Aimée Felone is co-founder of Knights Of – a commercial children’s publisher focused on hiring diversely and commissioning writers and illustrators from a diverse range of backgrounds. She is a supportive and engaged voice within the industry, and is committed to promoting inclusivity and diversity.
Charlotte Hutchinson is Publicity Manager at crowdfunding publisher Unbound. She has worked in publishing for six years in various marketing and publicity roles, working with the likes of Kit de Waal, Nikesh Shukla, Raymond Briggs and Yanis Varoufakis. She is originally from a small town in Yorkshire and is passionate about working-class representation in the arts, and getting publishing beyond the M25.
Crista Ermiya is a short story writer. Her debut collection 'The Weather in Kansas' (Red Squirrel Press, 2015) was chosen by New Writing North as a 'Read Regional' title, and featured in Best British Short Stories 2016 (Salt, 2016). She is a freelance writer and editor, and is an editorial assistant for the academic journal Landscape Research. Originally from London, of Filipino and Turkish-Cypriot parentage, Crista lives in Newcastle with her husband and son.
Emma Yates-Badley is Northern Soul’s Deputy Editor and Literary Editor. A keen writer, she has an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University and is currently working on a non-fiction book. Emma writes Northern Soul's It’s Not Grim Up North column and is a key member of the Northern Soul events team. Emma is also a judge for this year’s Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction.
Katie Brown is commissioning editor for fiction at Trapeze, an imprint of the Orion Publishing Group. Formerly an award-winning publicist at Headline and Riot Communications, Katie has spearheaded campaigns for global bestsellers Neil Gaiman, Eowyn Ivey, Mary Berry, Kate Mosse and BJ Novak, and has won industry recognition for her work with Sarah Winman, Anthony Horowitz, and Instagram chef, Miguel Barclay. Katie is currently the co-chair for the All Together Network at Hachette UK, which promotes regional and socio-economic diversity across the company.
Lucie McKnight Hardy
Lucie McKnight Hardy’s debut novel Water Shall Refuse Them was published by Dead Ink Books in July 2019. It was shortlisted for the Mslexia Novel Competition 2017 and longlisted for the Caledonia Novel Award 2018. Her work has featured or is forthcoming in various places online and in print, including The Lonely Crowd, Best British Short Stories 2019, The Shadow Booth, and as a limited edition chapbook from Nightjar Press. She graduated from MMU’s Creative Writing MA in 2018 with a distinction.
Matt Abbott is a poet, educator and activist from Wakefield. His debut one-man show 'Two Little Ducks' takes a rousing look at the working-class Leave vote, against the backdrop of the Calais Jungle refugee camp where Matt was volunteering either side of the referendum. It was published as a collection by VERVE in October 2018, and his debut collection for children 'A Hurricane in my Head' was published by Bloomsbury in July.
Nadine Aisha Jassat
Nadine Aisha Jassat is an award-winning poet, writer, and creative practitioner based in Scotland. She has been published widely online and in print, including in It’s Not About the Burqa (Picador) and 404 Ink’s highly-praised Nasty Women. Her work has drawn acclaim: in 2018, she received a Scottish Book Trust New Writers’ Award, won the British Council’s UK Open Call for the Discover project, and was shortlisted for the Outspoken London Prize for Poetry in Film and the prestigious Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. Her debut poetry collection,Let Me Tell You This (404 Ink,2019) was described by Scotland’s Makar Jackie Kay as a ‘punchy, powerful debut’, with readers advised by Sabeena Akhtar: ‘if you read one poetry collection this year, let it be this.’
Rachel Genn is a senior lecturer at Manchester Writing School/School of Digital Arts. Formerly a Neuroscientist, she has written two novels: THE CURE, (2011) and WHAT YOU COULD HAVE WON (2020). She was Leverhulme Artist-in-Residence (2016), University of Sheffield, creating a quasi-institution called THE NATIONAL FACILITY FOR THE REGULATION OF REGRET, spanning installation art, VR and film (ASFF 2016), presented together at SXSW, 2017. She has written for Granta, 3AM and The Real Story and is currently working on a long essay on immersion in the creative act; (WHISPERS) a binaural experience exploring paranoia and an ACE funded collection of non-fiction about fighting and addiction to regret (2019-2020).
