Guppy Books

News and Events


October 8, 2020

We are thrilled that GLOVES OFF by Louisa Reid, SAVING WINSLOW by Sharon Creech and THE EXTREMELY INCONVENIENT ADVENTURES OF BRONTE METTLESTONE have all been longlisted for the UKLA awards – a national award judged only by teachers. The judges said ‘All the books exemplify the award criteria’s aim of encouraging teachers’ knowledge of high-quality children’s books that can reflect all identities and promote diversity’ – to have three titles be chosen out is a real honour and we have all appendages crossed for the shortlists…

The books will now be read in schools and by teachers, with the next stage announced in March 2021. Good luck to them all!


October 7, 2020

The Slightly Alarming Tale of the Whispering Wars by Jaclyn Moriarty is our last new title for 2020 – and what a gorgeous one it is too. Covered in silver foil, it tells the story of two bickering groups of children who must join forces when life becomes really terrifying, and a real war begins… Set twelve years earlier than The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone, Bronte fans will be glad to hear that she might make an appearance from the future – along with her lovely friend Alejandro – and this incredible story is sure to entertain all readers who love magic. Out in hardback, it is the perfect gift for Christmas too.


September 18, 2020

After a few months of serious consideration, the judges have reached a decision – the winner of the 2020 Guppy YA Open Submissions Competition (note to self: needs pithier title) is the awesomely talented Nadia Mikail, with her beautifully written story, THE CATS WE MEET ALONG THE WAY. The two runners up were Lex Aloro and SORCERESS THREE, and Aoife Doyle with THE LOST LAHRSI.

We were all so impressed with the talent shown in the shortlist, and to reach the last 11 out of 356 was an achievement in itself, so huge congratulations to Nadia and the two runners up, and thank you to all who took part. And a huge thank you the judges, Tamsin Rosewell, Adamma Okonkwo, Linda Sargent and Lucas Maxwell – whose expertise and loveliness has been invaluable.

We hope to run this competition on a regular basis so do watch this space, and sign up for the Guppy newsletter – the first will be on its way imminently… And watch out for these incredible authors of the future!

Louisa’s Reid’s WRECKED is out in the shops!

September 4, 2020

Louisa’s second verse novel is published almost a year to the day after the acclaimed GLOVES OFF came out in hardback as Guppy’s first publication. And what a year it has been… GLOVES OFF was the Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Week, One to Watch in the Bookseller magazine and nominated for the Carnegie Medal. And WRECKED is as powerful and unputdownable as its predecessor – the story of Joe and Imogen’s relationship is hooked over a gripping courtcase, as we look back and attempt to understand who exactly is telling the truth… Unmissable.


August 27, 2020

IT might not be an ideal time for us all, but what keeps us going at Guppy Books are the incredible books that are ready to be published. On August 1st, middle-grade comedy caper, KNIGHT SIR LOUIS AND THE DREADFUL DAMSEL, appeared in the shops, written and illustrated by Greg and Myles, the talented Brothers McLeod. The first in a brand new series, it became Waterstone’s Straford-Upon-Avon’s sell-out book in its first week, and we can’t wait for kids to get their hands on it…


July 6, 2020

With great difficulty, we have whittled down the longlist to a shortlist of eleven. It has been a hard job, and I have no doubt missed some great books in the pipeline, but a choice had to be made and I’m thrilled for the remaining authors. Thank you to all who submitted such a dazzling array of stories – they were all such a good standard and hugely enjoyable to read. Now it’s the judges turn to agree on a winner – more on that soon.

Congratulations to the eleven authors through to the Guppy YA shortlist! They are, in no particular order:

Nadia Mikail
Paul Wade
Zoleka Mazibuko
Elva Hills
Jenny Ireland
Lex Aloro
Aoife Doyle
S Fahima Begum
Vikki Gemmell
Rachel Faturoti
David Renton


June 15, 2020

We were amazed, thrilled and only slightly overwhelmed by the incredible response to the open submissions window for YA writers at Guppy Books. And having looked at 377 entries, we have whittled them down to 41 which was such a hard job! See the attached for the list of winners, as well as more information on feedback. Thank you all! And good luck with the next round.

