Manchester Insight Day: when & where?

When? Saturday 4 February 2017, 11.00-17.00
Where? Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, Manchester M2 5N

Applications are now closed.

What's on offer?

You'll be one of 50 writers joining us for the afternoon. The day will include:

Publishing, de-mystified

We know that the publishing industry can sometimes seem like a 'closed shop' and that it can be confusing to understand how the word document saved on your laptop could top the bestseller list. We'll follow the journey of a book from manuscript to bookshelf, focusing in particular on how to get your foot in the door - including how to write a cover letter to an agent, and how to pitch your book. This will include hearing from:

  • The Author: it all starts with you and your book.
  • The Agent: Elise Dillsworth from Elise Dillsworth Literary Agency will explain the role agents play as the key link between authors and publishers, and give her top tips on how to get your book noticed. 
  • The Editor: a commissioning editor will describe their role, focusing in particular on the acquisitions process (deciding which books to buy) as well as describing how they would work with an author to get a finished manuscript ready for publication. 

You'll also hear a little more about what it's like to be a published Penguin Random House author, including how we design a book's cover, how we create a 'buzz' around our books by connecting authors with their readers, and how we work with customers - from small independent bookshops to the likes of Asda and Tesco. 

One-to-one feedback from an editor

We have a team of Penguin Random House editors excited to meet you and to read your work (scroll down to see who they are and what they do). Each writer coming along to our workshops will spend 20 minutes talking with an editor about your book and your writing style. We'll ask you to send us up to 5,000 words two weeks before the workshop so that our editors can come ready with suggestions and constructive feedback. 

Option One: Writing fiction and non-fiction for adults

Join authors John O'Farrell, A.A Dhand, Lynsey Hanley and Imran Mahmood in conversation with one of our editors.

Option Two: Writing for children and young adults

Join Children's authors Bali Rai and Polly Ho-Yen in conversation with one of our Children's editors. 

The burning question: what are the barriers to getting published, and what more could the publishing industry do to overcome them?

For this interactive session you'll join a small round table discussion alongside authors, agents and Penguin Random House staff. We'll ask you to share your views on what more we could do to make the publishing industry more accessible.  

Networking

We know how important those chats over coffee and biscuits can be, so we'll make sure you get the chance to speak to our editors, agents and authors more informally throughout the day. 

Authors: our line-up so far

Malorie Blackman has written over sixty books and is acknowledged as one of today’s most imaginative and convincing writers for young readers. She has been awarded numerous prizes for her work, including the Red House Children’s Book Award and the Fantastic Fiction Award for Noughts & Crosses. Malorie has also been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, and received an OBE for her services to children’s literature, and has just completed her term as the Children's Laureate. She has been described by The Times as ‘a national treasure’.  *Photograph @ Paul Akinrinlola

Malorie Blackman has written over sixty books and is acknowledged as one of today’s most imaginative and convincing writers for young readers. She has been awarded numerous prizes for her work, including the Red House Children’s Book Award and the Fantastic Fiction Award for Noughts & Crosses. Malorie has also been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, and received an OBE for her services to children’s literature, and has just completed her term as the Children's Laureate. She has been described by The Times as ‘a national treasure’. 
*Photograph @ Paul Akinrinlola

Polly Ho-Yen was born in Northampton and brought up in Buckinghamshire. After working in publishing for several years, is now a primary school teacher. Somewhere in between five o'clock in the morning and sitting down in front of a classroom of five-year-olds, she writes for children. Her books include Boy in the Tower and Where Monsters Lie. Polly lives in South London.   

Polly Ho-Yen was born in Northampton and brought up in Buckinghamshire. After working in publishing for several years, is now a primary school teacher. Somewhere in between five o'clock in the morning and sitting down in front of a classroom of five-year-olds, she writes for children. Her books include Boy in the Tower and Where Monsters Lie. Polly lives in South London. 

 

A.A Dhand was raised in Bradford and spent his youth observing the city from behind the counter of a small convenience store. After qualifying as a pharmacist, Amit worked in London and travelled extensively before returning to Bradford to start his own business and begin writing. The history, diversity and darkness of the city have inspired his Harry Virdee crime novels.

A.A Dhand was raised in Bradford and spent his youth observing the city from behind the counter of a small convenience store. After qualifying as a pharmacist, Amit worked in London and travelled extensively before returning to Bradford to start his own business and begin writing. The history, diversity and darkness of the city have inspired his Harry Virdee crime novels.

Matthew Todd is former editor of the UK's bestselling gay magazine, Attitude. His debut book, Straight Jacket, How to be Gay and Happy, was published in June. Matthew has also written for national newspapers, including the Guardian, Observer, Telegraph and Sun. He lives in London.

