Finally we get to see what happens during the Undiscovered Voices launch party. Susan Brownrigg, one of this year's winners tells us all about it.
For those of you who might be new to SCBWI, Undiscovered Voices is a bi-annual competition funded by Working Partners. Sara Grant and Sara O'Connor set it up in 2006, to help fresh, new voices in children’s literature – both writers and illustrators – find agents, publishers and ultimately readers. Since inception 26 of the 48 authors and illustrators who have won, now have publishing contracts. So it isn't surprising how prestigious winning the award has become. The winning words and illustrations are bound in an anthology which is then sent out to agents and publishers. To launch the anthology, all the winners are invited to a party. Susan Brownrigg gives us a rundown of the event from the perspective of an author.
We UV winners had been well prepared for the Undiscovered Voices launch party at a fantastic workshop back in January. We had got to know each other, discussed how the evening would go, practiced our pitches and made notes to wear comfortable shoes and to have a notebook at hand. Yet nothing can really prepare you for the party. I think a lot of us were feeling the same way excited but nervous – but the main advantage of the earlier workshop was that we all felt firmly under the wing of Sara Grant and the rest of the amazing UV team.
|Author Kathryn Evans with Susan Brownrigg. Copyright Candy Gourlay. http://candygourlay.com|
Admittedly, I still found it a challenge striking up conversations, but having friends at your side and the matchmaking services of the UV team made it easier. I chatted with agents, editors and authors about my book and what inspired me to write about a Chinese girl on an adventure in 13th century Cambodia. I also talked about favourite authors, being from Up North and that I sometimes dress as a giant carrot for my day job!
|Watching the Sally Gardner video (photo by Susan Brownrigg)|
The speeches from Natascha Biebow (SCWBI BI Regional Adviser), Chris Snowdon (managing director of Working Partners Ltd), Sarwat Chadda (Author) and via video Sally Gardner (author) were inspiring and motivating.
|Katie Weymouth (and John Morgan) illustrators with the portfolios display. Photo Susan Brownrigg|
It was also lovely catching up with my fellow winners at the party, learning about their new projects and seeing them pitching to perfection. I am hoping to hear lots of good news from them soon.
I think we all went home happy, if with rather sore throats, backs and feet!
I have no idea what lies ahead for me, UV is a brilliant ladder to publishing success, but there are no guarantees. I have my full MS out on submission with a number of agents and am hopeful I will find someone who loves my book and wants to offer representation.
In the meantime I will keep on writing and attending my SCWBI NW crit meetings.
Thanks again to the UV organisers and all that helped with the party.
|The Undiscovered Voices winners - authors. Photo by Candy Gourlay|
I asked award organiser, Sara Grant for her opinion on the results of Undiscovered Voices this year. This is what she said.
'With every Undiscovered Voices anthology, I am amazed at the talent in SCBWI-BI. I always wish we could create an anthology that was three times as long to include all the submission I love. This year's submissions were so strong, which means the anthology is absolutely stellar.'
Susan Brownrigg writes MG historical fantasy novels that are inspired by a love of wildlife, adventure movies and Ray Harryhausen stopmotion animation. She works as a learning officer at a small museum bringing the past to life for thousands of school children and families. She studied film as part of her journalism degree but to her shame has never seen Conan the Barbarian. Susan, a former sub-editor lives with her husband in Skelmersdale, Lancashire. She joined SCWBI in 2007 after hearing about the first UV competition.