Hello everyone,

Thank you so much for sending in your book for Guppy’s open submission window last month. I was so impressed with the standard of writing, the original ideas and the incredible energy that went into all the entries. It was a hard task to whittle 377 down to 41, and it’ll be harder still to choose just one.

I have listed the longlisted authors here, and they have all been contacted. Please don’t be dispirited if you don’t appear – there was such tough competition and just because you might not have got through this round doesn’t mean there’s not a home for your book around the corner. It is an incredibly subjective thing, and I’m the first to tell you that I’ve said no to many books that go on to do great things!

I will try and respond to everyone individually in the next few weeks – as you can imagine, as a small indie publisher time is not really on my side so please be patient, I will get to you eventually! But I feel that it’s an act of courage to submit a manuscript for consideration so I want to respond properly to everyone!

Please do keep writing, and also keep an eye on the Guppy Aquarium on YouTube where we will be posting advice for writers, as well as readers. It has been a pleasure to read your work, and thank you again.

I hope you are all managing in these difficult times, and take care.

Very best wishes,
Bella Pearson
Guppy Books

LONGLISTED AUTHORS in no particular order

Sarah Dawson
Mae Gaynor
Nadia Mikail
Elin Heron
Rose Marie Miller
Amanda Addison
Alex Ivey
Lois Johnson
Katharine Grimshaw
Rachel Faturoti
Simon Bailey
Heather Davey
Tim Burbage
Sara Waymont
Jenny Ireland
Elva Hills
Paul Wade
Priyanka Kaveramma
Alison Allen
S Fahima Begum
Vikki Gemmell
Tomi Nyong
Sian Chaney-Price
Heidi Shamsuddin
E Ashley
Paul Ian Cross
Maria Pigada
Harriet Worrell
Gill Mullin
Nikki Giant
Onndewala Makananise
David Renton
Zoleka Mazibuko
Lily Rose Harris
Charlie Ogden
Aoife Doyle
Caroline Evans
George K
Beatrice Anobah
Annie Harris
Lex Aloro


June 9, 2020

Sharon Creech is an amazing writer and we are so proud and thrilled to be publishing this ‘captivating’ book about a boy saving the life of a donkey – it was the Children’s Book of the Week in both the Saturday and Sunday Times, as well as a BookTrust Book of the Month and a Staff Pick by LoveReading. Purchase a copy here!


May 10, 2020

Between 9am Monday 11th May and 11.59 on Friday 15th May, Guppy Books will open its portholes to all unagented YA writers who have a novel to share.

Please email your submission to

To submit, please include the first three chapters (or 2000 words) of your YA novel, plus a synopsis. (It doesn’t to be precise, near this number will work perfectly.)

Please don’t worry too much/spend much time on the synopsis – we want to see it in order to get a sense of what happens in your story, but we would prefer work go into the novel itself!

Please email as a Word document. Entry is free. One submission per person.

We will shortlist down to a list of ten by June 15th, and a winner will be offered a contract with Guppy Books in the summer. A team of judges will be announced shortly.

Good luck!


May 6, 2020

We are over the moon to announce that Julian Sedgwick and Chie Kutsuwada are joining the Guppy shoal with a part novel, part manga for young adults. TSUNAMI GIRL will be published in March 2021 and we’re thrilled to be part of getting this important story out in the world. See press release for details!

View the press release.


April 22, 2020

Check out our new YouTube channel where you can meet our wonderful authors & illustrators for lots of bookish fun. We’ll be posting videos every week – for now, meet Taylor Dolan & her trustee sidekick, her mom, Katie! Take the Ghoul Scout word quiz, listen to a reading & draw a ghostie for #GuppyAquarium. Or perhaps you want to know more about Gloves Off – listen to Louisa talking about the power of Rocky, resilience and this incredible young adult novel. And much more to follow – drawalongs, interviews and all sorts of creative fun!

