Thursday, May 29, 2014

The 2014 Golden Kite Poster by K.G. Campbell - The behind the scene interview ...And your chance to WIN a copy!

I connected with K.G. to find out more about the process and vision for creating this year's poster...

* * *

Lee: Hi Keith! A pirate bed coursing through the waters, a golden-kite-sailed ship in the distance, the tagline... Can you share your process of coming up with the concept and design for this year's poster?

Keith: SCBWI gave me free reign in devising a concept for the poster. My original sketch was more typical of the dark, Gorey-inspired humor of Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters. A kid is reading in a dentist’s waiting room beneath the tag line “Wherever you’d rather be, a Golden Kite book can take you there.”

Keith's original sketch for the Golden Kite Poster

Lin Oliver at SCBWI gently suggested that reinforcing negative perceptions of dentistry might not be the most…helpful message. She proposed we take the same concept but give it a more positive tweak; “Golden Kite books take you where you want to go.” 

Learning from my mistake, I realized I’d have to choose my setting carefully. Where are kids typically reading (school) that it’s OK to suggest they’d like to escape from (yikes, not school). And thus we arrive at bed-time. The bed-as-boat thing is hardly original. Off the top of my head I can’t think of a literary precedent, but what kid’s bed (my own included) hasn’t been appropriated as a galleon or a spaceship or a fort? Of those options, a breezy, ocean-going scene seemed best suited to a summer conference. 

From there I went to Howard Pyle and N.C. Wyeth, and from there it was pretty obvious how this year’s golden kite (there’s always at least one in the poster) should be incorporated. Tada! 

Lee: Fascinating - I love hearing that evolution. With well-published and award-winning illustrators like yourself, there can be a perception that you're past the making mistakes, experimenting and challenges of creating new work - that it's all somehow magically easy once you've 'made it.' Tell us what happened in the process of creating this poster. 

Keith: I’m not sure that four books qualify me as well-published, but thank you for making me sound so grand. I suspect a little bird (named Sarah) at SCBWI has shared with you the fact that I had some “technical difficulties” with this poster. 

Lee: She did, indeed - and was excited for other illustrators to hear the story...

Keith: I am not a young person, but I am actually a fledgling illustrator. I’ve only been at this professionally for a few years. Moreover I’m self-taught, so didn’t benefit from those art school years that provide instruction and permit experiment in various media and techniques. In short, I’m still playing around and making mistakes (or discoveries if you’re of a more optimistic bent). 

Unsure of how the visual texture might be affected by a significant enlargement, I chose to render this piece at close to scale (24” x 36”). With watercolor and colored pencil, it was quite a time-consuming undertaking. I was working with Rives BFK printmaking paper which I’d used for The Mermaid and the Shoe. It’s not a hardy, forgiving surface but colored pencil blends and smudges on it exquisitely. 

As you can imagine at these dimensions, the background was a bit of a bear and took me a couple of days. Unfortunately, when I came to remove the masking fluid that was protecting the figures it took the soft, velvety surface of the Rives BFK with it! It cost me my deadline (although the folks at SCBWI were more than generous with their sympathy and flexibility) and sent me on a wild scramble to find an alternative surface (it’s watercolor board if you’re interested). 

Lee: Is there a lesson there for other illustrators to note?

Keith: If you can, go to art school. Otherwise, if you make even a slight change to your process (in Mermaid I’d used grey paper, for the poster I used white; I guess it was softer), test it first. Seems pretty obvious now. 

Lee: Thanks for sharing that! How have things changed for you since winning last year's picture book illustration Golden Kite for your "Lester's Dreadful Sweaters"?

Keith: One very welcome change is that my agent is no longer forced to knock on doors hunting down my next project. I am in fact now forced to pass on much of what is being offered to me. 

I’m such a hopeless Yes Guy it makes me feel terribly ungrateful. But in the end there is only so much time in the day. If I take on too many illustration projects it prevents me from writing my own manuscripts. 

Secondly - referring back to a previous question - my lack of formal art training has left me with a certain sense of inadequacy. I’m constantly dogged by the suspicion that there is this vast wealth of practical knowledge of which I’m completely ignorant. As a result I’m always concerned that my work might appear amateurish or unprofessional. Winning the Golden Kite was quite the boost to my self-confidence. Every time I look at my shiny award I feel less like an imposter, and more like a real live illustrator. 