Stuart Bartholomew is Director and Programmer of VERVE: a Birmingham Festival of poetry and spoken word, which will return for its fourth year in February 2020. He is also Publisher and Co-Founder of Verve Poetry Press – an independent press that focuses on publishing poets from Birmingham and beyond with connections to the festival. His programming and publishing vision is to celebrate the full breadth of quality poetic activity in Birmingham and beyond – whatever the style or source – in colourful and exciting ways.He also works as a branch manager for Waterstones Booksellers.
Theo Jones is a Publishing Contracts Advisor at the Society of Authors where he works to support the organisation’s mission to protect the rights and further the interests of authors: from novelists to translators, academics to illustrators, playwrights to poets. As co-secretary to the Scriptwriters Group he has particular expertise in representing and advising members working across TV, film and radio as well as in the theatre space. Prior to joining the staff at the SoA Theo worked in various roles at Oxford University Press across sales, marketing and rights licensing, latterly holding the position of Global Business Development Manager. Theo graduated from Oxford University in 2008 with a MA(Oxon) in Music and subsequently completed both the Graduate Diploma in Law and the Legal Practice Course (with the optional Intellectual Property & Copyright strand) at the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice, based at Oxford Brookes University.
Abi Fellows is a literary agent at The Good Literary Agency. Abi’s career began as a bookseller at Blackwells in both Bristol and London and she has subsequently worked at Faber & Faber, Georgina Capel Associates and as a literary scout at Rosalind Ramsay Ltd.
Andrew McMillan’s debut collection physical was the first ever poetry collection to win The Guardian First Book Award. The collection also won the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, a Somerset Maugham Award (2016), an Eric Gregory Award (2016) and a Northern Writers’ award (2014). It was shortlisted the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Costa Poetry Award, The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year 2016, the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, the Roehampton Poetry Prize and the Polari First Book Prize. It was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Autumn 2015.
His second collection, playtime, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2018; it was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Autumn 2018, a Poetry Book of the Month in both The Observer and The Telegraph and a Poetry Book of the Year in The Sunday Times. He is senior lecturer at the Manchester Writing School at MMU and lives in Manchester.
Chloé is a senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University where she teaches and researches the gothic and children’s fiction. Her first book explores contemporary children’s gothic fiction and she is working on a second monograph that explores the intersection of science and philosophy in children’s and YA literatures. As a member of the Manchester Centre for Youth Studies, Chloé organises YA book clubs and is developing a participatory project that uses fiction to empower young people’s democratic action in the climate crisis. She also researches games with the Manchester Game Studies Network.
'I’m an illustrator and character designer who creates characters and images that challenge gender norms in a fun and upbeat way. I run illustration and character design workshops in and out of schools, to help highlight the importance of representation in popular media and the possibilities of a career in illustration to children from diverse ethnicities.’
I started my publishing career on the shop floor at Waterstones, before moving to head office where I was part of the fiction buying team. I also reviewed books for The Bookseller magazine and was the Books Editor for Psychologies magazine in my spare time. From there, I moved to Curtis Brown literary agency, again working mainly in fiction, before making the move to being an editor. I’ve been at Hodder &Stougton for over three and a half years, where I publish literary fiction for the reading group market across Hodder Fiction and Sceptre, our literary imprint. My authors include Anne Griffin, whose debut When All is Said was number one in Ireland for five weeks and was July’s Waterstones book of the month, Abi Daré, whose novel The Girl with the Louding Voice won the Bath Novel Award and will be published next year, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, creator of Fleabag.
