Huge congratulations to Firefly author Eloise Williams who has been selected as the first Children’s Laureate Wales (2019-2021). This new national ambassadorial post run by Literature Wales, aims to engage and inspire the children of Wales through literature, and to promote a child’s right to have their stories and voices heard.
Eloise was one of the first authors to be published by Firefly Press in 2015, after her first story for children, Elen’s Island, was shortlisted for the Firefly Children’s Book Award. The story, for 7-9 year olds, is set on a magical island off the coast of Pembrokeshire and reflects Eloise’s love of the sea and the Welsh coast which echoes through her other books, Gaslight and Seaglass, both for 8-12 year olds. Eloise’s fourth book, Wilde, will publish with Firefly Press in May 2020.
Firefly publisher Penny Thomas said: ‘Eloise has a talent for creating magical setting and characters in her books, and for engaging children in stories and reading. She will make a wonderful first children’s laureate and we are extremely proud to be her publisher.’
Eloise Williams worked as a touring actor and creative practitioner for over a decade before becoming a children’s writer. Her novel, Gaslight – which was written with the support of a Literature Wales New Writer’s Bursary – won the 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. Her latest novel for young people, Seaglass, was also shortlisted for the Tir na nOg Awards in 2019, and the North East Book Awards 2019.
A regular speaker at festivals and events, Eloise uses her drama skills to engage young people in children’s literature and now finds herself onstage more than she ever did as a professional actor.
Eloise said: ‘I’ve always loved stories. The joy of losing yourself in a good story is simply magical. Stories connect us, give us empathy and understanding, exercise our brains and imaginations, let us travel the world and experience the greatest wonders.
‘Children’s literature is thriving and there couldn’t be a more exciting time to be involved in its growth in Wales. I feel passionately that there is a connection between children’s books and the hope I feel every time I walk into a classroom. I truly believe that young readers will make our futures bright and I’m honoured to be a part of that.’
The Children’s Laureate Wales will work alongside the Welsh-language equivalent, Bardd Plant Cymru, primarily working with children between the ages of 5-13. Eloise was appointed following a public call-out for writers to express their interest in the role.
The Children’s Laureate Wales will visit a number of schools, clubs, festivals and events across Wales during their two-year tenure, as well as devising and delivering bespoke activity with Literature Wales’ target client groups.
New initiative launched to find talented children’s poets from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds based in Wales.
If you write poetry for children and come from an under-represented background in Wales, a new award run by Literature Wales and Firefly Press, could be great news!
The Rising Stars Wales Award aims to discover new talent, provide opportunities and spotlight emerging writers of all ages from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, living in Wales.
We’re looking for up to five individuals who write poetry for children aged 8-12 years old. This opportunity is open to emerging poets of all ages, and entry is free. Prizes include a cash prize of £250, sponsored by Quarto Translations and the chance to stay at a writer’s retreat in North Wales, worth £400.
And the organisers hope that as well as discovering and nurturing talent, this call-out could also lead to a poetry anthology and events for primary school children in Wales.
Firefly Press publisher, Penny Thomas said: ‘We’re so excited to launch the Rising Stars call-out, and would encourage anyone who is thinking of entering to go right ahead and do so! Firefly publishes for 5-19 year olds and is always looking for new writers for these age groups from diverse backgrounds. It’s so important that all children can see themselves in the stories they read.’
Lleucu Siencyn, Chief Executive of Literature Wales said: ‘The literature sector is vibrant and diverse but true representation is still a long way off, and our priorities will address these inequalities of access and opportunities. To achieve this, we will continue to work with partners to amplify unheard voices. This isn’t about excluding anyone. It is about creating equal and fair access to artistic innovation and professional development.’
To enter, budding poets need to submit between three and five poems by the deadline of Friday 11 November to firstname.lastname@example.org
Award-winning MG novel The Clockwork Crow and sequel The Velvet Fox by Catherine Fisher, published by Firefly Press in the UK, has just been sold to Walker Books US (Candlewick) in a three-way auction ahead of Frankfurt Book Fair, with publication scheduled for autumn 2020.
Rights deals in both books have also been secured in China, Turkey, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia where Eksmo has also snapped up the third book in the series, The Midnight Swan (to be published in the UK next autumn).
Rights were sold by the Margot Edwards Rights Consultancy, on behalf of Firefly Press
Karen Lotz, President and Publisher, and Susan Van Metre, Executive Editorial Director of Walker Books US said ‘We have been big fans of Catherine’s writing since Incarceron and believe she’s created the perfect holiday fantasy in The Clockwork Crow. It reminds us of the work of beloved authors such as Joan Aiken and Rumer Godden, with its gothic enchantments that charm but never sentimentalise. It’s a particular goal of the Walker US list to publish great writing that’s also great storytelling and Catherine Fisher, as usual, delivers.’
Penny Thomas, Publisher at Firefly Press said: ‘We’re so delighted that The Clockwork Crow is flying out around the world; where we are sure he will be much loved. Catherine Fisher’s writing is deeply rooted and endlessly inventive, and continues to cast a spell over new readers.’
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For dramatic rights enquiries contact firstname.lastname@example.org