Lee: You ARE a real live illustrator! You are! Can you share your favorite piece of advice for other illustrators and author/illustrators?

Keith: It’s not about how you say it; it’s about what you say. Yes, a painstakingly rendered painting or a stylishly-turned phrase can make your book a very lovely thing. But if the story does not engage the reader, if it doesn’t move them, if the story is without substance, then it is a lovely thing without a heart. Speech bubbles and doodles can have as much depth and humanity as poetry and oil paint. No need to hide your talents. Deliver your virtuoso performance by all means. But never let style subvert substance. The story always comes first. Always. 

Thanks so much!

* * *

Thanks, Keith!

Would you like your very own copy of the amazing 2014 SCBWI Golden Kite Poster?

Enter a comment here in the next seven days and we'll randomly choose one lucky person to win!

(Make sure to include your email address so we can reach you - if there's no way to contact you, we'll have to choose a different winner.)

And if you work at a bookstore or library and would like a copy to display, please send an email to: sarahbaker (at) scbwi (dot) org.

To find out more about K.G. Campbell and his work, visit his website here.

And check back at this blog for exclusive interviews with all the 2014 Golden Kite Award Winners (and the 2014 Sid Fleischman Humor Award Winner, too!)

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pat Zietlow Miller on "Sophie's Squash" - The 2014 Golden Kite Interview ...And your chance to WIN a copy!

This year's Golden Kite Award for Picture Book text goes to Pat Zietlow Miller, for "Sophie's Squash!"

Pat Zeitlow Miller, winner of the 2014 Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Text!

I contacted Pat to find out more...

* * * 

Lee: Can you tell us about finding out you'd won the 2014 Golden Kite Award for picture book text for "Sophie's Squash"?

Pat: I was at home. The phone rang, and my caller ID said “Lin Oliver.” I had never met Lin, but I knew who she was, of course. But I couldn’t imagine why she’d be calling me. I thought maybe it would be an automated message from the SCBWI talking about dues or some administrative change.

When I answered, and found out it really was Lin on the other end, I was a bit stumped. I knew about the Golden Kites, but I didn’t know what the timing was for them or how they were selected. 

Once Lin told me “Sophie’s Squash” had won, I was thrilled and shocked and giddy all at the same time. And, frankly, a little astounded. There were so many wonderful picture books published in 2013. 

Lee: The book's flap copy says that "Sophie's Squash" is based on a true story - your daughter, Sonia, once loved a squash?

Pat: Yes! When Sonia was 3 – she’s now 12 – she fell in love with a butternut squash we bought at the grocery store. She gave it a face, wrapped it in a blanket and carried it everywhere. She did the same with other items – like rocks and those small bags of flour. 

Lee: So what was the process of taking a real-life inspiration and make it a picture book?

Pat: Sonia’s love for her squash gave me the initial idea for the book. But by itself it wasn’t enough. If I had written the book exactly the way things happened in real life, it would have been an amusing anecdote, at best. 

And that’s kind of what my first draft was. It took me a while to build out a full story and figure out the problem (the rotting squash, a long winter apart) and the resolution (baby squash). 

Another Sonia memory helped me pull things together. When one of our cats died, we had it cremated. Then, we planted a tree, sprinkled the ashes and shared memories. (Of course, we also read Judith Viorst’s “The Tenth Good Thing About Barney.”) Once we were done, Sonia asked with utter sincerity, “Now, will a new kitty grow?” That memory gave me the nudge I needed to move the story in the right direction. 

I also feel compelled to admit that I was not as patient as the parents in my book. I smuggled Sonia’s squash out of her room before it started to rot and bought her a replacement. She didn’t seem to mind, but one of the benefits of writing fiction is you can make things turn out the way you wish they had in real life. 

Lee: You have some really funny lines in the book, including one moment when Sophie is putting her squash (that she's named Bernice) to bed, that reads:

"Every night, Sophie gave Bernice a bottle, a hug, and a kiss."
"Well, we did hope she'd love vegetables," Sophie's mother told her father.
"Shhhhhhh," Sophie said. "Bernice is sleeping." 

How do you approach writing "funny?"

Pat: My first reaction to this question is to say, “Darned if I know.” 

But that’s probably not helpful. 

The humor in this book is very close to my own, with some splashes of Sonia. She’s had a very dry sense of humor ever since she was little, and I’ve always enjoyed the juxtaposition of the maturity of her humor with her cute, small-child face. 

