On Friday last week, the judges and I met on Zoom to discuss the shortlisted titles for the 2021 Guppy Middle Grade Open Submission – and I am thrilled to announce that the winner of this year’s competition is James Dixon with his atmospheric, evocative and moving novel, THE BILLOW MAIDEN. And the very worthy runner-up is Carrie Sellon, with her wonderfully funny and sparkling, PIZZA PETE AND THE PERFECTLY BONKERS PIZZA PLACE.
It is so heartening to see so much talent around in the midde-grade writing world. The shortlisted novels were so broad in scope and theme, with some fabulous concepts and writing. To reach the last 10 out of 300 is no mean feat, so congratulations to all the shortlisted authors: Zareena Subhani, Sarah House, Emily Randall, Amy Feest, Olu Oke, Sam Oaten and Cathryn Norriss.
A huge thank you to the awesome panel of judges this year – librarian Jenny Jones, teacher Rich Simpson, editor Adamma Okonkwo and editor/author Linda Sargent. Their expertise and love of children’s books was absolutely invaluable to the process, and I’m grateful for their time and energy when they are all so busy. Also, to the wonderful Fern Tolley who helped with the longlist, and the students from the Publishing Course at Oxford Brookes University for their help with the initial submissions.
And finally, HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to James and Carrie!
Guppy Books MG Open Submission Shortlist announced!
July 29, 2021
What a difficult job! But we have finally managed to whittle down the longlist of thirty-six to a shortlist of ten. 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 absolutely thrilled for the shortlisted authors. Thank you to all who submitted such a dazzling array of stories – they were all such a high standard and hugely enjoyable to read. Now it’s the judges turn to agree on a winner – watch this space in the autumn…
Congratulations to these authors! They are, in no particular order:
Emily Randall – The Water’s Child
Olu Oke – The Triumphant Rise of P. Fanque’s Incredible Insect Circus
Christopher Galvin – The Thing About Giants
Sam Oaten – The Demon’s Apprentice
Caroline Sellon – Pizza Pete and the Perfectly Bonkers Pizza Place
Amy Feest – The Hunderbeaste
Sarah House – Five For Silver
James Dixon – The Billow Maiden
Zareena Subhani – Split
Cathryn Norris – The Magic of Hare Hill
Introducing the judges for the Guppy Open Submissions Middle-Grade Competition!
July 27, 2021
It’s time to whittle down the longlist to the shortlist, announcement to be made on Thursday, but before then check out the four talented and experienced judges who will be involved in choosing a WINNER! I’m so thrilled that all these people, with their expertise, are able to read and consider all the shortlisted entries over the summer, with the winner to be announced in the autumn.
Adamma Okonkwo is an editor at the Golden Egg Academy following a stint in audio publishing. A recovering architect, she decided to take refuge in the more exciting world of books and has since lived happily ever after.
Jenny Jones read so many books during her time as a Carnegie and Greenaway Award Judge that she ended up having to do special pre-reading warm-up exercises for her arm muscles. She’s been a School Librarian for 0-13 year olds for nearly nine years now. She previously worked in the Graduate School of Education Library in the University of Bristol and Bristol’s Public Library Service where she loved running the Summer Reading Challenge for children. At the moment she is working in Clifton College’s Prep School Library with Years 4-8. She has demanding, discerning and vocal young readers and she is always on the look-out for books that they will fall in love with and inevitably squabble over when all of the Library copies are on loan.
Rich Simpson is a UK-based Primary Deputy Headteacher, with over 20 year’s experience as a classroom teacher, school leader and English subject leader. A passion for reading and Children’s Literature led him to set up book review site whatiread.co.uk during lockdown, and he is involved with numerous publishers, on blogtours, designing resources for use with books and blogging as @richreadalot. He was the winner of Nexus Education’s 2021 award for School Improvement.
