Nicki Esler Gill
Date of Success:
Nicki Esler Gill writes books for children. She loves engaging little readers in big conversations about consent, body boundaries, friendship, and emotions, and also writing very silly books to make them laugh (she’ll be extra pleased if she gets a laugh out of the grownups too). She earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from New York University, where she also taught writing, and is currently at work on a middle grade dystopia which counts Nick Cave and Margaret Atwood amongst its influences, and is much more suitable for children than it sounds from a description of its influences. Her blog, Little KidLit Mountain, can be found at www.nickieslergill.com. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and three children.
WHAT CYA CONFERENCE DID FOR ME
I really can't overstate the significance of the CYA Allstars Conference in getting me off and running as a professional author. In 2021, I had a picture book editorial assessment with Clare Hallifax for Scholastic. Of the two picture book texts I showed her, both were acquired by Scholastic Press, in addition to a third text submitted later.
The first book launches soon, in August 2023! It's called My Body, My Rules, with adorable illustrations by the talented Dasha Riley. This book teaches little ones about positive body boundaries and consent as both a giver and receiver of touch, and is very close to my heart. The second text, Yes, You Have To Wear Your Pants, is a funny, silly rhyming number, and the third, Hide and Seek Beautiful is a lyrical tale of friendship and the beauty found in unexpected places. Both launch in 2024.
I've also taken part in a number of CYA editorial assessments with other publishers, which did not lead to contracts but which have been incredibly helpful all the same. Some have provided invaluable insight into my stories, opening them up in ways I couldn't have anticipated. Some have helped me refine my understanding of the industry and the conventions of the picture book form. Some have reminded me that not everyone will like my work, and that's ok! And others have allowed me to forge connections in the industry, with editors who have encouraged me and invited further submissions. None of this would have been possible without CYA, and I'm so grateful for this fabulous conference and the work of the team in bringing creators and publishers together.