I didn’t set out to make the book funny, but there were just too many places to work in humor to pass them by. When those opportunities are there, it is terribly wrong to ignore them. 

Lee: There's also a warmth and loving tone to the book - it's a story about a girl who loves a squash like it's a friend of hers, and even when some other kids aren't so kind, Sophie's parents (and the narration) are supportive and non judgmental throughout. Can you talk about hitting that tone 'just right?'

Pat: This is something I worked very hard on. And I’d say it’s the common denominator in all the picture books I have coming out in the next few years. 

With the challenges of growing up, it’s important for children to see warmth, safety and family love in books. I don’t want to beat readers over the head with those things or – heaven forbid – work in a moral, but I want those feelings to be the underlying core of every story I write. Not every child has warmth, safety and family love, but they should know those things are possible and that they deserve them. 

I also like having parents in my books. A lot of children’s literature disposes of parents neatly early on. They’re dead or traveling or self-involved or dysfunctional. And, there are good reasons for telling stories that way. As a major Harry Potter fan girl, I understand those reasons. 

But I like having parents in my stories who might not be perfect, but who support their children’s efforts and love them, while still giving them room to figure things out themselves. They’re kind of a safety net while their children are teetering on the story’s high wire. 

Lee: I love that - parents as "a safety net while their children are teetering on the story's high wire." Nicely said!

Writers just starting out often look at picture books and their small word count and think, "Oh, that must be easy to do, it's so short." Those of us who have been at this a while understand just how challenging the short form can be! "Sophie's Squash" is your debut picture book - how many drafts did you write before arriving at the words that were published?

Pat: Oh, goodness. At least 10 full drafts with a variety of different approaches and endings. 

I wrote this story early in my efforts to become a published author, so I learned A LOT along the way. And as I learned, I revised. And revised. And revised. To keep myself amused through all the revision, I gave my versions creative file names like “Reheated Squash” or “Squash Leftovers.” 

The good news is that when I finally sold the story, I didn’t have to do too many revisions for my editor. 

Lee: When did you first join SCBWI, and can you share how that's helped you on your journey as an author?

Pat: I joined SCBWI about six years ago, and it’s been vital to my success. I attend state meetings in Wisconsin, where I live, and also in Iowa, which is relatively close to where I live. 

At SCBWI, I’ve made friends, found critique groups, learned from visiting authors and editors, and found my agent – the inimitable Ammi-Joan Paquette – after she spoke at an Iowa event. 

When I started, I knew nothing. SCBWI helped me figure out how to do what I wanted so desperately to do. And once I did it, the people there have been nothing but supportive of me and my book.

Lee: In addition to attending #LA14SCBWI - The 2014 SCBWI Summer Conference - to accept your Golden Kite Award, you'll also be on faculty, giving the Friday breakout session "When Less Is More - Cutting the Fluff Out Of Picture Books." Can you tell us more about that workshop?

Pat: For picture books to work, they need to be lean, using no more words than are truly needed to tell the story. What I see in a lot of beginning manuscripts – or manuscripts from folks who usually write for older audiences – is way more words than the story requires. 

And often, the writer could cut 200 or more words from his or her manuscript without sacrificing plot in the slightest. Some people are aghast when they hear this, but it’s true. 

I’ll be sharing techniques writers can apply to their picture books in progress to get rid of words that don’t add value to their story. 

Lee: Sounds invaluable!

What advice do you have for other writers working on picture book manuscripts?

Pat: Everyone says this, but it’s so true. READ. When I started seriously pursuing a career in children’s literature, I made a list of my favorite picture book authors – Cari Best, Dori Chaconas, Kelly DiPucchio, Jill Esbaum, Mem Fox, Kevin Henkes, Mary Lyn Ray, Liz Garton Scanlon and Judith Viorst to start – and I checked out every book they’d ever written from the library. 

I spent weekends really reading them and figuring out what made their books work for me. How did they handle page turns and tension? What did their words show and what did they leave to the illustrator? How did their endings tie everything up? It was basically my own master class in picture book writing, and it was one of the most enjoyable classes I’ve ever taken.

* * *

Thanks, Pat!

If you'd like to hear, learn from, and cheer Pat on as she accepts her Golden Kite Award, join us at the 2014 SCBWI Summer Conference, August 1-4 in Los Angeles. Registration and information here.

Would you like to win a free copy of "Sophie's Squash?"

Leave a comment here on this post in the next seven days, and we'll randomly choose one winner! 

