Sunday, 5 March 2017

Results - Slush Pile Challenge - January 2017

 
Sallyanne Sweeney, literary agent at Mulcahy Associates set this challenge.
THE CHALLENGE: 

'Best Beginnings'! 

First impressions are all important and I'd love to see the first page (500 words maximum) and paragraph pitch of a chapter book, middle-grade or YA novel. I want to be hooked by your voice and immediately drawn into the story from the opening lines. Open to any great stories and always drawn to humour, heart, voice and a great concept. Your manuscript must be complete



Image result for Photos of Sallyanne sweeney
Sallyanne Sweeney

We received sixty entries from members across British Isles, Ireland and Europe for this competition. The agent read every entry and now we have a winner. This is what the agent told us when announcing the results. 

I am delighted to announce that the winner is: SONGSPELL by Kate Walker. 

Thanks for asking me to take part in this. There were many brilliant opening pages and my favourites managed to surprise me in their freshness of voice or setting - exactly the spine-tingling feeling I'm looking for when I review our large submissions pile. It's been a fun but difficult task to choose my winner! For that reason, I've chosen a winner as well as writers who deserve to be in second place, third place and have an honourary mention.


I chose SONGSPELL as a winner because this was such an atmospheric, tense opening with a strong assured voice.

I was instantly gripped by the world of The Woodland and I loved the detail and magic here - the images presented have stayed in my mind long after reading.

The author manages to convey a huge amount in beautiful concise prose and we also get a great sense of Willow as a character.   


The author of  THE WALLPAPER DIARIES deserves second place.

Great opening lines here that immediately set the tone and draw you in. 'We are knee deep in mud and bones. I haven't seen any bones yet, though Mum insists they're here.' 

The voice is strong and engaging and the relationship between Alice and her mother is established nicely from the outset, with a very interesting dynamic between them. The opening page leaves the reader wanting to know more, and follow Alice through the story. 

The author of THIRTY THINGS I SHOULD HAVE SAID deserves third place.

This opened brilliantly and made me laugh: 
Number One: 'I'm sorry I'm late but the private helicopter ran out of fuel.' 
What I actually said was, 
'I'm sorry I'm late but I ran out of knickers.'  

The voice is strong and there is a great energy to this humorous opening. I love the pitch too, which I think many kids and adults will relate to. 

The author of 'FOOL'S GOLD' deserves an honourable mention as I enjoyed the voice here, which was clear and engaging - I loved the confidence of this taut and tense opening. The author of 'PHOENIX' also deserves an honourable mention as there is a strong opening here and clear engaging voice.

Thank you SO much to all who entered and for sharing your work with me.  



Congratulations to Kate from all of us at Words & Pictures team. The Words and Pictures team hope Kate is well on her way towards getting her story published. 

Well done to Fran Price for coming second with THE WALLPAPER DIARIES and to Alice Hemming Thorp for coming third with  THIRTY THINGS I SHOULD HAVE SAID.   

Congratulations to Pippa Wilson for getting an honourable mention for 'FOOL'S GOLD' and to Miranda Moore for getting an honourable mention for 'PHOENIX'. 

Thanks to Sallyanne Sweeney, literary agent at Mulcahy Associates for setting this challenge. 


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 Literary Agent in 2008 and as Director of the company in 2011. She joined Mulcahy Associates in 2013 and is building her list of fiction and non-fiction authors for children and adults, as well as a number of picture book illustrators. Passionate about debut authors, her fiction tastes are wide-ranging, from literary to the very commercial, but she is particularly looking for voice-driven narratives with a strong hook. 

Mulcahy Associates has secured major publishing deals for new writers as well as advancing the careers of more established figures. These include literary novelists, thriller and romance writers, young adult and children's authors. We are always hunting for talented new authors.  Mulcahy Associates is known for the high quality of its book proposals to publishers. We work creatively with our authors, both editing their writing and shaping the structure of their work before submitting to publishers. We have international connections with a wide range of other agencies, working together to ensure worldwide representation of our books, and we travel and represent our books at all major trade fairs. We negotiate advantageous contracts, translation rights deals, TV and film adaptations, events and personal appearances. We are dedicated to longevity and the continuous progress of all our authors, many of whom have won or been listed for literary prizes and written bestselling books.





Elaine Cline has been a SCBWI member for over four years and loves to write picture books, junior fiction and middle-grade. She lives by the sea and has two soft and silly cats.

Elaine is a member of the Words & Pictures' editorial team, managing The Slush Pile Challenge for writers.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations Slushpilers, Kate, Fran, Alice, Pippa and Miranda!

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