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Children’s Book Day – Bath Spa University

International Children’s Book Day


BSU celebrates International Children’s Book Day

Tuesday, 2 April, 2024

International Children’s Book Day falls on 2 April this year and Bath Spa University is taking the opportunity to celebrate members of its budding community of celebrated children’s authors.

Organised by the International Board on Books for Young People, the day emphasises the importance of children’s literature, plays a central role in fostering a global appreciation for children’s stories, and promotes literacy and reading to children across the globe.

Windows into the world, children’s literature can act as a tool in the understanding of emotions, social relationships and developing cognitive skills to aid learning in children and young people.

BSU is proud to contribute to the expanding world of children’s literature. Its renowned Writing for Young People MA is taught by published children’s and young adult authors with a wealth of industry experience. Priding itself on producing published professionals, the course enables writers to refine their craft in a supportive environment while learning about the creative and business considerations of the modern publishing industry. 

Writing for Young People MA Programme Leader, Dr. Alexia Casale said: 

“It is a joy to lead this renowned degree. Established in 2004 by Professor Julia Green, the MA now has over 70 traditionally published alumni, and many more with agents, writing awards and other accolades. The quality of our students' work is one of the greatest pleasures; to get to know so many amazing writers at the start of their journey is a privilege.” 

Books published by the University’s graduates include Sky Hawk, Gill Lewis, Stolen, Lucy Christopher, The Year of the Rat, Clare Furniss, Shrunk, Fleur Hitchcock, The Girl Who Stole an Elephant, Nizrana Farook, The Unadoptables, Hana Tooke

Olivia Wakeford 

Many of BSU’s graduates write their debut novels on the course. Writing for Young People MA graduate, Olivia Wakeford described her course as ‘instrumental’ in her career. Since graduating with her manuscript, My Dog, Olivia has secured a two-book deal with eminent publishing house, HarperCollins. 

After signing with an agent the day after graduation, Olivia’s whirlwind road to publication will see her novel hit the shelves next year. Discussing her experience on the MA, Olivia said: 

“One thing that I really love about WFYP is that once you do it, it’s not just the people you graduate with who become part of your writing network, it’s the people before and after too. I think that’s what makes this course so special.” 

She continued: 

“The MA allows you to focus wholly on your writing, to explore the stories you want to tell and to do so in an encouraging and nurturing environment, with industry professionals who know what they are talking about. What more could a writer want?” 

Anika Hussain  

Anika Hussain found her voice while on a year abroad at BSU. Moving from Stockholm to Bath, Anika experimented with different forms of writing. She said: 

“I tried my hand at poetry, short stories, life writing and so much more. However, it wasn’t until I did a module related specifically to children’s writing that I felt I truly belonged. It was in Joanna Nadin’s class that I realised I wanted to write for children, and that I would do everything in my power to ensure I broke into the industry.” 

Since graduating Anika has been taking the world of children’s literature by storm. Her debut novels, published in 2023, This is How You Fall in Love and Norse Folktales, Myths and Legends have set the groundwork for a blossoming career. 

Ellie Grant and Megan Wheeler  

Current MA Writing for Young People students, Ellie Grant and Megan Wheeler have chosen to study the course part time.   

Last year, Ellie was delighted to be shortlisted for the PFD Queer Fiction Prize in the YA and Children’s category. Discussing what she’s learned on the course so far, Ellie said:  

“I’ve learned the importance of routine. As a disabled person, it’s not easy to keep a rigid writing schedule, but through talking with my tutors and peers, I’ve been able to find a writing routine that works for me.” 

She continued:  

“I think this course gives you the tools you need to become a successful writer. We’re encouraged to experiment and play, while also keeping an awareness of what the publishing industry wants from writers.”  

Since being accepted onto BSU’s MA Writing for Young People, Megan has secured an internship with boutique literary agency, The Shaw Agency. With support from her cohort, Megan has taken every opportunity the course has presented. Speaking about the breadth of opportunities available, she said:  

“The sheer number of opportunities that arise from this course are incredible. There are guest lectures on topics related to writing for children and the industry, events and trips, possibilities for networking with industry professionals, not to mention the classes themselves that are taught by published authors!”  

Do you have a story to tell? Our Creative Writing courses can help you find your voice and take your writing to the next level. 

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