(Make sure to include your contact email in the comment - if we can't reach you to let you know you've won, we'll have to choose another winner.)

Good luck!

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bookless Libraries

"Texas has seen the future of the public library, and it looks a lot like an Apple Store."

Paul J. Weber, The Associated Press, reported earlier this year in USA Today about Bexar County' BiblioTech, "the Nation's only bookless public library."

It's a fascinating read, including this:
San Antonio is the nation's seventh-largest city but ranks 60th in literacy, according to census figures. Back in the early 2000s, community leaders in Bibliotech's neighborhood of low-income apartments and thrift stores railed about not even having a nearby bookstore, said Laura Cole, BiblioTech's project coordinator. A decade later, Cole said, most families in the area still don't have Wi-Fi.

"How do you advance literacy with so few resources available?" she said.

Residents are taking advantage now. The library is on pace to surpass 100,000 visitors in its first year. Finding an open iMac among the four dozen at BiblioTech is often difficult after the nearby high school lets out, and about half of the facility's e-readers are checked out at any given time, each loaded with up to five books. One of BiblioTech's regulars is a man teaching himself Mandarin.
One interesting angle is that "The space is also more economical than traditional libraries despite the technology: BiblioTech purchases its 10,000-title digital collection for the same price as physical copies, but the county saved millions on architecture because the building's design didn't need to accommodate printed books." -- Namely, books are heavy, and buildings designed to hold thousands of them need to be able to bear that weight.

Other public library efforts to go bookless haven't succeeded in the past. Will this one?

And is this all-or-nothing approach to going digital a glimpse of the future, or a experiment that's gone too far?

What do you think?

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Unexpected Statistics - give away your book and sell... MORE.

Here's how World Book Night works:

Each year, 30- 35 books are chosen by an independent panel of librarians and booksellers. The authors of the books waive their royalties and the publishers agree to pay the costs of producing the specially-printed World Book Night U.S. editions. Bookstores and libraries sign up to be community host locations for the volunteer book givers.
After the book titles are announced, members of the public apply to personally hand out 20 copies of a particular title in their community. World Book Night U.S. vets the applications, and the givers are chosen based on their ability to reach light and non-readers. The selected givers choose a local participating bookstore or library from which to pick up the 20 copies of their book, and World Book Night U.S. delivers the books to these host locations.
Givers pick up their books in the week before World Book Night. On April 23rd, they give their books to those who don’t regularly read and/or people who don’t normally have access to printed books, for reasons of means or geography.

And now World Book Night US is reporting (In the May 12, 2014 Publisher's Lunch) that year-to-date sales of the titles they gave away this year are up 8 percent over last year. Executive director Carl Lennertz writes:

"Sales is not one of our key metrics, but it's still great to see. It shows us that the WBN editions are going to non-book-buyers and with no negative impact on sales; only positive."

The marketing implications are fascinating!

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The SPARK Award Interview: Karen Avivi's SHREDDED

Karen Avivi's YA novel SHREDDED was one of two winners of the inaugural SCBWI SPARK Award, the new annual award that recognizes excellence in a children’s book published through a non-traditional publishing route.

Karen Avivi celebrating her SCBWI SPARK Award!

I contacted Karen to learn more...

* * *

Lee: Congratulations on winning the inaugural SCBWI SPARK Award!

Karen: Thank you! It was quite a surprise to receive that phone call, and an honor for Shredded to win the Spark award. 

Lee: The Judges called your girls' freestyle bmx bike YA novel "heart pounding!" - please tell us what the story is about.

Karen: Shredded is a contemporary young adult novel about rule-breaking, gravity-defying girls who shred riding freestyle BMX. The main character, Josie Peters, thinks she’ll do anything to ride in the Ultimate BMX freestyle event the summer before her senior year. To hit the qualifying events in the Midwest, Josie and her friends take off on a summer road trip where late-night parties, an intimidating mega ramp, and the lure of sponsorships spark friction between the girls. When Josie’s best chance for success depends on her relationship with flashy rider R.T. Torres, she has to decide what she’s trying to win and how much she’ll sacrifice. More than a girls’ sports book or a BMX biking book, Shredded is a motivating push-your-limits story that takes on feminism, friendship, sexism, and sibling rivalry. 

Lee: Are you, in some way, your main character Josie?

