Sunday, January 14, 2007

Speaking at The Space

For anyone in the Brighton area, I'll be interviewed at The Space event on February 6th. Here's the information:

The SPACE (Southern Performance and Creative Energies), Brighton’s popular media and arts networking event, brings together the creative community, with special guest interviews. It is a great place for making contacts and connections, so, ideally, work can be made.
SPECIAL GUESTS – a great line up, from broadcasting and literature.

Trevor Dann
Trevor is Director of the Radio Academy, the professional body for the UK radio industry. He is also a writer, broadcaster and media consultant. His first book, the acclaimed Nick Drake biography, "Darker Than The Deepest Sea" was published in 2006. Trevor presents an album show on Classic Gold and produces programmes for BBC Radio 2. He was previously Head of BBC Music Entertainment, responsible for Radio 1, Radio 2, Top of the Pops and Later with Jools Holland. He is known in the music industry as the man who overhauled Radio 1's music policy during its mid-nineties repositioning. As Managing Editor of GLR, launched the radio careers of Chris Evans, Chris Morris and Danny Baker. Trevor has contributed to The Times, The Guardian, Q, Music Week and Mojo, and has won a BAFTA for Live Aid.

Laura Atkins

Laura has a wealth of experience in the children’s publishing industry, and has organised various conferences and events in this growing field. She offers a range of consulting services and creative writing workshops. Laura is behind, with creative writing organisation, The South, a forthcoming Brighton based Children’s Literature Festival, which will feature the wonderful William Nicholson, a former SPACE guest, among others.


The SPACE takes place at the New Madeira Hotel, Marine Parade, just a pebble’s throw from Brighton Pier. Doors open at 7pm. Entrance fee of just £3.00


Radio 1 DJ and Sunday Best Records’ Rob Da Bank –

Singer/songwriter Chris Difford (formerly of Squeeze) –

Acclaimed artist/ Cliff Wright (best known for illustrating Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets & Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban).

Arts Council’s Music Consultant Penny King –


We are keen to gain further funds to ensure the long-term future of The SPACE, and to cover forthcoming expenses. Applications for grants from organisations, such as the Arts Council, are currently being looked into, but in the meantime, any suggestions, or offers of help will be much appreciated.

For more info Wayne Imms 01273 682612 / 07932 981028

Special thanks to

Working Links: Changing Lives, Creating Futures

Outpost Sound: Brighton’s Pro Audio Specialists

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Two tips

Thanks to Fredrik and Caroline, we've got two more resources to link to.

Fredrick found this fun and useful website on writing a cover letter:

And Caroline sent information about BBC's useful Get Writing website:

I look forward to hearing other resources that people have found tomorrow in our final class.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Space event in Brighton

This isn't exactly writing-related, more generally media/networky. But I thought some from the group might be interested in going...


An update on our forthcoming event

The SPACE (Southern Performance and Creative Energies) is Brighton’s new monthly media and arts networking event, bringing together the creative community. It is an environment for making contacts and connections, so, ideally, employment can be made.


Hayley Sherman speaks to two special guests from the music world.

Go! Team’s Ian Parton –

Ian Parton is behind one of Brighton’s most popular and acclaimed music bands in recent years, the Go! Team. After interest from John Peel and a tour with Franz Ferdinand, they saw their album Thunder, Lightning, Strike nominated for 2005’s prestigious Mercury Music Prize. Their successful blend of indie, pop and hip-hop has gained them a huge following.

Everett True –

Everett True is a legendary and controversial music journalist. In the 1980s, True worked at the NME and Melody Maker. While covering grunge music, he befriended Kurt Cobain, introduced the Nirvana star to Courtney Love, and wheeled Cobain on stage at the Reading Festival. True currently edits the music magazine Plan B and his music biographies include the acclaimed new book Nirvana – The True Story.


Everett True and SPACE organiser Wayne Imms will appear on Juice 107.2’s Latest 7 show, presented by Jeff Hemmings, on Tuesday 31 October, between 10pm and the witching hour. Do tune in if you can!


The main aim of The SPACE is to have an opportunity for networking, which, as you may know, can be an invaluable way of building contacts, and getting further, if you wish, in your creative fields. We would love to see more networking occurring at our events, and more of you gaining work in your areas. We will look at ways to increase chances for making contacts at future evenings. Do feel free to mingle and meet others at our events – you never know who you will meet! Meanwhile, your thoughts on this, or anything SPACE related, will be very welcome.


There will be a raffle prize for a chance to win Everett True’s Nirvana – The True Story, a great book, with 600 pages. Plus, the fantastically infectious Thunder, Lightning Strike, the debut album by the Go! Team


The SPACE takes place at the New Madeira Hotel, Marine Parade, a great venue and just a pebble’s throw from Brighton Pier. Doors open at 7pm. Entrance fee of just £3.00

Our thanks to the following for their valuable support –

Working Links: Changing Lives, Creating Futures

Rob Speight & Outpost Sound

For more info – Wayne Imms 01273 682612 / 07932 981028

Monday, October 30, 2006

Looking at Children's Books event

Thanks to Debbie for sending information on the following event. She's finding it complicated to post on blogger - for anyone in this position, please feel free to forward notes to me and I can put them up.

Looking at Children's Books

Thursday, 16 November 2006, 10.15am - 5.30pm
Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2EU


Meet Sara Fanelli and Axel Scheffler, two of Britain's most influential children's
book illustrators, who will speak about their experiences and discuss their work
for young readers.

Other speakers the AOI have invited are:
Val Brathwaite, Design Director Bloomsbury, will speak about what publishers want
to see when illustrators submit an idea.

