveal the enormous struggle children with selective mutism face. How it can be a barrier to happiness, friendships, asking for help, showing people how bright, funny, wonderful and unique you are. And how it can leave you vulnerable to – and powerless against – bullying, and how isolating it can be. I wanted to explore the instinct many young people have to hide bullying from parents and teachers. I think we could all be better at speaking to young people about this kind of stuff. I suppose my main motivation was to show how incredibly brave and mighty a girl with a mental health condition can be.
Influences: I love books that make me laugh and make me cry. Growing up I devoured Judy Blume books, and as an adult they still mean an enormous amount to me. Her characters were funny, sweet, self-conscious, observant and, even better, going through puberty. Something that none of the adults around me (or my big sister!) would ever discuss. Blume’s books always felt honest and authentic to me; she didn’t shy away from difficult issues or feelings, she knew that her young audience needed books like hers, and I find that very inspiring.
Favourite book: Yikes. I could list so many books! One of the books I always come back to is If I Told You Once by Judy Budnitz. It’s beautifully compelling, full of magic realism, and explores the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship passed down through generations, beginning in the Chagall-paintings-fairytale-esque forests of Eastern Europe. I get chills each time I read it.
Favourite author: Too many to pick! Weirdly, I seem to like most authors called Judy.
Favourite quote: “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” Maya Angelou
Random thoughts on writing: It’s a marathon not a sprint.
Any advice you would offer to someone starting out: Forget searching for an agent, forget the book deal, forget getting published, forget the reviewers. Focus on writing the best story you possibly can. The rest will only come once you’ve done that.
Best advice you’ve ever been given: Write the book that you needed growing up.
Worst mistake you ever made: There are millions to choose from. I think getting a perm when I was 12 years old has to be up there.
Something that people don’t know about you: I am a massive dork. Some people may already know this.

JONATHAN WOLFMAN
Jonathan Wolfman has recently produced Katy, a 3-part drama for CBBC. Prior to that he was script executive on Worst Witch series 2 and produced series 3, 4 and 5 of the BAFTA nominated Wolfblood for CBBC and ZDF, having been script editor on series 1 and 2. He script edited series 1 of The Dumping Ground which won a Kids BAFTA, and all three series of the BAFTA award winning Tracy Beaker Returns for CBBC. During that period he was also executive script editor on the 52 part animation series Pet Squad and series 2 of Scoop. Prior to working for CBBC he was script editor for the 52 part animation series, Bunny Maloney, for Moonscoop and France 2 and spent a number of years working as a development producer for Talent Television across a wide range of genres and formats including Skatoony (Cartoon Network), a show that eventually became My Phone Genie for CITV long after he left, as well as creating and devising the reality game show Best of Friends (96 episodes) made for CBBC. Jonathan has recently gone back to freelance screenwriting with a number of projects in development.

Wolves & Apples 2018 will take place on Saturday 29th September at St Martin’s House Conference Centre, 7 Peacock Lane, Leicester. LE1 5PZ.

Book tickets here