About Us

We are a team of experienced children’s publishing and creative writing professionals providing inspiration, industry-led direction and networking opportunities to talented writers for children.

Led by Imogen Cooper, previously Head of Fiction for Chicken House Publishing, Golden Egg provides talks, workshops, and one-to-one editorial support. We cater for writers who wish to submit their work to agents and publishers. Golden Egg works closely with Barry Cunningham at Chicken House Publishing, and has strong links with other companies.


I think your set up is brilliant and original … I am very happy to join in and help Golden Egg as much as I can.

David Fickling, Publisher, David Fickling Books

Writing is a brave but also lonely path to walk. Thank you, Imogen, for setting up such a wonderful initiative.

Tessa Strickland, Publisher, Barefoot Books


  • “The Art of Story workshop is a must if you want to gain a deep insight in to the fundamental structure of story.  As well as exploring the primeval shape of narrative, imprinted in the dark folds of our minds, you get an opportunity to sit outside the process and analyse its individual elements. Heartily recommended, Imogen and Vanessa made a great double-act – and with the intense and insightful bonus of 1:1 and a celebrity panel on the second day to explore these themes further – it was about as perfect as it could be.”

    Andrew Wright
  • What is wonderful about the GEA is vision. I am constantly staggered at what they find hidden in the layers of my own story. Now I’m beginning to see it too. My completed manuscript was only the start of the process and with Imogen’s careful guidance I have learned to craft a much stronger story. Part of belonging to the GEA is learning how to ‘let go’ and trust someone to guide you. Imogen has taken time to get to know me, the person behind the writing, to bring out the excellence on the page.

    Bringing Your Character to Life – I thought the sessions that Suzie and Christine ran were superb and allowed me to think in new ways without making me feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.

    The afternoon [guest talk] gave me an invaluable insight into Ben’s role as an agent but also some of the tough issues affecting the publishing world. It wasn’t easy to hear some of it but I would much rather have the reality. It’s made me think seriously about developing a long-term writing plan – going beyond book one – and being prepared to wait or be flexible.

    Kay Vallely
  • Bringing Your Character to Life – Chrissie’s ways of pictorially displaying a novel were ‘light bulb’ moments. It was that coupled with her discussion of the books that revealed pitfalls in my work. I really appreciated her formal and informal input. It was fantastic being with fellow writers and industry professionals who are passionate about writing for youngsters.

    Elaine Cline
  • I found Bella’s report on the novel so helpful and insightful. It was really great to talk through the ideas I’ve had since and the ways in which I’ve been addressing some of the issues she’s raised about the novel.

    Rhian Ivory
  • So, what’s working with Golden Egg like? It’s like coming home as a writer, to a place where words, stories and writing for children are the shared passions of like-minded people. There are two aspects of this process that are particularly powerful. One, there’s the excellent, if daunting, forensic skill of the editors. They get story, get under the skin of yours and ask deep, incisive questions.

    The second thing Golden Egg provides, beyond the expertise, distributed across their team of editors, with buckets of experience of the harsh and demanding world of publishing commercially, is the opportunity to be part of a genuinely caring community. It is this community aspect that is as important and enriching as the direct support for your writing. You meet lots of fellow writers, fascinating people who share your obsession with story and you get to feel that you are not, as you stare into the screen in the wee small hours day after day wondering if you should just simply jack it in, all alone.

    Andrew Wright
  • I think your set up is brilliant and original … I am very happy to join in and help Golden Egg as much as I can.

    David Fickling, Publisher, David Fickling Books
  • In these challenging times in the children’s publishing industry, publishers require writers to reach a far higher standard ahead of securing their first contract than was expected only a few years ago. Where many others fall short, The Golden Egg Academy succeeds in arming writers with all the requisite tools to blossom as writers and achieve this hallowed state.

    Encouraging, nurturing, teaching, mentoring and gently teasing out a writer’s true potential, the truly inspiring, extremely able and highly approachable minds behind The GEA combine to provide genuine results. I have no hesitation in recommending their services to clients, prospective clients and, in fact, to anyone who is serious about making it in the highly competitive world of writing for younger minds and am extremely proud of my own association with the gang. More power to the Eggers!

