Past Events

Here are a few highlights from recent events!

YA Shot

71 authors in day, YA Shot was a YA reader’s (and author’s) dream. There was such a lovely atmosphere and so so so much enthusiasm mixed in with intelligent discussions. And coffee and space raiders, making Sarahs very happy 😉

I had the privilege of chairing a panel on diverse representation, with Candy Gourlay and Lisa Williamson. We talked about some of the difficulties in writing minority narratives, the fear of writing from inside your experience and outside it, why we do it anyway, the force of social media and the way it raises voices, and what responsibilities (if any) we have as readers, writers, publishers. Candy and Lisa were smart and engaging (of course) and a delight to be on stage with.

YAShot panel

Photo Courtesy of Candy Gourlay

A+, would panel again.


Southbank YA Weekender

This Story Could Save Your Life: David Owen, Sarah Benwell and Young Minds appear in conversation with Imogen Russell Williams.

The chance to discuss big, important topics – mental health, illness, disability and representation? Yesssss.


Bath Telegraph’s Festival of Children’s Literature, Bath Picks:

Sarah Benwell, Sarah Crossan and Virginia Bergin, in conversation with Gill McLay.

This one was a pretty big deal for personal reasons. This festival is at least partly responsible for me being a writer. I’ve worked at the festival for years. My agent is one half of the superhero founding team. It takes place on my home turf.

Actually being on stage this year was all kinds of magical and affirming.

The Big Red Chair is a symbol of all of that awesomeness. Of the passion and excitement around children’s literature. Of a book-sharing community. And look! It’s me, and my brilliant CP, Marieke Nijkamp. With our books.

Whuuuut? 😀Big Red Chair

Also: The super excellent Milo showed up at my panel wearing the Flat Cap of Sarahdarity!

FlatCap of Sarahdarity

Our Stories

As part of the Bath Festival of Children’s Literature, we ran a 6-week creative writing course for students of Bath Community Academy, exploring identity and diversity and the stories which we value and want to tell. We looked at why minority representation is important, and how to do it well, and students imagined a future containing their extremely diverse, exciting ‘perfect novels’.

Critical thinking and wild imaginations = novelists in the making.



30-ish fabulous YA authors each with 2 minutes to talk about themselves and their work?! Add in cake, books, lovely readers with smart questions, and a terrifying sand timer, and you have the happy chaos of UKYAEx.

Kudos to Emma Pass and Kerry Drewery for corralling us all. Utterly brilliant.

A Literary Lunch with St Mary’s School, Cambridge, and #UKYAEx library workshop saw students become authors and publishers for an afternoon, creating and pitching their best book ideas to a team of eager colleagues. Only the very best would be ‘bought’. But we soon discovered just how hard that is, and actually we’d have quite liked to buy all of them.


You can see more photographs of events and other fun things here!