"keeping one's head pointed toward the sun..."

At the end the week that saw the passing of a great world leader and on the verge of one that will see the announcement of the Undiscovered Voices long list, Nelson Mandela's thoughts on optimism are particularly appropriate...

"I am fundamentally an optimist, whether that comes from nature or nurture I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun and one's feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death."   Nelson Mandela 1918 - 2013

At one end of the spectrum we have one of the greatest men of all time and somewhere nearer the other, a few hundred* people waiting to hear if they have a ticket to a party. But they are all on the same spectrum and that's hope. So easy to get all X Factor about competitions this is my last chance, if I don't get through i'll be devastated, it means the world... but as some of the successes we've celebrated over the last 9 months prove, they're not the only way. Undiscovered Voices is a wonderful opportunity, the dedication of the team of volunteers is unstinting, and it will be very exciting to see who's made the list and celebrating with them in a great big hip hip hooray Words & Pictures way but if you entered and you don't make it, remember - head > sun, feet > forward.

Isn't Advent brilliant! We've had some excellent Tweetable microfiction for our first week. Just how much story - characters, setting, conflict, picture... can you squeeze into 140 characters? But even fewer than that when you've saved space for #W8PAdvent and your Twitter handle - I have a fairly short one, @jancarr, so I'm ok . If you want to take part and have more than 8 characters in your @ I'd seriously consider a new account!

Here are the stories by illustrator:

1st Heather Kilgour
2nd Sue Rundle-Hughes
3rd Kim Geyer
4th Julia Woolf
5th Mike Brownlow
6th Rikin Parekh
7th Vikki Gibson
8th John Shelley

Or you can just check out #W8PAdvent on Twitter and if you haven't had a go yet, it's a great exercise!

some tantalising teasers for next week's images, any ideas yet?

Not only have we had an Advent illustration bonanza we've also had a new featured illustrator the wonderful Amanda Hall.  Do any microfiction writers have anything tweetable for Amanda's banner, which is so beautiful and so perfect for the season?

If you were at the conference and picked up a Volunteer Job Card - we'd love to hear from you. If anyone has emailed editor@britishscbwi.org since the conference and hasn't had a reply please could you mail me again as I've been having a few email issues and it may have slipped into an Internet black hole.

Next week we can look forward to some more beautiful Advent illustrations, conference reports, an interview with Elen Caldecott and a report on the latest Sara Slasher O'Connor MG Masterclass!

 head > sun, feet > forward

Jan Carr
* I'm guessing!

Jan Carr is the editor of Words & Pictures. Her fiction is older middle grade, she blogs occasionally and loves to write in magenta. You can contact her at editor@britishscbwi.org.


  1. ooo love the teasers, I can't wait to write some more micro stories #suchfun

    1. Thanks George! Thinking about what we can do with all our stories...

  2. My oh my! There were a ton of typos in that post! Put it down to being all of a dither when I thought the UV announcement was today instead of tomorrow.
    Thanks for your patience:)

  3. It's OK, Jan - I only read the corrected version!

    UV is not the end or even necessarily the beginning - sometimes it's just a point on the journey. Good luck to everyone waiting on the longlist, but if you aren't selected, go straight back out and make some other chances for yourself. (sermon ends)

    1. Hear, hear Nick. And what a a great message Jan on a day if of great joy fir some and disappointment for others.


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