Name: Christabel McKinley 

Agency: David Higham Associates 

Genres represented: All across children’s, from picture books to YA, including non-fiction & graphic novels. As well as adult SFF, for a change of pace! 

Authors you represent and recent deals 
Superstar Alexandra Page’s debut middle grade WISHYOUWAS is coming this September, published by Bloomsbury, this book won the WriteMentor Children’s Novel Award in 2019. Her lyrical picture book text THE FIRE FOX will be published by Two Hoots in October. Word-witch extraordinaire Emily Ann Davison has a beautiful picture book THE BLUE UMBRELLA coming from Andersen Press, and Dashe Robert’s absolutely genius finale to the sci-fi middle grade STICKY PINES sequence will be out next year from Nosy Crow. I’ve also recently taken on a very exciting YA/crossover fantasy author with a spell-binding faerie tales series, so stay tuned for more in that space… 

What’s on your wishlist #MSWL? 
I tend not to be looking for specific things as much as writing that really feels confident, a concept that grabs me, or something that feels truly unique. I’m a big fan of place – whether real or imaginary – so I’d say I’m drawn to works where the setting feels as real as the characters. 

What is your working style with clients (eg how editorial are you)? 
I’m a perfectionist, and will work with clients on their texts for as long as necessary to get them in the best possible condition. Sometimes this can be months – or even years! Publishing is a long game, so I would always recommend taking the time you need rather than rushing. 

Do you choose books with head or heart? 
Always heart! I respect the head-deciders, as of course this is ultimately a business and you want a book you know you can sell – but I won’t enjoy working on it unless I truly love it. And if it doesn’t sell, it never feels like time wasted if you’ve both enjoyed the process! 

Which book or character has stayed with you since childhood? 
Rogue choice, but I have always loved Pongwiffy, ‘a witch of dirty habits’, from the series by Kaye Umansky. I loved her dank and grimy cave, and how pleased she was whenever people pointed out how filthy it was – she made me laugh continuously. I promise I am a very clean person, though! 

If you were a character in Philip Pullman's Dark Materials which daemon would you have and why? 
I have always had an affinity for pandas, as I similarly choose to spend most of my time eating and sleeping. Although I don’t think they would make particularly helpful daemon sidekicks, for those very same reasons…. At least they would be good for a cuddle, once the danger has passed! 

How to submit to you 
Please send a synopsis and the first three chapters of your story (or three picture book texts), along with an email telling me a bit about yourself, to 

Submission tips 
Include a brief synopsis in your cover letter, make it specific rather than nebulous. It doesn’t have the same purpose as a blurb, so don’t worry about spoilers or hooks – just let me know exactly what is in it!

Upcoming events: WOWcon – author & agent panel discussion – September 26th.


Kate Walker is a feature writer for Words & Pictures. She mainly writes MG fantasy as well as dabbling in picture books whenever a character grabs her imagination. Kate lives in Kent with her two children who are addicted to stories just as much as she is. Twitter: @KatakusM

Suzanne Dore is a graphic designer, illustrator and writer. She has illustrated for the National Trust and the University of Oxford as well as many private commissions. 
Instagram: suzannedore
Twitter: @su_dore

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