Matthew Todd is former editor of the UK's bestselling gay magazine, Attitude. His debut book, Straight Jacket, How to be Gay and Happy, was published in June. Matthew has also written for national newspapers, including the Guardian, Observer, Telegraph and Sun. He lives in London.

Nikesh Shukla's debut novel, Coconut Unlimited, was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2010. Alongside his second novel, Meatspace, Nikesh has written for The Guardian, Esquire, Buzzfeed, Vice and BBC 2 as well as hosting The Subaltern podcast, an anti-panel discussion featuring conversations with writers about writing. Nikesh is also the editor of the bestselling essay collection, The Good Immigrant.  

Nikesh Shukla's debut novel, Coconut Unlimited, was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2010. Alongside his second novel, Meatspace, Nikesh has written for The Guardian, Esquire, Buzzfeed, Vice and BBC 2 as well as hosting The Subaltern podcast, an anti-panel discussion featuring conversations with writers about writing. Nikesh is also the editor of the bestselling essay collection, The Good Immigrant.  

Bali Rai has written eight young adult novels. His first, (un)arranged marriage, won the Angus Book Award and the Leicester Book of the Year and subsequent books Rani and Sukh and The Whisper were both shortlisted for the Booktrust Teenage Prize. He also writes the Soccer Squad series for younger readers. Bali was born in Leicester, where he still lives, writing full-time and visiting schools to talk about his books.   

Bali Rai has written eight young adult novels. His first, (un)arranged marriage, won the Angus Book Award and the Leicester Book of the Year and subsequent books Rani and Sukh and The Whisper were both shortlisted for the Booktrust Teenage Prize. He also writes the Soccer Squad series for younger readers. Bali was born in Leicester, where he still lives, writing full-time and visiting schools to talk about his books. 


 

John O’Farrell is the author of eight books (not including three collections of his humorous column for the Guardian). His first book, Things Can Only Get Better, was a number one bestseller and was dramatised for BBC Radio 4. The Best a Man Can Get was the bestselling debut novel of 2002. John’s writing career began in radio and television on such shows as Have I Got News For You. Most recently he co-wrote the Broadway musical Something Rotten! He lives in South London. 

John O’Farrell is the author of eight books (not including three collections of his humorous column for the Guardian). His first book, Things Can Only Get Better, was a number one bestseller and was dramatised for BBC Radio 4. The Best a Man Can Get was the bestselling debut novel of 2002. John’s writing career began in radio and television on such shows as Have I Got News For You. Most recently he co-wrote the Broadway musical Something Rotten! He lives in South London. 

Imran Mahmood was born in Liverpool in 1969 to first generation Pakistani parents. He has been working on the criminal bar in London for over 20 years and regularly appears in jury trials across the country. He now lives in South East London with his wife and is currently working on his second novel.  

Imran Mahmood was born in Liverpool in 1969 to first generation Pakistani parents. He has been working on the criminal bar in London for over 20 years and regularly appears in jury trials across the country. He now lives in South East London with his wife and is currently working on his second novel.
 

Lynsey Hanley was born in Birmingham and lives in Liverpool. She is the author of Estates: An Intimate History as well as Respectable: The Experience of Class which looks at the class system in UK society through the lens of Lynsey’s personal experiences. She also regularly contributes to the Guardian and the New Statesman. Lynsey is also a visiting fellow in cultural studies at Liverpool John Moores University.

Lynsey Hanley was born in Birmingham and lives in Liverpool. She is the author of Estates: An Intimate History as well as Respectable: The Experience of Class which looks at the class system in UK society through the lens of Lynsey’s personal experiences. She also regularly contributes to the Guardian and the New Statesman. Lynsey is also a visiting fellow in cultural studies at Liverpool John Moores University.

From Penguin Random House: our line-up so far

Larry Finlay is Managing Director of our Transworld Division, voted Publisher of the Year in 2016. Larry joined Transworld in 1983 as Copywriter. Transworld has some of the biggest-selling brand-name authors across  fiction and non-fiction, including Dan Brown, Meera Syal, Lee Child, Jilly Cooper, Richard Dawkins, and Bill Bryson. 

Larry Finlay is Managing Director of our Transworld Division, voted Publisher of the Year in 2016. Larry joined Transworld in 1983 as Copywriter. Transworld has some of the biggest-selling brand-name authors across  fiction and non-fiction, including Dan Brown, Meera Syal, Lee Child, Jilly Cooper, Richard Dawkins, and Bill Bryson. 

Rebecca Smart is Managing Director of Ebury Publishing. Ebury’s focus is on non-fiction publishing; it is the UK’s largest publisher in food and drink, biography/ autobiography, personal development and many other topics.  