Linda Sargent grew up in Kent, went to the University of Sussex (fashionably late) to study Economic History, at least that was the official line, but as usual spent a lot of time reading fiction. She has worked in education and the arts since the nineteen seventies, and since 2002 has worked as a publisher’s reader for David Fickling Books and as a freelance reminiscence and disability advisor. She has published short stories and articles and her first novel, Paper Wings, appeared in 2010; she is also the author of Words and Wings, a training guide to creative reminiscence work, available as a free download from her website: www.lindasargent.co.uk
THE WINNERS OF THE #NameYourKnight competition have been chosen by the Brothers McLeod!
July 16, 2021
Myles and Greg had a fantastic time looking at all your entries – thank you so much to everyone who entered the competition, and it was very hard to make a decision! But in the end, these talented people have won the chance to get their names in the next Knight Sir Louis adventure as well as a full set of the brilliantly bonkers Knight Sir Louis tales. Congratulations to you all!
Knight Sir David the 523rd by Cormac of St Sylvester’s Primary
Highly commended entry
Knight Sir Jiggly Pig by Ellie and Evelyn of Botley Primary
Five runners up
Knight Sir Whiskers by Tom
Knight Sir Flower by Katie
Knight Sir Jeff by Kiko
Knight Sir Night-Night by Gabriela
Knight Sir Gadoces of Mad by Chloe
NATIONAL POETRY DAY 2021 – two Guppy Books chosen!
July 13, 2021
We’re so thrilled that two Guppy titles are on the National Poetry Day Recommended Reading List for 2021 – the powerful, hard-hitting verse novel, WRECKED, by the incredible Louisa Reid, and a middle-grade novel told largely in verse, MOO by Carnegie winner Sharon Creech.
Both of these titles use language, placement, rhythm and layout in order to create an accessible, emotional read – look out for them both in the bookshops, or order from the Guppy shop!
GUPPY MIDDLE-GRADE OPEN SUBMISSION LONGLIST ANNOUNCED!
July 12, 2021
For the second year running, Guppy Books opened its portholes for unpublished and unagented writers – and wow, what a response we had! With over 300 entries, it was exhilarating to see the talent and creativity in these entries. We have managed, with difficulty, to whittle down the entries to a longlist of 36, as listed below.
Thank you so much for sending in your entry for Guppy’s open submission window. I was so impressed with the standard of writing, the original ideas and the incredible energy that went into all the submissions. It was a hard task to whittle 300 down to 36 and it’ll be harder still to choose the shortlist. I had the help of some brilliant students from the publishing course at Oxford Brookes – and it was a tough job!
Huge congratulations to those who made the longlist! You will hear more about the next stages individually by email.
Acquiring books is such a subjective thing, and as true of most editors I have said no to many books that go on to do great things; so if you don’t make it onto this list I hope you don’t feel too disappointed. It has been a pleasure to read all the submissions and thank you again for your participation.
With best wishes
Publisher Guppy Books
Karen Naylor Olu Oke Debbie Longstaff Emma Norris Essie Brammer Lucy Mesanges Alex Webber Smith Laurie Lascos Emily Randall Christopher Galvin Sam Oaten Katja Kaine Caroline Sellon Tracy Curran Ashia Mirza Maureen Tai Natalia Godsmark Naomi Conran Zoe Rogers Amy Feest Kate Walker Georgina Frame Matt Cowan Susan Bain E Floyd Hall Fiona Spence-Arnold Damara Allen LJ Moss Jessica Nelson Emma Bradley Sarah House James Dixon Zareena Subhani Cathryn Norris Kate Poels Mel Stephenson
KNIGHT SIR LOUIS IS CALLING YOU TO ARMS – A COMPETITION FOR ALL SCHOOLS TO ENTER WITH SOME FABULOUS PRIZES ON OFFER!
June 14, 2021
O YAY O YAY, we are thrilled to announce that we are running a creative competition with the marvellous Brothers McLeod, and every school that enters will be in with a chance of appearing in the next Knight Sir Louis book itself!
Myles and Greg would like you to design your very own Knight, coming up with a suitable name, a trusty steed and perhaps an unusual sidekick and skill. This is a creative project for the summer term suitable for children in Key Stages One and Two, and teachers and parents can download our fun factsheet which includes some creative prompts and a space to draw your character (or characters).