Penny Holroyde, Agent at Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency, will speak about what
agents look for in a potential illustrator and the international sales of rights

Fig Taylor, AOI portfolio consultant with more then 20 years experience will
discuss children's book portfolios and how to approach art directors.

TBC, Art Director for Educational Publishing

Tickets £35 AOI members, £55 non-members, £30 students (please send proof of
status), 10% discount on group bookings of 6 or more. Please send a cheque made
payable to the AOI, or book online at or telephone
020 7324 7222 to book with Visa/MasterCard or Solo/Switch

For further information please visit out website at:

Friday, October 20, 2006

William Nicholson at The Space

This is a post from my other blog, but I thought it would be relevant here. Welcome to the blog, for people who attended the first workshop last night. I'll be re-emailing everyone so you can join the blog, which means you can add your own posts. But even if you don't join, you can alwasy add comments.

Here's the post (from 07/09/06):

I went to an event run by The Space on Tuesday night this week. The Space is a Brighton-based media networky event that happens monthly, and they bring different local speakers to address the creative types who seem to be drawn to this southern part of England. My husband did sound with his company Out Post Sound (little plug - for all your professional audio needs...).

William Nicholson spoke first, and he delivered an excellent, entertaining, and inspiring talk (ostensibly an interview, though he made the interviewer's job very easy by giving long, lucid answers). Nicholson is a children's book author who also has written for TV, film (screenplays for Shadowlands and Gladiator), and directed a film as well. I actually was working at Orchard Books in the US when we were sent The Wind Singer, the first Slaves of the Mastery book to consider taking as an import. The editor had several of us read the book, and all of us absolutely loved the first three chapters (who can forget - 'wiss, wiss'). Though when we asked for the rest of the book, many thought there could be additional work done (I can't remember all the details, but this speaks to what I've heard is often a difference between the US and the UK, that the US is more editor-intensive, for better or for worse). In any case, they found an eager buyer in Hyperion and the book (and the whole trilogy) were a big success. They also had wonderful covers by Peter Sis (in the US).

Nicholson spoke of his many 'failures', how he got his first novel published in his mid-30s, but it wasn't well-received. And he gave his advice to people who want to get published:
  • Write. A lot and frequently. He said he has many people who already have the jacket blurb for their novel written, or their biography. But it takes lots and lots of writing. And if you find you get stuck/overwhelmed by the critical voice telling you that everything is crap (not a direct quote), then write notes. He said that notes can be loose, you don't have to worry about grammar, and usually after you've written notes for 15 minutes you'll find that you are actually writing the book rather than just notes.
  • Rewrite. This speaks for itself, but he said it is critical. Go from beginning to end and make sure it works, edit, etc.
  • Take criticism. And listen to it. Some won't be good, but then you can figure out why you disagree with it. Here was my favorite quote of the evening: 'You don't have to be smart to give criticism. You just have to not be the writer.' OK, so there's a split infinitive, but you get the idea.
  • Finish a piece of work.
  • Keep sending it out. And do your research, make sure you know what a publisher produces, and use your covering letter to point out why your book is appropriate to that publisher. Be persistent and don't give up.
  • Use everything around you. Go to events run by your friend at the pub, write for your local newspaper, get exposure and network. Use all your contacts and pour your energy into it. And here's my second favorite quote from the evening: 'Geniuses aren't discovered by chance. They shove - they push.'
I thought that ideas could be useful for the creative writing course I'll be running starting in October, so wanted to be sure to write it all down. And I talked to William Nicholson afterwards about possibly speaking at the Brighton Children's Literature Festival which I'll hopefully be running on April 21st, 2007. I need to go to him again and check the date, but he said in principle he'd be open to it. It's clear he could speak about anything, and has a wealth of experience behind him. A wonderful speaker, and nice to find a children's literature person speaking at a media-type event.

The other speaker, Tim Pope, was also very good (just a bit less related to my area of interests). He's a director of music videos and ads, having worked extensively with The Cure, Neil Young, Iggy Pop, and more recently with The Kaiser Chiefs and KT Tunstall. He was charming, self-effacing, and quite critical of the big move towards commercialism in the music video world, where record companies have much more power and influence now than they did when he was making videos back in the 80's.

You can find short biographical information about both speakers here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Fabulous new author self-promotion

Thanks to A Fuse #8 Production, I heard about the Class of 2k7 blog. Here's an inspiring idea for those who are lucky enough to get a first book contract. A large group of people having their first novel publishing in 2007 have gotten together, and are answering questions on the blog. I'm sure there will be useful for tips for those aspiring to get published. It's also a chance to imagine the glory of having a contract...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Report on What Makes a Children's Book Great

Notes from the Slush Pile has a detailed and fascinating report on this recent discussion co-sponsored by SCBWI British Isles and the Society of Authors. She tells how author Tony Bradman, reviewer Julia Eccleshare and teacher Gwynneth Bailey responded to the question: What Makes a Children's Book Great. Read the full post here.

Also, if you haven't heard about it yet and are interested in children's book stuff, 11th November will see the 13th annual British IBBY/NCRCL MA conference. The theme is Time Everlasting: Representations of Past, Present and Future in Children's Literature, and speakers include authors Celia Rees, Jamila Gavin, Mary Hoffman, Theresa Breslin, Philip Reeve (recent winner of the Guardian Children's Book Award), and a reception honoring Philippa Pearce; as well as academics Victor Watson, Margaret Meek, Morag Styles and Farah Mendlesohn. Bookings are coming fast and furious, so if you do plan to come I suggest you book a place soon. You can find the full programme and download a booking form from the website.