Firefly Press nets its first non-fiction

Firefly Press nets its first non-fiction

As reported in The Bookseller today, Firefly have acquired world rights for Robin Bennett‘s Stupendous Sports series for 7-11 year olds, which kicks off with Rampaging Rugby in August 2021, followed by Cool Cricket and Fabulous Football. Each chapter will include cartoons, special player tips, irreverent explanations, fascinating facts and funny stories, and will be illustrated by Matt Cherry.

Rampaging Rugby will publish in time for the Bicentenary of Rugby in 2023 with the forward and pro tips by Conrad Smith, ex All Black and double World Cup winner.

‘The central aim of the Stupendous Sports series is to teach kids about the sport but with a light touch and just as much about the spirit of the game as the rules. My hope is that the series does for PE what Horrible Histories did for Year 7 History with Mr Simkin.’

Robin Bennett

Did you know…?

  • Rugby started when Webb Ellis picked up a football during a game and ran with it? (He cheated, basically)
  • Basketball was created by a rugby coach who wanted an indoor sport to keep his players fit off-season
  • Rugby is played in 119 countries and has over 400 million fans

Rising Stars Wales Award 2021: Call out for submissions

Rising Stars Wales Award 2021: Call out for submissions

We’re delighted to partner with Literature Wales and launch a call out for submissions for the next Rising Stars Wales Award 2021, the second round of an initiative to identify and nurture talented children’s poets from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds based in Wales, with the view to publish an anthology of their work.

In November 2019, Literature Wales and Firefly Press collaborated on the Rising Stars Wales 2020 Award, a new initiative open to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic children’s poets living in Wales. The award discovered new talent, provided opportunities, and spotlighted three talented emerging individuals. The poets continue to develop as writers and gain further opportunities as a result of the award. And we were so impressed with 2020 winner Alex Wharton, that we signed his debut children’s poetry collection, Daydreams and Jellybeans, which will be published in January 2021.

Find out more about how to submit poetry for the award here.

‘I am deeply grateful accepting this award, I feel it recognizes my passion and dedication for writing Children’s Poetry. It has already opened up a terrific opportunity for me as the wonderful people at Firefly Press will be publishing my full collection of poems Daydreams and Jellybeans early next year. Poems are to be shared, they find the people who need them – and the award has enabled a wider platform for my words. It’s exciting and I am very thankful.’ 

Alex Wharton, Rising Star Wales Award 2020 winner

‘Just as no language can cover the full range of human experience, so no writer has a monopoly on the way we see the world. Stories are a net, the wider we cast it, the more connections we make. This is why Quarto Translations is proud to sponsor the Rising Stars Wales Award.’

Robin Bennett, Founder and Managing Director, Quarto Translations
Daydreams and Jellybeans Competition Winners Announced

Daydreams and Jellybeans Competition Winners Announced

Daydreams and Jellybeans Alex Wharton

Earlier this month, poet Alex Wharton announced a brilliant competition for 7-11 year olds to join in the fun around his forthcoming poetry collection Daydreams and Jellybeans, illustrated by talented children’s illustrator Katy Riddell – out in shops January 2020!

We had hundreds of fantastic submissions and Alex had such a difficult decision to make choosing a winner. So… we’re delighted to announce that we will have two joint winners:

o   Theo Janneh, aged 10 from Torfaen, for his beautiful poem Underworld Dreams, which reflects the vibrant life of the sea floor. 

o   Sophie Macfarlane, aged 11 from Surrey, for her quirky and funny poem Wonder Thunder. Sophie’s rhymes, in which everything is subverted, made Alex and all of the Firefly Press team giggle.

Both Sophie and Theo will have their poems printed as part of the Daydreams and Jellybeans collection, and have their poems illustrated by Katy Riddell. They will also receive a Firefly Press prize bundle including some of our best titles for their ages, and a signed copy of Daydreams and Jellybeans when it is released.

I’d like to say a huge congratulations to Theo and Sophie for writing such wonderfully dreamy and imaginative poems. Both Poems are oozing with imagery, rhythm, and creativity. Underworld Dreams by Theo, displays a depth of beautiful and vivid ideas that really tickle the reader’s thoughts. Whilst Wonder Thunder by Sophie has been crafted with pure joy and playfulness. I’m really excited for them to be joining me in my book. Well done!

Alex Wharton
Firefly Acquires Compelling YA Romance by Josie Williams

Firefly Acquires Compelling YA Romance by Josie Williams

Firefly Press are delighted to announce the acquisition of a moving and compelling YA romance by Josie Williams. Firefly acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada and audio) to The Wanderer from Lorella Belli at the Lorella Belli Literary Agency Ltd.

The Wanderer is a heartrending love story that crosses between life and the after-life. For those who enjoy teenage romances and all things spooky, this YA novel about a ‘wanderer’ in love is a must read.

Josie Williams is the pseudonym of an international bestselling author, whose New Adult romances have sold over 860,000 copies in English, and whose first novel, the YA romance The Boy Who Sneaks in My Bedroom Window, was an international bestseller translated into many languages.