Karen: I enjoy individual fringe sports; I’ve tried skydiving, scuba diving, stunt classes, archery, winter camping, orienteering, mountaineering, mountain biking and backpacking but I’m not as confident or athletic as Josie. She’s the kind of person I’d admire and want as a friend. 

Lee: The SPARK award is to recognize excellence in a children's book published through a non-traditional publishing route. You self-published Shredded via CreateSpace. Can you explain how you made that decision?

Karen: I wanted to make a print version of Shredded available to as many people as possible without investing in an inventory of print books. The print-on-demand service offered by CreateSpace was the best, most cost-effective option. CreateSpace allows you to upload your own print-ready files without forcing you to pay for an overpriced editing and cover design package. 

Lee: As the writer and publisher of Shredded you're wearing two hats already. We know with traditional publishing there are lots more experts involved, including an editor, a copy editor, a book designer, etc... How did the process of getting Shredded ready to be published evolve?

Karen: There are many professional editors and cover designers who do freelance work. The trick is to do your research and book them in advance because the good ones are busy. My editor, Anne Victory, managed to squeeze me in when someone else missed a deadline. 

Lee: What do you see as the biggest challenge of self-publishing?

Karen: Discoverability. It’s up to me to reach reviewers, bloggers, librarians, teachers, and readers. I’m building my list of contacts one by one. 

Lee: That's interesting, because I would imagine many traditionally published writers would also say that their biggest challenge is 'discoverability!'  Keeping with that question theme, what have you discovered is the biggest advantage of self-publishing?

Karen: I can change anything whenever I need to. Since there is no inventory of printed books, I can change the cover, add review blurbs, and make revisions at any time. 

Lee: Fascinating. I remember a very well-published author answering the revision question 'how do you know when it's done' by saying 'when they rip it out of my hands and publish it.' Being able to change things even after it's "published" sounds like it could be both a blessing and a curse! Anything else you'd like to share about the adventure so far?

Karen: I told myself I’d treat my first self-published book as a learning and information gathering experience. I’d advise anyone else going the indie pub route to do the same. I feel much better prepared to launch my next book, hopefully this fall. Also, Shredded just won a 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award: tied for Bronze in the juvenile / young adult fiction e-book category

Lee: Thanks so much, Karen! And once again, congratulations!

Karen: Thank you!

* * * 

To find out more about Karen and her book Shredded, check out her website here.

And to find out more about the SCBWI SPARK Award, visit here.

Illustrate and Write On,

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Brilliance from Jane Yolen (courtesy of Julie Hedlund)

"The eye and the ear are different listeners."
- Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen is a legend, the author of over 300 books for children and teens, a member of SCBWI's Board of Advisors, and a brilliant teacher!

Julie Hedlund attended a recent Picture Book Boot Camp Jane offered, and shared on her own blog this great post with some of her take-aways and Jane's advice, including:

If you believe your good reviews, you will have to believe your bad reviews, too. Better to believe in the piece that you are writing.
The post also included this fascinating and very useful video glimpse of the workshop:

Thanks to Jane for the insights and to Julie for sharing!

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Catherine Linka's Brilliant Marketing Innovation For Her Debut YA Novel, "A Girl Called Fearless"

Catherine Linka is a veteran children's book buyer and a debut YA novelist.

When she spoke recently at a local SCBWI Los Angeles Writer's Days conference (a great keynote, "What Every Writer Needs To Know About Retail Book Buying Today"), I noticed something she had done to promote her book that was awesome...

Thanks Catherine, for sharing that idea with us. And congratulations on the publication of "A Girl Called Fearless!"

Illustrate and Write On,

Monday, May 5, 2014

The 2014 Crystal Kite Winners!

The Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards are given to recognize great books from the seventy SCBWI chapters around the world. Those seventy chapters are divided into fifteen regions, each of which votes for their own Crystal Kite finalists and winner.

And the 2014 Crystal Kite Winners are... (drumroll here)...