Please subscribe & share with your friends – click this link to go directly to the Guppy Aquarium channel .


April 15, 2020

From 11th to 15th May 2020, Guppy Books will be unbolting the portholes and welcoming submissions of young adult fiction from unagented writers. We are looking for an exciting and fresh new voice in young adult writing.

Please email your submission to between 9am GMT on Monday 11th May and 5pm GMT Friday 15th May. We would particularly like to encourage people from underrepresented backgrounds to apply.

To submit, please include the first three chapters (or 2000 words) of your YA novel, plus a synopsis. Please don’t worry too much/spend much time on the synopsis – we want to see it in order to get a sense of what happens in your story, but we would prefer work go into the novel itself!

Please email as a Word document. Entry is free. One submission per person.

We will shortlist down to a list of ten by mid June, and a winner will be offered a contract with Guppy Books in the summer. A team of judges will be announced shortly.

View the press release.


April 10, 2020

If you would like to order any of Guppy’s books, then for the time being you will be able to direct from the publisher – please email and place your order! GLOVES OFF by Louisa Reid, a gripping YA book in verse; SONG BENEATH THE TIDES, a layered lyrical love story novel for young adults set in Africa; GHOUL SCOUTS – mayhem at a scout camp for ghouls and ghosts, perfect for 6-10 year olds, and THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF BRONTE METTLESTONE by Jaclyn Moriarty, a magical quest filled with incredible characters and perfect for lovers of Lemony Snicket.

View all books.

Song Beneath the Tides Published on April 2nd!

April 2, 2020

The fourth Guppy book, an evocative YA novel set in Africa, is not being launched into the world in quite the way we imagined. But that’s not to say that it will go without any celebration – this wonderful book is both love story and thriller, and will transport you away and sweep you into a world you won’t want to leave. Available in hardback from Blackwell’s, Waterstone’s, and please do contact Guppy direct if you can’t find another way –

View all books.

Raise Your Paws and Show Some Claws far Guppy’s Third Book to be Published…

February 6, 2020

Taylor Dolan’s fiendishly funny story of friendship, GHOUL SCOUTS, WELCOME TO CAMP CROAK! hits the bookshops on February 6th – this wonderfully wicked tale is simply the most fun you’ll have within the pages of a book, and highly recommended to all readers aged 6 upwards. Taylor and her Ghoul Scouts are touring the UK later this month, which she’s managing to fit in amidst writing and illustrating Book 2 (HULLABALLOO AT CAMP CROAK!), out in October 2020. Ghoul Scouts Unite!

View all books.

Pirates Ahoy! Debut Author Anthony Burt to join the Guppy List!

January 28, 2020

I’m thrilled to welcome author Anthony Burt to the Guppy shoal with THE ANIMAL LIGHTHOUSE, a middle-grade adventure telling the story of a young boy brought up in a lighthouse run by a group of animals who treat him as their own. When a ship approaches and the rumour of pirates becomes imminent, Jim can’t understand why the animals are so determined to hide him. And will he ever discover where he comes from? This is an adventure that will warm the cockles of any reader’s heart, with humour, warmth and family drama packed into its pages.

Anthony is well-known in the children’s book world as a reviewer and events coordinator, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be publishing his debut novel in 2021. As Anthony himself says: “If I was a cow, I’d be jumping over the moon with excitement right now. I’m very pleased to be working with the brilliant Bella Pearson on my new pirate-y, animal-y, comedy-y children’s book series and am looking forward to joining the ‘B for Burt’ section on all good bookshelves – as well as some rickety, dusty ones – in all equally good bookshops!”

Oh yay, oh yay, All Hail a Champion new Acquisition for Guppy Books

November 21, 2019

We are thrilled to announce that Guppy will be publishing the first fantastically funny novel in a new series from the BAFTA-winning Brothers McLeod, KNIGHT SIR LOUIS AND THE DREADFUL DAMSEL. Myles and Greg McLeod are the award-winning brothers behind many collaborations with the RSC, films and animations – Myles as writer and Greg as illustrator. Out in June 2020, we can’t wait for Knight Sir Louis, a brave oasis of calm in a completely bonkers world, to get out into the world.