The closing date for entries is Friday the 9th July. We’ll announce the winners on the 16th July just before schools break up. Send your entries to email@example.com, or tweet a picture to @guppybooks.
The prizes include: FIRST PRIZE: an overall winner who gets their knight featured in the next Knight Sir Louis book, a HIGHLY COMMENDED entry, whose school will be name-checked in the next Knight Sir Louis book, and FIVE RUNNERS-UP who will win a signed set of Knight Sir Louis books!
And ALL winners will be credited in the new book, which will be published in May 2022!
Myles and Greg have put together some videos which are on the Guppy Aquarium on YouTube – one for teachers, one for children and one where they talk about how they come up with their brilliant, creative ideas for inspiration – or the Brothers McLeod Youtube channel here. And there’s a pdf here with activity sheet to enter – download HERE. And we hope you have LOADS OF FUN! Happy summer and happy reading – from the whole Knight Sir Louis clan!
Empathy Day… and publication day too!
June 10, 2021
It’s National Empathy Day today, and we are thrilled that the incredible GLOVES OFF by Louisa Reid has been chosen as an Empathy title by Empathy Lab – all these title promote empathy through reading – and it really is an incredible list of titles for young adults.
GLOVES OFF was Guppy’s first title to be published, and holds a very special place in my heart. It represents everything that Guppy was founded for – a book that’s utterly absorbing and engrossing, compelling and page-turning, and yet different too – it confronts attitudes and ideas that often people look away from. As a novel, it runs that line of being utterly unputdownable and wholly impactful – yet accessible and for ALL readers, both young adult and adult. I will always be so grateful to the hugely talented Louisa Reid for taking a punt with Guppy and climbing on board! (Don’t miss her second YA novel, WRECKED too – equally emotionally impactful and powerful.)
And it’s also publication day for the paperback edition of the ‘Outrageously entertaining’ (Lancashire Post) THE SLIGHTLY ALARMING TALE OF THE WHISPERING WARS by Jaclyn Moriarty – the second in the Bronte Mettlestone series (albeit a prequel set twelve years earlier – this fabulously quirky and magical story tells of two warring sets of children who are forced to collaborate when the real Whispering Wars begin and children start to go missing… don’t miss it!
The Guppy Open Submission Week has arrived – plus read all about Jaclyn Moriarty and her writing processes
June 6, 2021
The portholes of Guppy Books are open to all unagented and unpublished middle-grade writers who have a novel to share!
Please include the first 2000 words of your middle-grade novel, plus a synopsis, preferably as a Word attachment. Entry is free, although we would ask you to support Guppy Books as an independent publisher by buying a Guppy book from any bookshop or online store.
We will be announcing a longlist in early July, a shortlist in late July, and a winner will be offered a contract with Guppy Books in the autumn. Please keep an eye out on social media and our website for confirmation of future dates.
We are also thrilled that Jaci Moriarty has completed a Q&A about her own writing and publishing processes – please see below and the very best of luck to you all!
The M-G Open Submissions Week is nearly here!
May 30, 2021
It isn’t long before the open window to submit your middle-grade manuscript arrives! Please email the first 2000 words and synopsis of your novel for middle grade readers between 9am on Monday 7th June and 5pm on Friday 11th June – you will receive a response to confirm that you have entered correctly, and we are thrilled that the magnificent author, Jaclyn Moriarty, has specially answered some fascinating questions about her own writing method and publishing journey as an author which we will send out to all entrees.
A team of publishing students and I will be whittling down the submissions to first a longlist of around 40 titles in the early summer, and then a shortlist in July, before announcing a winner in September 2021. We are thrilled that judges Adamma Okonkwo (an editor at the Golden Egg Academy), Linda Sargent (editor and reader at David Fickling Books) and Jenny Jones, librarian at Clifton College, will be helping make a final decision.
We are not charging a fee for entry, but we do ask that if you can, you support Guppy Books by considering buying a title from its list. Many thanks!