Rebecca Smart is Managing Director of Ebury Publishing. Ebury’s focus is on non-fiction publishing; it is the UK’s largest publisher in food and drink, biography/ autobiography, personal development and many other topics.



 

Casiana Ionita is an editor at Penguin Press, publishing non-fiction and classics. She has worked with authors such as Carlo Rovelli, Nassim Taleb and Svetlana Alexievich.  

Casiana Ionita is an editor at Penguin Press, publishing non-fiction and classics. She has worked with authors such as Carlo Rovelli, Nassim Taleb and Svetlana Alexievich.

 

Anna Barnes is an editor at Penguin Random House Children's, editing and publishing picture books for our very youngest readers. She works with some of the most successful authors and illustrators of today, including Julia Donaldson, Allan Ahlberg, Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury.

Anna Barnes is an editor at Penguin Random House Children's, editing and publishing picture books for our very youngest readers. She works with some of the most successful authors and illustrators of today, including Julia Donaldson, Allan Ahlberg, Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury.

Morwenna Loughman is an editor for the non-fiction Vermilion list. Morwenna has recently relaunched a selection of Edward de Bono's titles from the 1960s (the inventor of creative thinking) as well as working with global bestselling author Marie Kondo.   

Morwenna Loughman is an editor for the non-fiction Vermilion list. Morwenna has recently relaunched a selection of Edward de Bono's titles from the 1960s (the inventor of creative thinking) as well as working with global bestselling author Marie Kondo. 

 

Mainga Bhima is an editor for Penguin Random House Children's working on fiction for children and young people aged 5–18. Mainga works with authors including Jacqueline Wilson, Steve Cole, Catherine Johnson and Jennifer Bell.   

Mainga Bhima is an editor for Penguin Random House Children's working on fiction for children and young people aged 5–18. Mainga works with authors including Jacqueline Wilson, Steve Cole, Catherine Johnson and Jennifer Bell. 
 

Will Hammond is an editor at Bodley Head which publishes non-fiction across a range of subjects. Will has worked with authors including Jeremy Paxman, Yanis Varoufakis, and Nick Clegg. 

Will Hammond is an editor at Bodley Head which publishes non-fiction across a range of subjects. Will has worked with authors including Jeremy Paxman, Yanis Varoufakis, and Nick Clegg. 

Richard Cable is Managing Director of VINTAGE, which publishes some of the greatest writers and thinkers from Philip Roth, Yuval Harari, Haruki Murakami and Alice Munro to Ian McEwan, Jeanette Winterson and Salman Rushdie. Richard also is a member of the Consumer Publishers Council, the Reading Partners Founders Group, and the Deborah Rogers Foundation.

Richard Cable is Managing Director of VINTAGE, which publishes some of the greatest writers and thinkers from Philip Roth, Yuval Harari, Haruki Murakami and Alice Munro to Ian McEwan, Jeanette Winterson and Salman Rushdie. Richard also is a member of the Consumer Publishers Council, the Reading Partners Founders Group, and the Deborah Rogers Foundation.

Bill Scott-Kerr is Publisher at our Transworld division. Bill edits authors including Dan Brown, Andy McNab, John O’Farrell, and A.A. Dhand. As Publisher, he is also responsible for writers such as Kate Atkinson, Stephen Hawking, Sophie Kinsella and Terry Pratchett.   

Bill Scott-Kerr is Publisher at our Transworld division. Bill edits authors including Dan Brown, Andy McNab, John O’Farrell, and A.A. Dhand. As Publisher, he is also responsible for writers such as Kate Atkinson, Stephen Hawking, Sophie Kinsella and Terry Pratchett. 

 

Tom Avery is an editor at William Heinemann, publishing a range of literary fiction and non-fiction. Tom has worked with authors including Adelle Waldman, Joe Moshenka, Sophie Pinkham and the Paris Review, as well as Barnabas Calder, Thomas Harding and Jamie Bartlett.

Tom Avery is an editor at William Heinemann, publishing a range of literary fiction and non-fiction. Tom has worked with authors including Adelle Waldman, Joe Moshenka, Sophie Pinkham and the Paris Review, as well as Barnabas Calder, Thomas Harding and Jamie Bartlett.

Carmen McCullough is an editor at Penguin Random House Children’s, publishing a range of titles, primarily in the middle grade and young adult space. She looks after authors Jeff Kinney, Cathy Cassidy, Charlie Higson, Sophie Kinsella and Polly Ho-Yen.

Jamie Joseph is an editor at Virgin Books and WH Allen,  publishing a range of conversation-starting non-fiction books across current affairs and culture. 

Jamie Joseph is an editor at Virgin Books and WH Allen,  publishing a range of conversation-starting non-fiction books across current affairs and culture.