Guppy’s First Novel Nominated for the Carnegie Medal!

November 9, 2019

We are beyond thrilled that GLOVES OFF by Louisa Reid has been nominated for the Carnegie Medal, the UK’s most prestigious award for children’s fiction. Librarians from all over the country nominate their favourite books of the year, and we are so proud of the wonderful Louisa! Also out is the GLOVES OFF audiobook, wonderfully read by Colleen Prendergast and Anne-Marie PIazza – available on Audible.

First Year Birthday Party!

October 9, 2019

Just over one year into the Guppy Books journey, we had a wonderful launch party at the beautiful Blackwell’s Bookshop in the Westgate Centre in Oxford. Authors, illustrators, agents, colleagues and friends came from all over the country to celebrate and I am so grateful to them all, for their support and brilliance and loveliness. One year in, two books out, ten Guppy authors and fourteen books acquired… it’s been quite a busy time! Click here to see some photos of the eve, copyright Ian Wallman.

Second Guppy Book Publishing Today!

October 3, 2019


Described as a ‘free spirit of a book’, we are so proud to be publishing Jaclyn Moriarty’s first book for 8-12 year olds on 3rd October – THE EXTREMELY INCONVENIENT ADVENTURES OF BRONTE METTLESTONE is an enthralling and magical adventure, with a beautiful cover and inside illustrations by Karl James Mountford. Perfect as a Christmas gift, it has been published in the US and Australia and is now available from Guppy Books. For any children who love Harry Potter, magic, witches and pirates, it’s a must-read!

First Guppy Book out in the Wild!

September 9, 2019

Gloves Off by Louisa Reid was published on August 29th 2019, and has already received two rave reviews in the national press – 5 stars in the Sun and a wonderful review full of praise from the Guardian. Louisa held a fabulous launch party at Waterstone’s in Altrincham to celebrate this extraordinarily powerful novel swimming its way out into the world. Guppy’s first book is out!

And to celebrate this and the first anniversary of Guppy’s conception, here’s a link to an interview with Bella on BBC Radio Oxford with Kat Orman. On approximately 1 hour and 8 minutes in!

Six weeks before Guppy’s first book, GLOVES OFF, appears in the shops – and the reviews have already been amazing!

June 12, 2019

Guppy Books acquires new novels by multi-award-winning author, Sharon Creech

May 20, 2019


New independent publisher Guppy Books is delighted to announce the acquisition of two middle-grade titles from much-loved author Sharon Creech. Cecilia de la Campa and Alessandra Birch at Writers House negotiated the two-book deal for UK and Commonwealth rights with Bella Pearson.

The first title, which will publish in hardback in April 2020, is Saving Winslow, the heart-warming story of a young boy called Louie who is distracted from his loneliness as he learns to care for a sick donkey. Everyone is convinced that Winslow won’t survive, but Louie is determined to nurse him back to health, learning an important lesson about life, loss and love along the way.

MOO, the second title which will publish in hardback in August 2020, is a light-hearted story of siblings Reena and Luke, who find themselves looking after a belligerent cow named Zora when their parents decide to move the family to the countryside. Hilarious and heart-warming in equal measure, Moo is the perfect tale of learning responsibility – and believing in yourself.

Both stories have family and friendship at their heart, and told in the gentle, lyrical style that is synonymous with Creech’s writing.

Bella Pearson says: “I have loved Sharon Creech’s writing since reading WALK TWO MOONS AND LOVE THAT DOG as a children’s bookseller many moons ago, and publishing two novels on the Guppy list is simply a dream come true. Both MOO and SAVING WINSLOW are perfect examples of Sharon’s ability to create clear-sighted stories that are comical and heart-warming and which appeal to readers young and old with empathy and understanding. Perfect for our times.”