Do email your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org – and don’t hesitate to ask any questions. Please see below for more information, and the best of luck to everyone!
‘A book to shout about’ The i newspaper
May 20, 2021
THE SLIGHTLY ALARMING TALE OF THE WHISPERING WARS is the second book in the Bronte Mettlestone series – it’s actually a prequel to THE EXTREMELY INCONVENIENT ADVENTURES OF BRONTE METTLESTONE, set twelve years before, and is a story told in turn by two characters – Finlay, from the local orphanage, and Honey Bee, from the Brathelthwaite Boarding School.
There’s an ongoing feud between the orphanage and the boarding school, but when the Whispering Wars break out, all the children have to come together in order to save themselves and their town. The story is full of magic and adventure, and time travel too (Bronte makes an appearance!) – perfect for your 8 to 12-year-old who loves Lemony Snicket and Harry Potter. It was shortlisted for the CBCA Award in Australia.
Pre-order now! Or find it in your local bookshop after 10th June 2021.
TWO NEW MARVELLOUS MIDDLE-GRADE BOOKS HIT THE SHELVES!
May 13, 2021
This month is a middle-grade cornucopia – we have two fabulous books for readers between 6 and 12 now available from all good bookshops. The second book in the hilarious Knight Sir Louis series is out – Knight Sir Louis and the Dragon of Dooooooom! The Lancashire Post said: ‘Sublimely funny and seriously entertaining, this is the ideal way to get your youngsters hooked on reading…’ and Jo Nadin ‘loves these books SO much! Mr Gum levels of weird and brilliant!’ If you want to guarantee your children will roar with laughter and enjoy the brilliantly inventive illustrations, then this is the book for you. Check out some puppet reviews of real-life authors and comedians HERE!
And for any children who love inventing, engineering or just poring over detailed illustrations, WILL JAKEMAN’S MARVELLOUS MECHANIMALS is just for them – the story of inventor Will Jakeman, probably the best inventor there has ever been. Read about his amazing childhood, marvel at his incredible inventions, and quiver with fear at his arch enemy Ida Gripp! And children can have a go at creating their very own Mechanimal in the book too.
It’s time for the Guppy Middle Grade Open Submission 2021!
April 27, 2021
Following the huge success of last year’s Guppy Young Adult Open Submission – where we had over 350 entries, a shortlist of 11 and finally chose the magnificent winner, Nadia Mikail, whose book we’re publishing in the spring next year – we are now holding a similar competition but this time for middle grade writers.
We are throwing the portholes open to all unagented and unpublished authors between 7th and 11th June 2021. We are looking for a new and exciting voice in middle-grade writing. We are casting our net far and wide, and especially encourage people from underrepresented backgrounds to apply.
Please email your submission to email@example.com between 9am GMT on Monday 7th June and 5pm GMT Friday 11th June 2021.
To submit, please include the first 2000 words of your middle-grade 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 the writing itself is much more important!
Please email as a Word document. One submission per person. Any enquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
We will shortlist down to a list of ten by early July and a winner will be announced in September 2021. All shortlisted authors will be offered an editorial meeting with Bella Pearson. The winner will be offered a contract with Guppy Books. We do not charge an entry fee, though we would invite all entrants to buy a book published by Guppy Books (available from all bookshops and online retailers as well as the Guppy shop), but only if they can!
Please see the press release below.
Another Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Week for Sharon Creech!
April 12, 2021
Moo by Sharon Creech has been chosen as the Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Week – the fourth title published by Guppy to receive this accolade. As Nicolette Jones says: ‘Carnegie and Newbery medal-winner Creech has a magic touch. She writes simply and directly (in this novel, largely in blank verse), yet her unshowy language is transporting and charged with emotion…. It’s delightful and infused with understanding of how young and old might behave and feel.’
We are so proud to be Sharon’s publisher in the UK – a dream come true. MOO is available in all good bookshops (and you can now go and visit the shops for real – hooray!)
MAGGIE BLUE IS THE SUNDAY TIMES CHILDREN’S BOOK OF THE WEEK!
