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Jo Hayes, of The Blair Partnership and Clare Wallace and Lydia Silver, of Darley Anderson Literary Agents, added to the programme!
Josephine Hayes has been at The Blair Partnership since 2015, working across a diverse list of authors including Claire Barker, Helena Duggan, Chris Hoy, Frank Lampard, Kieran Larwood, Niki Mackay and Sophie Walker. She is now predominantly on the look-out for exciting new voices in commercial children’s fiction for all ages, but particularly pacey and adventurous contemporary middle grade and teen fiction, with lots of heart, and a clear 1-line elevator pitch. She’s after strong, diverse characters and unusual heroes that you fall in love with and worry about when you’re not reading, as well as gripping, action-packed plots full of twists and turns that keep you totally engrossed. Before joining The Blair Partnership, Jo worked at Bell Lomax Moreton Agency representing a diverse range of non-fiction, and debut fiction and children’s authors.
She is looking for:
* Heart-warming picture books dealing with mental wellness for young readers
* Animal adventures (not animal fantasy/magic) for 7-9
* Funny fiction for 7-9 years and middle grade readers (like Dave Pigeon and Tom Gates) with diverse, distinct voices – anything a bit zany and humourous that makes me laugh out loud in the office
* Middle grade action/adventure/mystery with mild fantasy (not lots of magic) and heart, set in a richly-built world, that will appeal to boys and girls (like Anthony Horowitz). Something quirky and a bit thrilling like Netflix’s Stranger Things, or a new “Goosebumps” would be fun to work on! Good old-fashioned adventure stories take me back to reading The Famous Five throughout my childhood – I’d love to find something that has the potential to become a classic and stand the test of time and be enjoyed by generations of readers for years to come.
* “Clean teen” fiction
* Well-written contemporary issue-led YA (John Boyne meets Louise O’Neill)
As chief talent-spotter at the Darley Anderson Children’s Book Agency, Clare represents and is looking for picture books, middle-grade, teenage, YA and illustrators. She’s worked at Darley Anderson since 2011, initially in translation rights before moving across to agenting. She represents a list of award-winning and best-selling authors and illustrators including Deirdre Sullivan, Beth Reekles, Polly Ho-Yen, Stewart Foster, Lorna Scobie and Claire Powell. She loves to discover memorable new characters, bold and unique voices, a strong concept and great storytelling.
Lydia is looking for clever and engaging picture books, magical middle grade adventures, funny contemporary stories and YA novels with an unusual voice. Above all, she wants to find stories with wit, charm and heart. She is also developing the non-fiction side of the children’s list, loves working editorially with writers and is always on the lookout for new talent! In addition, Lydia is actively looking for submissions from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, LGBTQ and all other under-represented writers.