For Australia/New Zealand:

AJ Betts - Zac and Mia (Text Publishing Company)

For California/Hawaii:

Alexis O’Neill and Terry Widener - The Kite that Bridged Two Nations: Homan Walsh and the First Niagara Suspension Bridge (Boyd Mills Press)

For Canada

Helene Boudreau - I Dare You Not to Yawn (Illustrated by Sergio Bloch) (Candlewick Press)


Lisa Dalrymple and Suzanne del Rizzo - Skink on the Brink (Fitzhenry & Whiteside)

For the Southeast Region (Florida/Georgia/South Carolina/North Carolina/Alabama/Mississippi):

Shannon Hitchcock - The Ballad of Jessie Pearl (Namelos)

For the Mid-South Region (Kansas/Louisiana/Arkansas/Tennessee/Kentucky/Missouri)

Kristin Tubb - The Thirteenth Sign (Feiwel & Friends)

For the Middle East/India/Asia Region

Natasha Sharma - Bonkers! (Duckbill Books)

For the Midwest Region (Minnesota/Iowa/Nebraska/Wisconsin/Illinois/Michigan/Indiana/Ohio)

Pat Zietlow MillerSophie’s Squash (Illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf) (Schwartz and Wade)

For the Southwest Region (Nevada/Arizona/Utah/Colorado/Wyoming/New Mexico)

Molly Idle - Tea Rex (Viking)

For New England (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island) 

Deborah Freedman – The Story of Fish and Snail (Viking)

For New York

Samantha Berger and Dan Santat - Crankenstein (Little, Brown BFYR)

For the Atlantic Region (Pennsylvania/Delaware/New Jersey/Wash DC/Virginia/West Virginia/Maryland)

Kit Grindstaff - The Flame in the Mist (Random House Children's Books)

For Texas/Oklahoma

Doris Fisher and Julie BucknerArmy Camels: Ships of the Texas Desert (Pelican Publishing)

For the "International Other" Region

Lenore Appelhans and Daniel JenneweinChickosaurus Rex (Simon and Schuster)

For the UK/Europe Region

Candy Gourlay - Shine (David Fickling Books)

For the West (Washington/Oregon/Alaska/Idaho/Montana/North Dakota/South Dakota)

Nina Laden and Renata Liwska - Once Upon a Memory (Little, Brown BFYR)

Congratulations to all the winners!

To find out more about the Crystal Kite Awards, and how you can enter your book for the 2015 awards, check out all the information here.

Illustrate and Write On,

Thursday, May 1, 2014

UNDISCOVERED VOICES 2014: A SCBWI Project Worth Noting

This is the fourth anthology of undiscovered talent published by SCBWI British Isles and working Partners Ltd., this time including U.K. and European writers and illustrators. As SCBWI British Isles' Regional Advisor Natascha Biebow writes in the book's forward,
"This anthology highlights a new group of talented undiscovered voices. In the changing marketplace, where many are turning to self-publishing, we understand the importance of good quality editing, design and promotion in making the best books for young readers. We aim to match new talent with editors, art directors and agents looking to publish exciting new voices for young readers."
The co-creators of Undiscovered Voices, Sara Grant and Sara O'Conner write,
"We agreed that if one of the writers from the first anthology received a book deal then we would be pleased. Undiscovered Voices has succeeded beyond our wildest expectations. From the three previous anthologies, twenty-four of the thirty-six selected authors have received publishing contracts for more than seventy books published around the world, winning and receiving nominations for many awards."

The way the anthology chose illustrators was fascinating: the artists were asked to illustrate one of five story starters written by past Undiscovered Voices writers! The judging panel chose Five illustrators:

Julia Walther

Sarah Palmer

Dave Gray

Olivia Palmer

James Brown

Twelve writers from both the UK and the European Union had their novel extracts (4,000 words each, from a completed MG or YA) selected. Each selection includes a synopsis, writer biography and contact information. The writers (and their novels excerpted) are:

PHEONIX by Katrina Charman


TRAITOR GIRL by Rachel Rivett

A GOOD HIDING by Shirley-Anne McMillan

FIRE GIRL by Matt Ralphs

SOUTHEND LOADED by Susan Sandercock



THE WING GIVER by Emma Higham

THE GRIMM LIFE by Christian Colussi


THE STONE CUTTER by Tioka Tokedira

For both the illustrations and the novel excerpts, quotes from the judges are included, discussing the merits or each piece and why they were selected.

Three additional illustrators and fifteen more writers had their work receive honorary mentions.

As they say on the back cover and at the Undiscovered Voices website,
What will you discover?
12 unagented and unpublished writers
5 unagented and unpublished illustrators
24 of 36 previous authors published
With your help these voices won’t stay undiscovered for long.
If you're looking to find talent, check it out. If you're looking to be found and you're in the UK or EU, keep an eye on submitting to the next Undiscovered Voices anthology. And if you're in a different SCBWI region of the world, consider this project inspiration!

Illustrate and Write On,