Tuesday 20 December 2011

Countdown to Christmas: The Bright Literary Agency part of Bright Group International

The Bright Literary Agency part of Bright Group International is a bold and buzzing agency, on the look out for brilliant children's writers. 

Vicki Willden-Lebrecht
Vicki Willden-Lebrecht is the brains behind the group. She wants to keep the heart and soul in a growing business by taking care of the writers and illustrators her agency represents; nurturing and growing their talent

Gemma Cooper
Gemma Cooper is brand new to Bright. She brings with her a wealth of children's book knowledge and editorial expertise. Her aim is to expand both the picture book and fiction author portfolios as well as continuing to build on its successes.

So, we asked Vicki and Gemma for some Christmas cheer and this is what they said...

Things we want to see in manuscripts: 
  • Strong voice from the first line, for example How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher and The Great Hamster Massacre by Katie Davies and Hannah Shaw 
  • A sense of humour – be it clever, gross or slapstick. Make us laugh! 
  • Different ways of presenting ideas by playing with words and visuals, for example the tables in Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan and Jeff Kinney's presentation in Wimpy Kid. These can really help reluctant readers gel with a book 
  • A-ffectual writing - i.e. thought provoking, anger provoking, laugh out loud, hysterical tears - so it really feels like escapism. Characterization and interaction between characters - someone to love, hate or identify with on a universal scale

Gemma's favourite children’s books:

My current favourite is When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, which I read a few years back whilst living in New York.
I remember hugging the book when I finished it! The voice is spot on, the mystery keeps you turning the pages, the characters are all well developed and the resolution just makes your heart sing.

My childhood favourite is The BFG by Roald Dahl. My dad used to read us a chapter a night and reading the book as an adult brings back such happy memories.

Vicki's favourite children’s books: 

I really love Wanda and the Alien by Sue Hendra and Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School by David Mackintosh.

These are highly entertaining and really fun, but also have an underlying positive message that doesn’t come across in a preachy manner.

As a kid, I was a massive Judy Blume fan, and it always makes me smile remembering a disgusted looking mother handing my mother a brown paper bag with Forever hidden inside. My mother was just delighted I was reading!

We only accept email submissions. Please send us the first 3 chapters plus a synopsis or the full text if your submission is a picture book to literarysubmissions@brightgroupinternational.com Please send these as .doc or .pdf attachments and add a short cover letter to your email. We do not accept paper submissions.


  1. A-ffectual writing ... effective affecting - excellent but a tall order! Thank you for joining our Christmas Countdown!

  2. I love the idea of presenting our work differently! Yet another excellent and informative post. Hopefully in 2012 you will all start receiving the type/style of manuscripts you wish for. As I have said before, such a great idea slushpilers

  3. Great list! Thanks to Gemma and Vicki!

  4. Another brilliant post - love that list of what Gemma and Vicki would like to see.

  5. Great comments here - love the ideas and this list.

  6. So great to see new agencies on the scene, and it was great to meet you in Winchester Gemma. Judy Blume was my first intro to teen books too Vicki - a love affair that continued for a long time!

  7. The joy of a good book just gleams through this post - and I've more books to add to the 'to be read' pile - perfect :o)

  8. So much enthusiasm in these Christmas Countdown posts - having met Gemma, I know that she brims with the stuff!

    A little trivia - Jennifer Egan was so worried about the PowerPoint chapter being rejected by her editor that she didn't slip it into the manuscript until the final edit! Of course, now it's the part of the book that everyone talks about...

  9. Thanks to the Slushpilers for letting us contribute to the advent series - which has been amazing every day! And thanks to everyone for commenting - glad you enjoyed our post. Hope to see you all at the next SCBWI event

    (Nick - totally love that fact about Jennifer Egan!)

  10. When I bought My Name is Mina by David Almond I didn't want to read it because I knew I would enjoy it! I have never read any book so slowly, I wanted to make it last and last, so I understand completely the urge to hug a book.

  11. It's great to read 'heart and soul', 'nurturing'and 'escapism' used positively: readers & writers need lots of TLC.
    As a great SCBWI fan, I know you will find plenty of 'brilliant writers' out there to keep you buzzing.


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