Becky Stradwick joined Darley Anderson Agency in November 2008. She is the Agent for Children’s Books. Most recently she was head of Children’s books at Borders UK and has worked in children’s books for 11 years.
Which 3 authors, dead or alive, would you invite to dinner?
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Roald Dahl and Michael Rosen.
Rowling or Pullman?
It would have to be Pullman. His Dark Materials books are among the most extraordinary ever published. But of course I have huge affection for Rowling’s books and everything they have done to boost the Children’s book market.
When I was a child I read…
Everything I could get my hands on, from cereal packets to children’s books to Readers Digest magazines. I loved old fashioned classics like Little Women and Anne of Green Gables but was also a big fan of my brother’s comics like 2000AD and Eagle.
Favourite desktop snack?
Pickled Onion monster munch. Two packets minimum…
An enormously complicated subject and one that invites wildly differing opinions! Personally, I believe that book shops, publishers and marketing departments should be responsible for guiding customers towards the right book for their reading level. Printing a specific age on the back of the book automatically limits readership and is too exclusive. We are supposed to be encouraging reading, not prescribing it.
If I wasn’t an agent I would be…
I always wanted to be a foreign correspondent, writing reports from burning buildings whilst missiles rained down around me.
Email or phone?
Email, definitely. It gives you more time to think about your answer.
My biggest tip for children’s writers is…
There are so many possible answers to that question. Just keep writing is probably the most obvious one. It takes time to develop your voice and so the best thing is just to keep practising and keep producing words. Sooner or later they will fit together in the way that you want them to.
My pet hate in a submission package is…
People who call immediately to follow up and make sure that their submission has arrived, and then keep on calling. We receive a huge amount of submissions so people chasing us just takes away time we might spend reading them. But we are also very conscientious about replying as soon as possible, so we will get back to you!
Favourite work outfit?
Pyjamas – not that I ever really wear them to work but it might be nice one day.
Daily Mail or The Times?
The Times, I can't stand the Mail.
You really must read…
The Borrible Trilogy by Michael de Larrabeiti. I read it when I was ten and the magic has never left me. It has the biggest beating heart of any book I have ever read and it deserves a mainstream audience, not the relatively cult one it currently has.