Meet our speakers: Sallyanne Sweeney
Find out about Sallyanne Sweeney, who will be joining us at our BookTrust Represents training event in London in September.
Sallyanne Sweeney will be joining us in London for our BookTrust Represents training day, hosting a session for illustrators about working with an agent.
Getting to know Sallyanne
Who was your favourite author and/or illustrator when you were growing up and why?
I read widely and loved Roald Dahl, Judy Blume, Marita Conlon McKenna, Mildred D. Taylor, Enid Blyton, Ann M. Martin... As for illustrators, Shirley Hughes, Quentin Blake, Judith Kerr.
What advice would you give to a new author and/or illustrator that you wish you had been given?
Research the area you're working in – spend time in bookshops, libraries, get a sense of what is currently being published and where your work fits. Be a reader as well as a writer or illustrator.
What has been your career high so far?
I've had many highs but most recently, the publication of Look Up!, the debut picture book by Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola. As an agent I love being there from the beginning of a book's journey, but we're often removed from the reader. Seeing little girls respond to Rocket first-hand, and the word of mouth success resulting from this, has been incredible.
What are you currently reading?
Charlie Changes into a Chicken by Sam Copeland (it's great).
Why are you supporting BookTrust Represents?
I love their goal and ethos; I'm passionate about breaking down the perceived barriers in publishing, starting an open dialogue and broadening my reach of new authors and illustrators.
More about Sallyanne
Sallyanne Sweeney grew up in Dublin and studied English at Trinity College before completing an MPhil in American Literature at Queens' College, Cambridge. After graduating she joined Watson, Little Ltd, becoming a Director of the company in 2011. She joined Mulcahy Associates in 2013 and is growing her list of authors and illustrators for children (picture books to Young Adult) and adults. Awards her clients have won or been shortlisted for include the Irish Book Awards, Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, Waterstones Children's Book Prize and Sainsbury's Children's Book Awards.
Passionate about the editorial side of agenting, Sallyanne enjoys both working with debuts and helping established authors take their careers to the next level. Her fiction tastes are wide-ranging, from the literary to the very commercial, but she is always excited by a distinctive voice, strong storytelling and a fresh premise. She will fight to champion anything that makes her laugh or cry (preferably both). Sallyanne is also interested in memoirs, food writing and thought-provoking non-fiction. She is a regular speaker at writing festivals and events and was the Chair of the Children's Agents' Circle from 2014-2018.
Our three-year project promotes and supports children’s authors and illustrators of colour, so young readers find the books that represent them.