    Ben Illis, Literary Agent
  • Golden Egg is genuinely a writer’s “journey through the back of the wardrobe” moment.

    Vashti Hardy
  • After a fabulous wkend @TheGEAcademy my brain feels like someone’s opened it and poured custard-like information in up to its top. Love custard. …a magical cuddle of writing support from talented, knowledgeable & experienced people. Made lots of new writer friends too!

    Anthony Burt
  • Writing is a brave but also lonely path to walk. Thank you, Imogen, for setting up such a wonderful initiative.

    Tessa Strickland, Publisher, Barefoot Books
  • Golden Egg is a truly unique writers’ academy. Inspiring, supportive and educational. One workshop on and with some fabulous Monday night Q&A sessions under my belt, I can honestly say I’ve learnt so much about the writing process and publishing in general.

    Karen Taylor
  • Thank you @TheGEAcademy for an amazing weekend. @Editorchicken, @bevbirchauthor and Bella, you are oeuf nurturers extraordinaire!

    Lynette Fisher

The Team


Imogen Cooper

Founder and Managing Director

Imogen was previously Editorial Director for Chicken House Publishing. She remains Senior Editor for Chicken House, but has taken a step back from her... Read more

Beverley Birch

Workshop Leader

Beverley Birch is both author and editor, and has been in children’s publishing since joining Penguin in 1975. As editor, she’s been three times... Read more

Dr Vanessa Harbour

Head of Academic Relations and Business, Mentor and Workshop Leader

Doctor of creative writing, with an interest in creative practice and social networking for authors. She is a tutor in Creative Writing at undergraduate... Read more

Bella Pearson

Workshop Leader

After seven years working in a children’s bookshop and completing an MA in Children’s Literature, Bella joined David Fickling in setting up his eponymous... Read more

Nicki Marshall

Admissions Co-ordinator and Mentor

Nicki has worked in publishing since 1994, on both fiction and non fiction for adults and children. On leaving London in 2001, she rediscovered... Read more
Maurice Lyon pic

Maurice Lyon

Mentor and Workshop Leader

Maurice worked his way through several publishing jobs before he was appointed a commissioning editor at Penguin Children’s Books. There he was thrilled to... Read more
Hannah Featherstone

Hannah Featherstone


Hannah has worked in children’s publishing for over ten years. She started out in the sales operations department at Random House Children’s Books but... Read more

Jenny Glencross


Jenny is an editor with ten years’ experience in the children’s book world. She started her career in the marketing department of Hachette Children’s... Read more

Sarah Levison


Sarah began her career working on picture books with authors including Jan Pienkowski and Sam McBratney. As Senior Commissioning Editor at Orchard Books, she... Read more

Kay Vallely

Assistant Programme Director

A Golden Egg Graduate and now Assistant Programme Director, Kay supports Imogen in business and strategic management and programme planning. Kay is particularly interested... Read more

Abi Kohlhoff

Golden Egg Administrator and Junior Editor

After completing a degree in English Literature, Abi pursued her interest in children’s publishing taking placements at Walker, David Fickling Books and The Chicken... Read more

Emma Greenwood

Director of the Foundation Year

Emma Greenwood is the Director of the Foundation Year at The Golden Egg Academy. She has led creative writing workshops and provided editorial critique... Read more

Tessa Strickland

Picture Book Workshop Leader and Mentor

Tessa Strickland is Co-Founder & former Editor-in-Chief of Barefoot Books. Founded in 1993, Barefoot Books opened a US office in 1998 and has published... Read more
Andrew Weale

Andrew Weale

Workshop Leader and Picture Book Mentor

Andrew Weale is the author of five picture books, including Nora (illustrated by Ben Cort) and Dinosaur Doo. In 2013 his ultra scary pop... Read more
Jo Collins

Jo Collins

Picture Book Admissions Co-ordinator and Mentor

Jo was previously Senior Editor at Little Tiger Press, where she worked for 7 years, commissioning and developing picture books with a host of... Read more

Guest Speakers

Including: Barry Cunningham, OBE; David Fickling; Sophia Bennett; Kirsty McLachlan; Ben Illis; Elinor Bagenal; Tim O’Rourke; James Mayhew Read more