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Picture Book Open Day




Hachette Children’s Group to hold virtual open day to find new picture book (fiction and colour non-fiction) writers and illustrators from the North of England, Scotland and Ireland.



London, UK: 25th May 21


Hachette Children’s Group is delighted to announce that they will host their second virtual open day to discover picture book writers and illustrators from the North of England, Scotland and Ireland. The open day will be on the 6th October 2021 and will be open to fiction and non-fiction picture book creatives.

The day will give talent from the North, Scotland and Ireland the opportunity to engage directly with a publishing team from Hachette Children’s Group and receive industry feedback and direction on their work.

Submissions open 25th May 2021 and close 2nd August 2021. Appointments at the virtual open day are limited to 100 spaces and authors and illustrators will be selected for appointments based on the strength of their submission. All appointments will be assigned in advance.



Attending the day will be Picture Book Development Director, North, Emma Layfield (based in Manchester) along with other picture book editors and designers from Hachette Children’s Group.

Layfield says: ‘Our picture book open days are a great way for us to forge even closer links to the untapped pools of talent outside of the ‘London bubble’ and to connect more closely with authors and illustrators from under-represented backgrounds. Our first open day was a great success and we have so far signed up two exciting new picture book illustrators – Sally Agar and Julian Beresford both based in Yorkshire. We can’t wait to discover, nurture and encourage more budding new picture book writers and illustrators this year!’

‘We know from working closely with Hachette UK on the Northern Writers’ Awards that there is much talent in the North still to be discovered and that Hachette are committed to pioneering innovative ways to find it. This wonderful initiative is a smart and efficient way to open the doors to discovery for writers and illustrators and to build their knowledge about how children’s picture book publishing works. It’s fantastic to see this initiative coming out of the North which is such a centre of excellence for children’s publishing and to see Hachette embedding their activities here and connecting the North to Scotland and Ireland where there is much synergy.’ Claire Malcolm, Chief Executive, New Writing North

‘Taking part in the HCG open day was a complete career-changer for me. I was over the moon just to have the opportunity to get feedback on my portfolio from an Art Director, but it became much more than that when I was offered my first kids’ book deal! I’m so excited to start work on the book with HCG, and really can’t recommend this opportunity enough.’ Sally Agar

‘If you are contemplating taking part in the Hachette Children’s Group Picture Book Open Day, I highly recommend that you do. It allowed me to have a one-to-one meeting with Paula Burgess, Art Director at Hachette Children’s Group where I received invaluable feedback on my portfolio. And it also opened up my route into the publishing world and has allowed me to find my amazing agent, Lorna Hemingway, and gain my first publishing deal to illustrate a picture book with Hachette Children’s Group.’ Julian Beresford


• Writers and illustrators who have been selected will be contacted and given their slots for the open day
• Spaces are limited, however, writers and illustrators who have not been selected will be informed
• Appointments will be 15-minute slots held via Teams or on the phone for authors only, if needed


Submission criteria:
• Applicants must be over 18
• Open to writers and illustrators living in the North of England (North West, North East and Yorkshire), Scotland and Ireland only
• Entrants must be previously unpublished in picture books
• Only one project to be submitted and, if successful, only the same project to be discussed at the meetings
• Open to fiction and non-fiction colour picture book submissions only
• Entries must be text or artwork for children not for adults
• Writers should submit one complete picture book text (maximum 700 words) to be reviewed by an editor
• Writer-illustrators should submit one complete picture book text (maximum 700words) plus three pieces of their artwork (in colour) to be reviewed by an editor or designer
• Illustrators should submit three pieces of their picture book portfolio (in colour) to be reviewed by a designer
• All submissions to be emailed as a PDF or Word document to: picturebookopenday@hachettechildrens.co.uk
• Please include your name in the file name, the region you live in, and also whether you are a writer, illustrator or writer-illustrator


Please note that submissions that don’t comply to the criteria (e.g. word count) will be automatically rejected. If you have any queries regarding the criteria, please email: picturebookopenday@hachettechildrens.co.uk


Data protection:

• The picture book team will get in touch with you regarding your submission only –you will not be added to any marketing mailing lists
• You will only be contacted by the picture book team if you have an appointment
• The picture book team will retain your records for 6 months at which point they will be deleted

For more information on Hachette’s privacy policy, please click on the below link:


For more information, please contact Dominic Kingston at Hachette Children’s Group on dominic.kingston@hachettechildrens.co.uk or on 02031226095



Notes to Editors:

About Hachette Children’s Group

Hachette Children’s Group is one of the largest children’s publishers in the UK, with an excellent track record in creating bestselling and award-winning books for children.
The Group aims to cater for every child, with baby and pre-school books, picture books, gift, fiction, non-fiction, series fiction, books for the school and library market and licensed publishing and comprises the imprints Hodder Children’s Books, Orchard Books, Orion Children’s Books, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Quercus Children’s Books, Laurence King Children’s Books, Pat-a-Cake, Wren & Rook, Franklin Watts and Wayland Books.
The Group publishes a wide range of authors, illustrators, series and licences including: Cressida Cowell, Kes Gray, Jim Field, Jessica Townsend, Onjali Raúf, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Matthew Syed, David Almond, Lauren Child, Sinead Burke, Rachel Bright, Marion Deuchars, Dermot O’Leary, Nick East, Dean Atta, Francesca Simon, Alex T. Smith, Zanib Mian, J.K. Rowling, Giles Andreae, Guy Parker-Rees, Benjamin Zephaniah, Piers Torday, Alice Oseman, Juno Dawson, Pippa Curnick, Dr Ranj, Simon Farnaby, Leigh Bardugo, Rainbow Magic, Beast Quest and Pokémon.
Hachette Children’s Group is also the publisher of author Enid Blyton, and the owner of Enid Blyton