Sharon Creech is the beloved author of many acclaimed books for young people, and is published in over twenty languages. Her style ranges from novels in verse to fantasy, and have received significant awards recognition including the Newbery Medal for WALK TWO MOONS and the Newbery Honor for THE WANDERER. In 2003 she became the first American author to win the prestigious CILIP Carnegie Medal for RUBY HOLLER.

Before beginning her writing career, Sharon Creech taught English for fifteen years in England and Switzerland. She and her husband now live in Maine. For more information visit

For more information about Sharon Creech please contact Catherine Alport ( / 07843 804 083). Sharon is available for interview.

Interview With The Bookseller

February 19, 2019

Bella talks to Charlotte Eyre at The Bookseller about setting up Guppy Books and its first autumn titles. Read more…

Bella Pearson Launches New Independent Publisher, Guppy Books

February 9, 2019

Photo © Ian Wallman

Bella Pearson, former Publishing Director at David Fickling Books, is delighted to announce that she will be launching a new independent children’s publishing house in 2019.

Guppy Books will be based in Oxford and will publish eight to ten fiction titles a year, which will primarily be aimed at middle grade through to young adult readers. Michael O’Mara Books will be selling and distributing Guppy Books in the UK and export market, and Sarah Pakenham of Scallywag Press, ex-rights director at Andersen Press, will be selling translation rights.

Bella Pearson has worked in children’s books for over twenty-five years. After five years selling books at an independent children’s bookshop, she completed an MA in children’s literature and then moved into publishing at Transworld Children’s Books.

In 2001 she began work as an editor with David Fickling, helping set up his eponymous list under the umbrella of Random House, leaving as publishing director in 2018. She acquired and edited multiple bestselling and award-winning titles during this time, including The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne, The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson, Jessica’s Ghost by Andrew Norriss, Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay and Before I Die by Jenny Downham. She won the Branford Boase Award for Siobhan Dowd’s A Swift Pure Cry in 2007, and has been shortlisted a further five times.

‘To be choosing, editing and producing books for children on my very own list is a dream come true,’ says Pearson. ‘My aim is for Guppy Books to be a responsive, inclusive and transparent publishing house, presenting the very best in original, ground-breaking and entertaining fiction for all ages, from both debut and established authors and illustrators.’

Rumana Haider, UK & Export Sales Director at Michael O’Mara Books, added: “We are delighted to be partnering with Bella on the new, exciting Guppy Books list. Bella is an extraordinary publisher who has a talent for finding and nurturing those voices which really connect with the reader. Everyone at Michael O’Mara Books is passionate about innovative children’s books, and these thought-provoking and entertaining fiction titles will perfectly complement and add a new dimension to our list. We can’t wait to share Bella’s wonderful Guppy Books list far and wide.”

Guppy Books will launch with its first two titles in the autumn of 2019: GLOVES OFF, a gripping YA novel about bullying, body image and boxing from author, Louisa Reid, acquired from Hilary Delamere at The Agency; and a magical middle-grade adventure from Australian writer Jaclyn MoriartyTHE EXTREMELY INCONVENIENT ADVENTURES OF BRONTE METTLESTONE.

Early 2020 sees the publication of two debut middle-grade series, and a thrilling YA novel from critically-acclaimed author, Beverley Birch.

Guppy Books is now accepting submissions from agents, and will announce further plans regarding unsolicited submissions later in the year.

For more information about Guppy Books or to speak to Bella about the list, please contact Catherine Alport

First two Guppy books to be published in autumn

January 9, 2019


Publication of GLOVES OFF by Louisa Reid – a powerful and gripping book in verse for young adults, confronting issues of bullying and body-image.


UK publication of THE EXTREMELY INCONVENIENT ADVENTURES OF BRONTE METTLESTONE by Jaclyn Moriarty – an absorbing and magical tale of a girl who must visit all ten of her extraordinary aunts after her parents are killed by pirates – accompanied by fire-breathing dragons, water-sprites and cloudberry tea.