March 22, 2021
What a lot of excitement to see MAGGIE BLUE AND THE DARK WORLD as Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Week on Sunday March 21st – it’s such an accolade and we’re thrilled for Anna and her incredible novel. So well-deserved – and absolutely spot on. It’s been a tricky time with the shops shut, so this has made our day! Well done, Anna, and onwards, Maggie!
A BOOK LAUNCH FOR TSUNAMI GIRL!
March 19, 2021
We had such a wonderful evening online on Thursday 18th March, celebrating the launch of Julian Sedgwick and Chie Kutsuwada’s magnificent novel, TSUNAMI GIRL. Julian’s prose and Chie’s manga has combined to create a magnificent story – sensitively, emotionally drawn in both words and manga. It was so fascinating listening to them talk about the creation of this unusual novel, and huge thanks to them and Tamsin Rosewell from Kenilworth Books for chairing an enlightening, emotional evening.
Click here if you weren’t able to make the event live – and enter password +aD4@u%4 to watch again. Signed copies by both Julian and Chie are available on the Waterstone’s website here.
Win a signed print of MAGGIE BLUE and watch the recorded interview here!
March 10, 2021
It was never the intention that we would publish Anna Goodall’s magnificent novel, MAGGIE BLUE AND THE DARK WORLD, into a pandemic – we were anticipating a launch in a local indie bookshop clutching warm glasses of white wine. But the beauty of a Zoom event became evident – last night we spent an hour in the company of Anna and the multi-award-winning and all round lovely person, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, for a fascinating conversation about the book, writing styles, how indie publishing differs from big corporation and editorial methods, amongst much much more.
We loved watching – and in case you couldn’t make it live, here is a recording of the event to listen to in your own time. The readings by Anna are simply amazing too – she’s destined for an audiobook career!
Click here to watch – if you need a passcode, type in LX%K1#uh
Until the end of Sunday 14th March we are offering a signed and dedicated bookplate from Anna to be sent to anyone who buys a copy of MAGGIE BLUE AND THE DARK WORLD from Blackwells – and also the opportunity to win a magnificent limited edition print of the cover 30x40cm signed by both author and illustrator. Please email email@example.com with proof of postage to be placed in the draw, as well as who you would like your bookplate dedicated to. Winner announced on Monday 15th!
The magnificent TSUNAMI GIRL is out now!
March 5, 2021
We are so proud to be publishing this incredible book, written by Julian Sedgwick and with manga from Chie Kutsuwada. A powerful coming-of-age story about a fifteen-year- old girl caught up in the March 2011 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, this story for young adults will touch the hearts of all readers.
Check out the incredible trailer above. Signed copies available through the shop.
Guppy Books is a Regional Finalist for the British Book Award’s Small Press Award!
February 19, 2021
We are absolutely thrilled that Guppy Books has been chosen as a regional finalist for the Small Press Award in the British Book Awards. What an honour to be on a list with so many other amazing publishers, and so early in our publishing journey too.
I am so grateful for the incredible Guppy authors and illustrators, as well as my talented and dedicated team whose hard work has allowed this to happen. We might be small, but everything we publish promises to be mighty – and to have this acknowledged by the trade means the world.
It’s 2021, and there’s a light on the horizon, but we aren’t quite there yet. So all this January, we are offering our books at amazing prices – and a fixed P&P of £3 however many you order. You’ll find all sorts of incredible stories to entertain you on these cold nights, for all ages as well as yourself and every order will receive a bookmark and postcard too.
We’ve only been going for just over a year (and what a year it was) but we’ve already had two Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Week, all our books have received rave reviews, and many have already been shortlisted for awards.
LOUISA REID OFFERS SCHOOL VISITS for 2021!
November 30, 2020
The fabulous Louisa Reid, author of Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Week, GLOVES OFF and latest novel, WRECKED, is offering schools the opportunity to enjoy a Zoom author visit during the spring term of 2021, suitable for Years 7, 8, 9 and up.
