Janey Robinson

Event Report: How Does Your Book Get Onto Their Shelves?

Jul
29

I had a lovely evening at independent bookshop Tales on Moon Lane last month* in Herne Hill, south east London, venue and host of the first SCBWI Industry Insider event of the year. 

Tamara Macfarlane set up Tales on Moon Lane thirteen years ago and joined the evening’s panel alongside author Mo O’Hara (My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish), publishing director Bella Pearson (David Fickling Books) and author Clare Stanhope (Brenda’s Bottom and her Birds).  We were welcomed by Mandy and Jess, SCBWI Industry Insider organisers, who led the panel. Here are the highlights.

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5 things I learned at the Emerald Street Lit Fest

Jul
01

Last month I attended the Emerald Street Literary Festival on a damp Saturday at the Royal Geographic Society in London. I’d pre-booked three sessions and brought my notebook for any writing opportunities. Here is what I have mulled over and taken away from the day.

There are always rules with writing.

It can be overwhelming, you write because you have to write. Then you seek to learn how to write better and each time come away with a new set of commandments until every notebook you own has “must do’s” from all sides of the publishing industry. The Faber Academy’s Richard Skinner shared his 5 tips for writers (see below) during his The Bare Bones of Stories workshop. They are a little elusive in that you have to think about each one to really decipher them. My new approach is to listen to any new rules, decide if they make sense and are of use to me, then move on, keep writing and stay focused. (more…)

Note to Self #1

Jun
17

It’s ok to be in the dark

I went to Letters Live in March, an annual event series to celebrate remarkable letters that deserve to be heard. Benedict Cumberbatch and friends lent their voices. I was aware of the basic concept of the event but nonetheless found myself feeling unnerved without an order of events. At ten minutes in during the first piece of music, yes music, I reprimanded myself at being so boring in always wanting a heads up on proceedings. I relaxed my shoulders and let the show unfold in whatever way it wanted to. By the end I was convinced it was one of the best things I’d been to in a long time. I’d actually relished the unknown and how it made me feel: alive. (more…)

Event Report: London Book Fair 2016

May
06

What business does a writer have at the London Book Fair? None. A better question might be how relevant are writers at the London Book Fair? Very. This goes for illustrators too.

As one of the authors of the day Tracy Chevalier put it, “it’s nice to have that layer of fairy dust, that is the novelists, sprinkled all over the book fair.” She’s talking about the big names, but I think this encompasses all creatives. We’re not expected to do anything, other than keep creating.

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Event Report: Writing Non-fiction For Children

Apr
28

I’ve not written any children’s non-fiction before so I’m excited to learn something completely new as I arrive for today’s SCBWI Author Masterclass in a room above a pub, five minutes walk from Trafalgar Square. There’s a full house of writers as we’re welcomed and introduced to our guru for the afternoon, Judith Heneghan , by SCBWI masterclass series organisers Alison Smith and Cath Jones. It’s clear from Judith’s credentials that we’re in good hands: former commissioning editor, published author of over 50 non-fiction titles, award winner, senior lecturer and director of the annual Winchester Writers’ Festival – definitely guru material.

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