FCBG Annual Conference 2020

Post written by Chris Routh, FCBG Chair.

At this year’s Federation of Children’s Book Groups’ conference we will be marking the anniversaries of three different publishers. 


Chicken House will be celebrating twenty years of focusing on publishing exciting new fiction. It was founded by Barry Cunningham who famously signed up J K Rowling while working at Bloomsbury before leaving in 2000 to set up his own company. The list has grown from strength to strength now boasting 168 titles ranging from well established authors like Cornelia Funke and Kevin Brooks to relatively new kids on the block like Maz Evans and Kiran Millwood Hargrave. The Times/Chicken House competition to find undiscovered talent was launched in 2007 resulting in a clutch of new writers for children including Kieran Larwood and Celia Rees. Find out more about the competition here https://www.chickenhousebooks.com/submissions/#about We are delighted that two Chicken House authors will be at the conference: Emma Carroll will be discussing historical fiction with Tom Palmer in one of the seminars and Chris d’Lacey will be in conversation with Justin Somper and Nikki Gamble.


Walker Books was founded by Sebastian Wallker, Amelia Edwards and Wendy Boase in 1978. The publisher’s first 18 books were published in 1980 – making this year Walker Book’s fortieth anniversary. Today Walker publishes around 300 titles every year ranging from books for babies to Young Adult fiction. The Branford Boase Award for a debut author and their editor celebrated its twentieth anniversary last year. Find out more about the award here https://www.thebookseller.com/blogs/twenty-years-branford-boase-award-998586  Books published by Walker Books have always been well represented on the Federation  Children’s Book Award lists. Last year The Dog Who Lost His Bark by Eoin Colfer and P J Lynch won the Young Readers category, preceded by two overall winners –  Skeleton Key by Anthony Horowitz in 2003 and Baby Brains by Simon James in 2005. We are delighted that Simon will be opening conference for us on Friday, and in celebration of their anniversary Walker Books is also sponsoring the pre gala dinner cocktails on Saturday.


Penguin was founded in 1935 by Sir Allen Lane and his brothers Richard and John. The first books for children appeared in 1940, starting with four titles in a series of illustrated non-fiction books called the Puffin Picture Book series, followed a year later by the first Puffin story book – Worzel Gummidge by Barbara Euphan Todd. Since 2013 Penguin has been an imprint of Penguin Random House who are celebrating the 80th anniversary of Puffin this year. Puffin’s impressive list includes classic favourites ranging from Little Women to Roald Dahl’s books, as well as popular series like Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Robin Steven’s Murder Most Unladylike, picture books, poetry and more. Visit the website to discover the full range https://www.penguin.co.uk/brands/puffin.html We are delighted that Jeremy Strong who won the Children’s Book Award with The Hundred Mile-An-Hour-Dog in 1997, will be speaking at the conference on Saturday 18th April.
Booking for the conference is open until Friday 28th February. Places for weekend residents and day delegates are available. Other highlights include the publishers’ exhibition and a bookshop. It’s a great way to catch up on current writing and publishing for children. April 17th – 19th at Exeter University. For more information and to book your place see here http://fcbg.org.uk/conference/

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