Louisa is a secondary school English teacher in Manchester; her inspirational visits have already engaged, motivated and encouraged many young people to rediscover the joy of reading, which so many can easily forget at this time. Reading has never been more important, and Louisa conveys this using her many years of teaching experience and her own immersive, fast-paced, layered novels which cover discussion topics such as the devastating effects of bullying, body image and coercive relationships.
Louisa will not charge a fee, but we would ask that the school buy a class set of either GLOVES OFF or WRECKED from a local independent bookshop.
So if you are a teacher, librarian or other educator, please do contact Catherine Alport on firstname.lastname@example.org or Bella Pearson on email@example.com.
THE SLIGHTLY ALARMING TALE OF THE WHISPERING WARS is one of the i newspaper’s 30 Best Children’s Books for Christmas!
November 20, 2020
After THE EXTREMELY INCONVENIENT ADVENTURES OF BRONTE METTLESTONE was chosen as one of the i newspaper’s best books of 2019, Jaclyn Moriarty’s second book has been included in the above list! A fabulous accolade for another magical intriguing adventure that tells the story of two warring groups of children who must come together to fight a bigger fi altogether… available in the shop for a short time only with £2 off, don’t miss it!
SIGNED COPIES OF KNIGHT SIR LOUIS HAVE ARRIVED!
November 13, 2020
‘As if Hans Christian Andersen had cornered you in a pub and got his own yarn in the wrong order, or The Brothers Grimm had squeezed up next to you with a Tupperware box of home-made sandwiches on a long coach journey – Knight Sir Louis is an epic non-epic saga’ So says Stewart Lee – and if he thinks so, you know it’s going to be a brilliant read!
KNIGHT SIR LOUIS AND THE DREADFUL DAMSEL has been entertaining children (and Stewart Lee) all over the country – it’s the first of a new series perfect for readers looking for something to follow Diary of a Wimpy Kid or the 13 Storey Treehouse series. With humour straight from Monty Python and a fantastic combination of illustrations and story, children LOVE it. And if you order it from the Guppy shop, you’ll receive a signed copy sent first class for a sale price of only £5.99 (RRP £6.99)!
Head to the Guppy shop where you’ll find books for all ages, perfect for Christmas presents or just staving off the boredom during Lockdown Part 2… we know that your budding readers will love the stories they find here!
THE GUPPY SHOP IS NOW OPEN!
November 9, 2020
If for any reason you can’t get to your local bookshop and would like to buy direct from Guppy Books, now you can! Every order will be sent out first class and will include something extra – a postcard, a bookmark or a badge. And you can order as many books as you like for only £3 postage. Take a look here!
THREE GUPPY TITLES LONGLISTED FOR 2021 UKLA AWARDS!
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!
A NEW STORY ABOUT BRONTE METTLESTONE IS OUT NOW!
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.
YA COMPETITION WINNER ANNOUNCED!
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.
HOORAY FOR KNIGHT SIR LOUIS, A HERO OF OUR TIME!
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…
GUPPY BOOKS YA OPEN SUBMISSIONS SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED!
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
GUPPY YA OPEN SUBMISSION LONGLIST ANNOUNCED!
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.
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 Publisher 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
THE EE-AWESOME SAVING WINSLOW IS OUT IN THE WORLD – AND IT’S THE SUNDAY TIMES CHILDREN’S BOOK OF THE WEEK!
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!
YA OPEN SUBMISSIONS LIVE THIS WEEK!
May 10, 2020
Between 9am Monday 11th May and 11.59 on Friday 15th May 2020, Guppy Books will open its portholes to all unagented YA writers who have a novel to share.
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.
GUPPY PUBLISHING PART NOVEL, PART MANGA IN 2021!
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!
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!
GUPPY YA NOVEL COMPETITION – OPEN SUBMISSIONS MAY 2020!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 email@example.com 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.
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!
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
THURSDAY, 3RD OCTOBER 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!
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
LONDON, MONDAY, 20TH MAY 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 www.sharoncreech.com
For more information about Sharon Creech please contact Catherine Alport (email@example.com / 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
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.”