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Guppy Books is an independent children’s fiction publisher based in Oxford, UK. Set up in 2019 by publisher Bella Pearson, Guppy publishes an eclectic, diverse and entertaining list of books for children from the age of five to eighteen. Since its first publication in September 2019, we have been shortlisted for all the major children’s book prizes including the Carnegie Medal, the Costa Children’s Book Award, the Young Adult Book Prize and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. In 2023, The Cats We Meet Along the Way by Nadia Mikail won the Waterstones Overall Children’s Book of the Year.

Small but mighty is our motto – we publish the very best authors and illustrators from around the world. Our titles are sold and distributed by Michael O’Mara Books, and are available through Gardners and Signature Books as well and all library and school book providers.

Every year, we run the Guppy Open Submission competition; alternating between young adult and middle-grade titles. The competition starts in the spring and runs over the summer, with a winner announced in the autumn. The prize is a contract with Guppy Books. The winner of the first Guppy Open Submission Competition was Nadia Mikail, who went on to win the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize as well as be shortlisted for the Young Adult Prize and the Branford Boase Award.

Bella Pearson


Bella has worked in children’s publishing for over twenty-five years after working for five years in a children’s bookshops and completing an MA in children’s literature. She began her publishing career as an editorial assistant at Transworld Children’s Books and then moved to David Fickling Books in Oxford where she spent seventeen years in a variety of roles, ending up as publishing director. She has won the Branford Boase Award once, been shortlisted six times, and has worked with some of the very best authors in the children’s fiction world, including Jenny Downham, Philip Pullman, SF Said, Dave Shelton and Linda Newbery. Photo © Ian Wallman

Hannah Featherstone


Hannah is a children’s book editor with over fifteen years of publishing experience. For six of those years she was an editor at David Fickling Books, where she learned a huge amount about recognising talented writers and developing strong stories.

As a freelance fiction editor she works on a range of fiction titles for a number of different children’s publishers, including Head of Zeus, Pushkin Press, Hot Key Books and Usborne.

She lives in Warwickshire, balancing editing with looking after three small children. Obviously they are all bookworms in the making!

Ness Wood


Ness Wood is an award-winning freelance art director, book designer, lecturer, published author and has qualifications in design history. She has worked for major publishers and is known for her encouraging, straight-forward and collaborative approach with illustrators and students.

Ness is also one of the co-founders of Orange Beak Studio. Since 2017 Orange Beak, made up of award-winning illustrators, designers and picturebook makers, have been offering one-to-one tutorials, mentoring, portfolio surgeries and varied workshops. Ness is recipient of the BBD&P award in the Graphic Novel Category 2018 for the book Thornhill (Pam Smy). |

Catherine Alport


Catherine started her publishing career in 2008 as PA to the Managing Director of Scholastic Children’s Books before joining the publicity department at Random House Children’s Publishing. She returned to Scholastic as Publicity Officer in 2010, working with Sarah McIntyre, Philip Reeve and Maggie Stiefvater. Whilst in that role she also was responsible for the launch of Liz Pichon’s best-selling Tom Gates series.

Catherine joined Macmillan Children’s Books as Publicity Manager in 2013, working with a range of authors, illustrators and poets including Carol Ann Duffy, Emily Gravett, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, and Sir Tony Robinson.  She also worked closely with Chris Riddell during his time as Children’s Laureate.

In 2018 Catherine embarked on a freelance career, working with a variety of clients from publishers to literacy charities, including the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE), as well as continuing to work directly for Liz Pichon and Chris Riddell.

Kat Jones


Kat is a highly experienced educational consultant, content writer and English tutor. Prior to venturing into the freelance world, she worked as a teacher in Oxfordshire for seventeen years. During her teaching career Kat worked with students ranging from 5- 16 years of age and she held leadership roles in English and Key Stage 2 at her school. 

Kat has written units of work for Hamilton Brookes and she facilitates online book clubs for international students. She is passionate about promoting reading for pleasure.