Firefly Press is thrilled to announce Firefly Ignite 2, a follow-up to last-year’s acclaimed programme for aspiring children’s writers from underrepresented backgrounds, born, raised or living in Wales. 

The original programme ran in May and June 2023 and aimed to demystify young adult and children’s publishing with sessions from agents, authors and editors. In 2024, we plan to build on the success of the first Ignite Programme. In addition to three new online events, we will be selecting two to three aspiring young adult and children’s writers to take part in a mentoring programme, where they will be mentored by an experienced published children’s author between May and Sept 2024.

We are excited to share details of the online programme:

Firefly Ignite 2: shining a light on…

  • How to write a query letter and synopsis with agent Gemma Cooper (Monday 5th February 2024 7pm)
  • How to write for different ages with editors Janet Thomas and Penny Thomas (Tuesday 20th February 2024 7pm)
  • How to make your novel stand out with author Emma Smith-Barton (Wednesday 20th March 2024 7pm)

Following these sessions, attendees will have the optional opportunity to apply for a writing mentorship by submitting a sample of writing before 31st March 2024. We recommend attending the three online sessions prior to applying as you may find they help with your submission.  We are delighted to share that author Catherine Johnson will be joining the programme as a mentor. Information about this mentoring opportunity has now been emailed to those on the Ignite programme.

Ignite 2 is open to writers born, raised or living in Wales, who are from backgrounds currently underrepresented in publishing. This includes (but is not limited to) LGBTQ+ writers, writers of colour, writers from working-class backgrounds, neurodiverse writers, writers from ethnic, cultural and religious minorities, and writers with a disability/ illness. For the online sessions, we ask that you self-identify and do not ask that you prove your eligibility. 

The programme, which has been made possible through the support of Creative Wales and the Books Council of Wales, will provide an insight into writing for young people and the different stages of publishing. All events are free* and will be held on Zoom. The sessions will be in English, but we welcome both Welsh and English language writers to join. Unfortunately, as Firefly does not publish picture books, we will not be discussing books for this age group.

We look forward to welcoming new and familiar faces to Ignite 2. If you would like to attend, you can sign up free here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/firefly-ignite-2-shining-a-light-on-childrens-publishing-tickets-775431876617?aff=oddtdtcreator

Firefly Press is an award-winning independent children’s and YA publisher based in Wales, publishing quality fiction in all genres for 5-19 years olds.

If you have any questions about the programme or eligibility, feel free to email lucy.mohan@fireflypress.co.uk

*Places on the Ignite 2 online programme are limited and are based on a first come first served basis. If you cannot make the events, please let us know so we can offer your place to someone else. 

Praise for the Ignite Programme

‘The Ignite sessions provided an invaluable insight into children’s literature and publishing in Wales. The sessions were fun and informative, I really hope there’s an opportunity to attend more. Thank you, Firefly!’

Jess Doyle

‘The Ignite programme gave me hope. The writers’ experiences were all so different, it made me realise that there are multiple paths you can follow to be published – I simply need faith to follow my own.’

Suzie Good

‘Firefly’s series of presentations from literary agents, editors, and authors alike, as part of its Ignite programme, was a sparkling illustration of how a publisher can shine a light on the mysteries of the industry for new writers, while demonstrating that compassion and encouragement can still exist in a competitive environment. I would like to applaud their ambition and thank them for the insights I’ve gained!’

Leigh Anthony Manley

‘There are no words to describe the depths of my gratitude towards Firefly; I wouldn’t have had the confidence to query my wonderful agent were it not for the Ignite programme. Diolch o galon for your incredible work ensuring that underrepresented Welsh writers are empowered to tell the stories that need to be told.’

Megan Angharad Hunter

‘Hugely beneficial. To have the opportunity to chat and listen to the vast knowledge and experience provided by the team was invaluable.  Also, having the answers to all those questions you didn’t even know needed answering until these sessions, was great.’

Sarah Phelps

‘The Firefly Ignite programme was a fantastic opportunity to learn from people on all sides of the publishing industry. Should it return, I couldn’t recommend it more highly to anyone even vaguely interested. Don’t miss out!’


‘It’s rare to see events that offer an insight into the Welsh publishing industry, and this was a unique opportunity to do just that.’

Kaja Brown

‘Ignite has been packed with sparks. Sparks of knowledge, sparks of inspiration and it’s definitely sparked my imagination. Just what my hungry little writing appetite has been craving. Thank you so much, Firefly Press.’

Sarah King @PembsPoet

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