Jane Claire Bradley is a writer, performer and workshop facilitator based in Manchester, and the founder and co-director of For Books' Sake, the non-profit championing women and non-binary writers to develop their writing craft, confidence and community. She delivers Write Like a Grrrl workshops around the UK, as well as sessions on creativity, storytelling and performance for universities, businesses, festivals and charities. Jane has performed at live lit events around the UK, including shows at the Royal Exchange, Royal Albert Hall and the Edinburgh Fringe, and is the host of monthly spoken word night, That's What She Said. She has been longlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Prize for Fiction and the Mslexia Novel Competition, and recently received a Northern Debut Award from New Writing North for her debut novel-in-progress.
Kirsty Logan is the author of the novels The Gloaming and The Gracekeepers, short story collections A Portable Shelter and The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales, flash fiction chapbook The Psychology of Animals Swallowed Alive, and short memoir The Old Asylum in the Woods at the Edge of the Town Where I Grew Up. Her books won the Lambda Literary Award, Polari Prize, Saboteur Award, Scott Prize and Gavin Wallace Fellowship. Her work has been translated into Japanese and Spanish, recorded for radio and podcasts, exhibited in galleries and distributed from a vintage Wurlitzer cigarette machine. She lives in Glasgow with her wife.
Lydia Silver joined the Darley Anderson Agency in early 2018 and is looking to build the children’s list. With a background in middle grade and YA fiction, Lydia is particularly looking for 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’s also got an eye out for clever, engaging picture books and is developing the non-fiction side of the children’s list. She loves working editorially with writers and is always on the lookout for new talent. Lydia is actively looking for submissions from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, LGBTQ and all other under-represented writers.
Michelle Green is a British-Canadian writer living in Manchester. She has one poetry chapbook with Crocus Books - Knee High Affairs - and one critically acclaimed collection of short fiction with Comma Press - Jebel Marra, loosely drawn from her own experience as an aid worker in Darfur. She is currently working on her next collection of short fiction, a digital-audio map of short stories based on Hayling Island, with support from the Julia Darling Travel Fellowship and Arts Council England.
Nicholas Royle is the author of three short story collections – Mortality,Ornithology, The Dummy and Other Uncanny Stories – and seven novels, most recentlyFirst Novel.He has edited more than twenty anthologies and is series editor ofBest British Short Stories. Reader in Creative Writing at the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University, he also runs Nightjar Press and is head judge of the Manchester Fiction Prize. A new short story collection is forthcoming from Confingo Publishing, who also published his translation, from French, of Vincent de Swarte’s novel Pharricide.
Reshma is an award winning novelist, poet and short story writer based in Manchester. Her first novel, ‘Something Black in the Lentil Soup’was described in the Sunday Times as ‘a gem of straight-faced comedy.’ The manuscript of her second novel, ‘A Mouthful of Silence,’ was shortlisted for the 2014 SI Leeds Literary Prize. Her short stories and poems have appeared in various British and International anthologies and magazines and commissioned for Radio 4. She has a PhD and Masters with Distinction in Creative Writing from Manchester University and post graduate and undergraduate degrees from the London School of Economics. She is the co-founder of The Whole Kahani, a writers’ collective of British South Asian writers. Skylark Publications will publish her debut poetry collection in October.
Thérèse Coen was born and raised in Belgium and moved to England in her late teens with her family, and then stayed in London to do a History degree and Masters at University College London.
Her first job in publishing was at Bloomsbury Publishing, where she started as an intern and left as Rights Executive. Thérèse then worked at Ed Victor Ltd where she was lucky enough to learn from one of the most renowned and experienced literary agents in the world, handling huge celebrity titles alongside Booker-prize winning authors.
Thérèse has been building her own list of authors alongside selling translation rights since early 2016 and is now Rights Director and agent at Hardman Swainson. She is happy to cut her teeth on genres across the board and loves nothing more than keeping her reading and her authors an exciting and wide-ranging mix of styles and readerships.
Sara is the founding editor of Saraband Books. An experienced publisher with more than 30 years’ background in publishing, commissioning, creating and producing high-quality titles in the arts, environment, architecture, history, mythology and memoir, and in fiction, from literary and historical to crime and thrillers. Sara's Contraband imprint is proud to be the publisher of Graeme Macrae Burnet's fiction, including the Man Booker-shortlisted His Bloody Project.