Megaphone Community members will have the opportunity to ask BIG QUESTIONS about writing and publishing from high-profile names in children’s publishing.
All eligible applicants to the Megaphone Mentoring Programme are invited to join the Megaphone Community online, free of charge.
Here’s our speakers for 2021/2022.
Kesia Lupo, Senior Editor, Chicken House and YA author
Kesia Lupo started her publishing career in Editorial Services at Pan Macmillan and has worked at Chicken House since 2015 as Junior Editor. Now Senior Editor, she acquires and edits middle-grade and YA fiction as well as writing YA novels of her own for Bloomsbury Children’s Books. She lives in Bristol with her husband.
Jasmine Richards, Storymix
Jasmine Richards is the author of over 15 books for children including Keeper of Myths published by Harper Collins US and several books in the Beast Quest series under a pen name. She is a former publisher who has worked at Puffin and OUP children’s books and she has edited hundreds of books. Jasmine is also the founder of Storymix: a children’s book incubator that creates stories with inclusive casts of characters. All children, regardless of background, get to be the heroes in these stories.
Storymix is actively seeking writers of colour to work collaboratively with. It doesn’t matter if you are published, unpublished or self-published they’d love
to hear from you! www.storymix.co.uk
Alice Sutherland-Hawes, ASH Literary
Alice has been agenting for six years, most recently at Madeleine Milburn Agency and before that with Hilary Delamere at The Agency (London) Ltd. She has so far launched the careers of Namina Forna, Kereen Getten and Poonam Mistry, to name a few. She loves finding and nurturing new talent, and in her spare time delves into animated film and walks her neighbour’s dogs.
Catherine Coe, All Stories
Catherine Coe is a children’s book editor, author and the founder of All Stories – a mentorship programme for underrepresented, underprivileged writers, which aims to tackle the lack of diversity in children’s books. She has twenty years’ experience as an editor, and was Senior Commissioning Editor at Hachette Children’s Books before going freelance in 2011. Catherine enjoys working with a wide variety of clients – publishers, literary agents and writers – and has helped many to develop their talent and achieve their dream of publication. She also knows what it’s like to be on the other side, as the author of over forty children’s books, including the Blossom Wood and Lucky Bunnies series.
Chloe Seager, Madeleine Milburn Agency, and author
Chloe is a Children’s & YA agent at Madeleine Milburn. She joined the MM Agency in 2019 from Northbank Talent where she spent four years building a children’s and YA list from scratch, selling rights in the UK, US and internationally. She represents a range of bestselling and award-winning authors including Anna Fargher, Benjamin Dean, Danielle Jawando, Helen Rutter, Kathryn Foxfield and Katie Kirby.
She began her career at Titan Books in sci-fi and fantasy, and it was working with V.E. Schwab that made her realise her true passion was in YA and children’s.
Chloe is also a writer. She has penned three YA novels under her own name and collaborated on the Listen Up! middle-grade series with Roman Kemp and Vick Hope. She runs #bookclubYA, the bi-monthly sister event to #drinkYA, and co-hosts YaOughta!, a podcast about UK YA books.
Amina Youssef, Commissioning Editor at Simon & Schuster Children’s
Amina Youssef is a Commissioning Editor at S&S Children’s, working on everything from young, illustrated fiction to YA and occasionally dabbling in non-fiction. She’s a sucker for contemporary, real-life stories, magical adventures, page-turning thrillers and gooey, heartfelt romances – all with diverse characters at the heart.
Sanchita Basu De Sarkar, Children’s Bookshop (Muswell Hill)
Sanchita Basu De Sarkar is the owner of the Children’s Bookshop in Muswell Hill, which is the oldest children’s bookshop in the country. She started bookselling straight out of university, and has never looked back. She has been a judge for the Costa Book Award and the Branford Boase Award, and most recently the bookshop was involved in championing the Jhalak Children’s Prize. Come along and ask Sanchita your questions about selling children’s books, which books people are actually buying, and find out what you can learn from talking to a children’s bookseller! (the answer = a LOT)
Joe Marriott, Editorial Director for picture books on the Puffin Picture Books, Partnerships and Illustrated Non-fiction team.
He works with a team of designers and editors making picture books for babies and 2-6 year-olds, both new stories, established brands and illustrated non-fiction. Some of the authors and illustrators on his list include Tom Fletcher, Eric Hill, Nathan Bryon, Dapo Adeola, Mini Grey, Kes Gray, Steven Lenton and Ella Okstad. He’s always on the lookout for original texts and ideas (and illustrations) that are funny, clever, surprising and heart-warming.
Emma Wright, Publisher at Emma Press
Emma Daiʼan Wright is a British-Chinese-Vietnamese publisher based in Birmingham. She is the founder of The Emma Press, specialising in poetry, short stories, childrenʼs books and translations. The Emma Press has published over 500 writers across more than 100 books, and was recently awarded funding from Arts Council England through the Elevate programme, helping diverse-led arts organisations to build resilience.
Lauren Robertson, Fiction Rights Controller
Lauren Robertson joined Usborne seven years ago as assistant to the rights team, which has sold books in over 130 languages. Now she co-ordinates the department’s fiction strategy from acquisition to submission, as well as handling sales in Asia, North America and Western Europe.
