Saturday 24 December 2011

Countdown to Christmas: Senior Commissioning Editor, Hachette Children's Books, Beverley Birch

Beverley Birch, friend and mentor to many slushpilers and published authors alike, gives us the last Advent gift. Beverley is a senior commissioning editor for Hachette Children's Books and three times nominated Brandford Boase editor. She is a writer of more than 40 books including novels, picture books, biographies and retellings of classic works. Her novel, 'Rift' came out in 2006 and you know you are in the hands of a true storyteller when you read the very first page.

When she was young, Beverley wanted to be a pilot...

 ...or an explorer...

 ...something which took her to new places and where she could be brave and intrepid.

 Writing takes her there now!

So, what is Beverley's Christmas wishlist?

1. Vigorous, original voice – serious or funny, quirky or strange, I’m open to any – but something that sucks me in, so I feel a very personal connection with characters and their predicament.

2. To be bewitched by curiosity from the outset. That ‘Oh! Where is this going? Where’s it taking me?’ feeling. Any genre or tradition in story-telling – no boundaries – but I want to be grabbed by the intrigue or puzzle or humour from that very first page.

3. A writer with something interesting/illuminating to say – not ‘just a story’ but a tale that is a revelation in some way, a window onto something, leaving me richer than I was before I read it, transmitted through the characters and how they knock against each other and their environment, the choices they make, in the bones and sinews of their story.

Slushie note: Check out Beverley's masterclass and make your writing soar in 2012!

Anne of Green Gables

Favourite book from childhood: Anne of Green Gables which Beverley loved for its sense of place.

Take a look tomorrow, dear readers, for Christmas wishes from the Slushpile Team!


  1. Rift is a wonderful book! I remember reading it after I met Beverley at my first ever Winchester conference in 2006! She is indeed a wonderful friend to Slushies and a legend in her own lifetime in Scoobie and children's writing circles. Love her Christmas list!

  2. This is a wise and rich gift indeed. Many thanks, Beverley!

  3. Rift is indeed a splendid book ... I selfishly wish you weren't a busy editor so that you could just write books for us! Beautiful wishes, they made me go back to my work in my progress and think about my reader. Thank you, Beverley.

  4. Thanks Beverley, you've given me some interesting thoughts to ponder on over Christmas. Mainly - what do I want to experience as a reader and am I providing that as an author. You've made me want to try a lot harder!
    Merry Christmas, Maureen

  5. This post really made me smile - it's so full of book cheer! Thanks Beverley

  6. Great advent gift to finish on. And thanks for the link to the masterclass write-up - I just read it again and was re-inspired.

  7. Perfect choice for the last door of the Countdown to Christmas - I love Beverley's list, these are all the things I seek as a reader and strive for as a writer. Thank you Beverley for being friend and mentor to this Slushpiler - it means more than I can say :o)

  8. I still have my (conference signed!) copy of Rift from all those years ago. It's been read (a couple of times) but still near pristine as I expect it to be worth a great deal in the future! Thanks for all your help and advice to so many of us Beverley. SCBWI would be a poorer place without you.

  9. I've always found Beverley to be an inspiration, both as a writer and as a speaker at writing conferences. A very fitting finale to this excellent season of booky people.

  10. I'd like to say a huge thank you to Beverley for her encouragement with my Dougal Trump books, for convincing me that maybe I should write for children rather than adults. And now Dougal Trump has a two book deal!

    Perfect choice to end this wonderful series.


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