eloise williams selected as inaugural children’s laureate wales

Eloise Williams, author of Gaslight (Firefly), has been named the first-ever Children’s Laureate Wales.

Literature Wales has introduced the two-year post to raise the visibility of children’s literature in Wales, help develop children’s literacy skills and support the next generation of writers. During her tenure, the Pembrokeshire-based writer will work primarily with children aged five to 13 at schools, clubs, festivals and events across Wales and will work alongside the Welsh-language equivalent, Bardd Plant Cymru, currently held by poet Gruffudd Owen.

The newly-formed post was announced at Jubilee Park Primary School in Newport where Williams is patron of reading. "I want you to feel empowered by words, so that you can be the authors and storytellers of today and tomorrow," the author told students. "I want you to feel passionate about reading for pleasure. I want you to discuss books, write your own stories, visit libraries, browse bookshops, go to literature festivals, give opinions, ask questions. I want you to use your voices and your words. I promise that I will do everything I can to listen to you and to represent you well. I will do my very best to help you find the right stories for you. I will push for you to see yourselves well represented in literature and for you to have access to a wide choice of books. Your voices matter. You matter."

Williams was appointed following an open call by Literature Wales in June, following the release of the body’s new Strategic Plan (2019-2022) which outlines children and young people as one of its main priorities. As Children's Laureate she will encourage self-expression and develop literacy and communication skills amongst children; be an ambassador and positive role model for children, championing their rights and interests and raise the visibility of children’s literature in Wales, nationally and internationally, according to Literature Wales. Williams will also be a strong advocate for creative reading and writing for pleasure; support the development of the next generation of young writers and particularly engage children from BAME backgrounds, children from low income backgrounds, children with disabilities or illnesses (physical or mental) as well as scout, develop, support and advocate for a cohort of talented young writers at the start of their literary careers.

Chief executive of Literature Wales Lleucu Siencyn said: “Our vision is a Wales where literature empowers, improves and brightens lives. This role will increase the accessibility and impact of creative writing for our children and young people and make a significant contribution to their well-being. Eloise will be a terrific advocate for creative reading and writing for pleasure, and for representation within children’s literature, and I look forward immensely to following her journey over the next two years.”

William’s novel Gaslight was written with the support of a Literature Wales New Writer’s Bursary and won Wales Arts Review Young People’s Book of the Year 2017, the YBB Book Awards 2018, and was shortlisted for the Tir na nOg Awards 2018. Williams’ first novel Elen's Island (Firefly) was shortlisted for the Firefly Children's Book Award while her most recent book, Seaglass (Firefly), was also shortlisted for the Tir na nOg Awards in 2019, and the North East Book Awards 2019. Her fourth book, Wilde, will publish with Firefly Press in May 2020.

Katy Docherty, The Bookseller, September 18, 2019

The Shaw Agency has struck a two-book deal with Orion and a hat-trick of deals with Nosy Crow in its first month of business 

Kate Shaw, who left The Viney Shaw Agency last month after ten years to set up her own agency, has sold UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) to two books by Jo Clegg to Orion Fiction publishing director Clare Hey. 

BAFTA and Emmy award-winning script writer Clegg’s debut, Summer with the Wellbeloveds, is about one woman’s disastrous attempts to transform herself into a holiday goddess for a dreaded family break with her frenemy.  Orion will publish next summer with a second novel following in 2021.

Hey described Summer with the Wellbeloveds as “very funny and relatable, with great settings, brilliant characters and a satisfyingly emotional pay-off.”   

Shaw also negotiated three separate deals with Children’s Publisher of the Year, Nosy Crow. Shaw sold world rights and translation to Nosy Crow’s head of fiction Kirsty Stansfield for two new stand-alone thrillers for 8-12-year-olds by award-winning children’s novelist Fleur Hitchcock. The titles will be announced in due course and the books published in summer 2020 and winter 2021 respectively.

World rights and translation for Alex Cotter’s first two stand-alone novels for 8-12-year-olds were also sold to Stansfield.  The House on the Cliff, a "chilling drama about Faith’s precarious home life and the secrets hidden beneath the crumbling cliffs on which their house teeters", will be published in February 2020.  An untitled stand-alone will follow in 2021. Cotter has previously written Carnegie-nominated teen novels under the name Alex Campbell.

Completing the hat-trick of deals with Nosy Crow, Shaw sold world rights and translation to a new title by Blue Peter Book Award-winner Andy Seed to Nosy Crow's head of non-fiction Rachel Kellehar.  Seed’s Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyph Book will be written in consultation with British Museum’s experts  and will be published with joint Nosy Crow/British Museum branding in summer 2021.

Announcing the deals Shaw said: “I am indebted to the authors I represent for their terrific writing and hard work and to these publishers for their support and great taste.”

Katie Mansfield,
The Bookseller, July 25, 2019

Kate Shaw to launch new literary agency

Kate Shaw is leaving The Viney Shaw Agency to set up her own literary agency next month. 

The Shaw Agency will be launched on 1st July and Shaw will take her existing client list which includes novelists Isabel Ashdown, Lesley Lokko and Susan Elliot Wright, journalists Ian Cobain and Alex Crawford and children’s novelists Fleur Hitchcock, Vashti Hardy, Alan MacDonald, James Nicol and Holly Smale with her. 

An agent since 2001, Shaw worked at Aitken Alexander Associates before joining The Viney Agency in 2009. She became director in 2017 and the firm was renamed The Viney Shaw Agency.

In the wake of Shaw's departure, The Viney Shaw Agency name will change back to The Viney Agency and founder Charlie Viney’s clients will continue to be represented by him.

Shaw said: “I’ve been lucky to work with and learn from some of the best agents in the business including ten happy years working for Charlie. Now I’m excited and ready for this new challenge and thrilled to be doing so with the exceptional authors I represent beside me.”

The Shaw Agency will be based in South London and is open for submissions from novelists, writers of non-fiction and writers of children’s books for ages 6+. The website will be live on 1st July 2019 www.theshawagency.co.uk and Shaw can be contacted at kate@theshawagency.co.uk

 Katie Mansfield, The Bookseller, June 6, 2019