Leah James, Executive Editor, Non Fiction at Scholastic Children’s Book
Leah started her career at Walker Books, working her way over to Scholastic via editorial roles in licensing at Egmont and fiction at Hachette Children’s Books. Leah acquires and edits non-fiction for all ages and works across all formats, from picture books to narrative non fiction for 12+.
“I believe strongly that if kids can see it, they can be it, and am doing everything I can in my role to increase the diversity of the Scholastic non-fiction list.”
Charlie Castelletti, Editor at Macmillan Children’s
Charlie Castelletti works in the Editorial team at Macmillan Children’s books, with a focus on middle-grade, YA, and non-fiction. He champions stories with a wide array of characters at the helm and is a strong advocate for diversifying bookshelves across all genres. Charlie is also a writer of adult fiction, and a lover of cheese. He lives in Cambridgeshire.
Christabel McKinley, Literary Agent, David Higham Associates
Christabel joined David Higham Associates in 2018, having previously worked in translation rights and at a scouting agency. She graduated with a degree in Russian and English Literature from Trinity College Dublin, after which she spent a year teaching English in South Korea. She is building a list of children’s authors and illustrators, from picture books to Young Adult fiction, and is particularly drawn to writing that feels authentically child-oriented with clear insight into the way young people feel and think.
Carla Hutchinson, Commissioning Editor, Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Carla Hutchinson is a commissioning editor at Bloomsbury Children’s Books, and has worked with authors including Elizabeth Acevedo, Joya Goffney, Ciannon Smart and Jordan Ifueko. She began her career at Hachette Children’s Group, via Creative Access, working as an editorial assistant intern and then at Hot Key Books and Piccadilly press, the children’s fiction imprints at Bonnier Books, working her way up to editor. As a commissioning editor, Carla is passionate about building a list of commercial and inclusive books that all children can see themselves in and publishing underrepresented and diverse voices that reflect the world we live in today, with a focus on home-grown UK talent.
Clare Wallace, Literary Agent at Darley Anderson
Clare joined the Darley Anderson Agency in January 2011 and is now building both the Darley Anderson Children’s Agency and the Darley Anderson Illustration Agency lists. As chief talent-spotter, Clare loves to discover memorable new characters, bold and unique voices, strong concepts and gripping storytelling. She represents picture books, middle-grade, teenage and YA. The clients Clare represents include Perdita & Honor Cargill, Caroline Crowe, Tom Ellen, Martyn Ford, Stewart Foster, A M Howell, Polly Ho-Yen, Rachel Ip, Beth Reekles, J.P. Rose, Lindsay Galvin, Dave Rudden, Deirdre Sullivan and Efua Traoré.
Ama Badu, Assistant Editor/FAB Website Editor at Faber Children’s
During Ama’s time at Faber Children’s, she has championed bold, brave books and rebranded the FAB platform into a hub that showcases the work of exceptional creatives who are underrepresented within the publishing industry. Ama is also the voice of Shudu, the world’s first virtual model, and is currently working on building her platform through narrative and storytelling.
Ashley Thorpe, Development Editor, Sweet Cherry Publishing
Ashley works as a Development Editor for the indie children’s publisher Sweet Cherry Publishing. His role includes hunting through submissions, generating new book ideas and helping authors to develop their manuscripts – editing and shaping content all the way through to publication. Ashley has over a decade’s worth of publishing experience, and is also a PRH Write-Now alumnus and member of the Megaphone community.
Jasmine Dove, Development Editor, Sweet Cherry Publishing
Jasmine Dove works as a Development Editor at Sweet Cherry Publishing alongside Ashley Thorpe. She works closely with authors to make their books the best they can be, brings in new content via submissions and creating ideas in-house, and works closely with the design department to make Sweet Cherry’s books look beautiful. Jasmine has worked in publishing since graduating university in 2018, and spends her spare time reading and reviewing books online under Jasmine Reads.
Chloe Sackur, Commissioning Editor at Andersen Press
Chloe Sackur studied English at university and then went into non-fiction publishing. She moved across to children’s publishing and now works as a commissioning editor for independent children’s publisher Andersen Press, focusing on fiction for young readers aged six up to young adults. Chloe has worked with bestselling and award-winning authors and artists including Alex Wheatle, Michael Rosen, Sue Cheung, Ciara Smyth, Tony Ross and David Roberts. Recently she worked with Amnesty International and Angelina Jolie on a non-fiction book about child rights.
Ella Whiddett, Commissioning Editor at Piccadilly Press & Hot Key
Ella is an editor at Bonnier Books UK, working on children’s fiction across the Piccadilly Press and Hot Key imprints, ranging from young illustrated fiction through to YA. Previously, she was a junior editor at Little Tiger, and has also assisted at multiple literary agencies. She has had the very good fortune to work with a number of talented writers, including Holly Webb, Sophie Cameron, Cynthia So, Ciannon Smart and Jordan Ifueko, and loves distinct voices, big concepts and characters you can root for. She lives in London with two mischievous cats and many overflowing bookshelves.
Zoe Plant, Literary Agent at The Bent Agency
Zoë is a literary agent at The Bent Agency. Having started her career working in international rights as a literary scout, she now represents a list of authors that include New York Times bestsellers and award-winners. She represents middle-grade and young adult fiction across all genres, with a particular focus on fantasy, science fiction and horror. Her tastes lean towards commercial, entertaining and accessible books that also have something to say about the world. Working closely with writers to bring out the best in their books and their careers is her favourite part of being an agent.