‘Josie Williams has an amazing track record as an author and a large, loyal, international following. This, her first YA novel for several years, is unsentimental, passionate and immensely moving. It recalls films like Ghost and the ending – no spoilers – moved some of the Firefly team to tears. We’re very excited to be publishing it.’

Rebecca Lloyd, Commissioning Editor at Firefly Press

The Wanderer is that rare novel that when I first read it made me smile, brought me to tears and also much spooky-loving joy. Think Romeo and Juliet meets City of Ghosts. This is Josie Williams’s second YA novel (the first was written under her own name) and is as original and heart-warming as her first.’

Lorella Belli, Agent
Author Josie Williams The Wanderer

‘I’m positively thrilled with this news, and am so excited to work with Rebecca and the Firefly Press team to bring this novel to life! I can’t wait for people to read about Maggie and Ryan’s unconventional teenage romance.’

Josie Williams

Writing Competition: Daydream Opportunity for Budding Poets

Writing Competition: Daydream Opportunity for Budding Poets

‘Have fun with your writing, be open to ideas, open to dreams – and your poem will find you.’

Alex Wharton

Poet Alex Wharton is calling on 7-11 year olds to join in the fun around his forthcoming poetry collection, Daydreams and Jellybeans which will be illustrated by talented children’s illustrator Katy Riddell. 

We want Key Stage 2 pupils (Years 3 to 6) to get creative and get writing, with one lucky winner chosen to have their poem printed in the back of the book, which publishes on 28 January 2021. 

The competition will be judged by Alex himself and the winner will receive a Firefly bundle prize, including a signed copy of Daydreams and Jellybeans, AND have their poem printed in the back of the collection!

We’d like you to use your own daydreams as inspiration to build your poem, which should be no longer than 12 lines but can be in any form you like; haiku, limerick, free verse, rhyming couplets or ballad. We are only able to accept entries written in English.

To enter, ask your parent, guardian or teacher to send your poem to with the subject line Daydreams and Jellybeans Poetry Competition along with your name and date of birth.

The deadline is 5pm on Monday 21 September 2020. Good luck!


Terms and Conditions of the Daydreams and Jellybeans Poetry Competition

  1. The competition is open to residents of the United Kingdom aged 7-11 years except employees of Firefly Press and their close relatives and anyone otherwise connected with the organisation or judging of the competition.
  2. There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.
  3. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her/their agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions. Entrants must submit their poems via a parent, guardian or teacher, compliant with safeguarding regulations.
  4. Entries must be emailed by a parent, guardian or teacher to with the subject heading Daydreams and Jellybeans Poetry Competition. Submissions via Twitter or any other avenue will not be considered. 
  5. Entries must be written in English and be between 1 – 12 lines.
  6. Only one entry will be accepted per entrant. Multiple entries from the same entrant will be disqualified. A parent, guardian or teacher may submit more than one entry in a single email, for example if submitting for a class of children or for siblings.
  7. Poems submitted must be entirely the entrant’s own work. Poems which plagiarise will be automatically disqualified.
  8. Closing date for entry will be 21/09/20 at 17:00. After this date no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
  9. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
  10. Prize refers to first print run, print edition only.  
  11. By entering this competition all entrants plus their parents, guardians or teachers permit without condition Firefly Press to publish all or part of their submitted poems on their website, social media channels, in digital and physical print, visual or audio format. Copyright remains with the entrant who will be credited for their work.
  12. Firefly Press reserve the right to replace the prizes with alternative prizes if circumstances beyond their control make it necessary. 
Katy Riddell to Illustrate Daydreams and Jellybeans by Alex Wharton

Katy Riddell to Illustrate Daydreams and Jellybeans by Alex Wharton

Firefly are delighted to announce that talented illustrator Katy Riddell will be partnering with poet Alex Wharton on his debut poetry collection for children, Daydreams and Jellybeans – publishing 28 January 2021.

From forgotten jellybeans to sparking daydreams, Alex’s poems, written for 7-11 year olds, are both funny and thoughtful, and aim to spark familiarity and inclusion. And the illustrations from Katy Riddell will focus on the fun and dreamlike quality of the poems’ engagement with the natural world.

‘I am really excited to be working with such a lovely team. Alex’s poems are so beautifully observant as well as brilliantly imaginative and I hope I can bring his words to life with my illustrations.’

Katy Riddell

Katy Riddell was obsessed with drawing from a young age. Plenty of encouragement from her parents, both artists and illustrators, led her to spend hours writing and illustrating her own stories, which her father (award winning illustrator Chris Riddell) collected throughout the years.  Originally drawn to Fine Art, Katy rediscovered her love for illustrating children’s books in her gap year and decided to pursue it as a career. She lives and works in Brighton.

‘We’re so delighted to be working with Katy Riddell, her wonderful, joyful illustrations will fit perfectly with these poems.’

Penny Thomas, Publisher at Firefly Press