SlushPile Challenge - January 2015

We are pleased to announce the 
first SlushPile Challenge for 2015

Gemma Cooper joined the Bent Agency in 2012 and represents authors who write for children of all ages – from picture books to young adult, fiction and non-fiction. Working with a global agency, Gemma represents authors from all over the world, although she does love to champion UK talent. For more information, see the Bent Agency website
As it's the new year I'd like entrants to submit the opening or scene of a novel where your main character is doing something new or tackling a new challenge.

I really look for voice in my submissions and putting your character in an unfamiliar situation gives you a great opportunity to show emotions (fear, trepidation, confidence etc.), allows you to introduce new characters, and has great potential for humour.

I'd like submissions to be aimed at the middle-grade (8-12) audience.

Gemma will pick a winner and arrange to have a meeting with them by phone or in person for 30 minutes.

Send in your entries by 31st January 2015.


Who is eligible?

You need to be a current SCBWI un-agented member, resident in the UK. (From 29th July 2014 onwards, it is open to European residents as well).

If you win a challenge, you will not be able to enter for any other Slush Pile challenges.

To join SCBWI and take advantage of the many opportunities to: raise your profile, market your work, meet fellow writers, artists, the gatekeepers to publication, while being supported in the development and pursuit of your craft, visit

What do you need to do?

Send in your entry as a Word Document to by 31st January 2015.

The document should contain the title and the opening scene. Please note the opening scene should be under 2000 words.

Do not include your name, address or email address in the Word document.

In the email please write your full name as it appears in SCBWI membership records and your email address. Also include the title of your work.

Only the first entry will be considered. Please do not send revisions, multiple entries or multiple attachments.

The Process

We will choose 15 entries randomly and send to the agent for review. This is to ensure that agents are able to judge a reasonable number of entries and to ensure the W&P team is not pre-judging the entries. In many cases, our judges review all submissions and sometimes we receive only around 15 entries or so.

The agent will pick a winner and also tell us why.

The winner will be put in touch with the agent for the 30-minute meeting.

Good Luck Everyone!

Chitra has published over 20 books in Singapore, UK, USA and India. She loves writing picture books, folktales and is also working on fiction for 7+ with a lead character brightly named Aurora. Chitra is a member of the Words & Pictures' editorial team, managing The SlushPile Challenge for writers.


  1. Let me know if you have any questions, folks

  2. Many thanks, Chitra. This looks like the perfect challenge to kick start the year. Good luck folks :-)

  3. Love the challenge, Chitra & Gemma.
    One question: does it have to be from a finished novel? Or can it be the start of a w-i-p ?

    1. Start of a WIP is totally fine. Best of luck

  4. Well it can be from a WIP - of course if Gemma likes it so much and asks for it, there you go, you have to rush and finish it

  5. Thanks, Gemma and Chitra! I wasn't sure from above - Gemma, would you prefer the opening? Or prefer a scene from deeper into the novel where character is tackling a new challenge?

    1. I have no preference Sheila. Whatever you think shows off the best voice of your character - openings are ripe for showing new things, but if you have a great new challenge scene, then share that!

  6. I think Gemma wanted to see the opening scene

    1. Nope, opening OR scene. Openings are more likely to contain characters doing something new, but I'm happy for a scene - either is fine :)

  7. I know it's probably hopeless to ask, but did I read it correctly that the contest is closed to Americans?

  8. Hi Chelsea, I'm afraid this is just for European members.

  9. Just about to press 'send' - good luck everyone!

  10. Thanks to everyone who entered. We had a record number of entries. And amazing Ms. Cooper has agreed to review all entries and not just a random 15. Three Cheers to her!!!!

    It is a very busy time in the publishing world - preparing for Bologna and other conferences. I will keep you all posted on results - we are hoping to announce early March - I will let you all know if there is a short delay for any reason.

  11. Thanks very much to both of you for your time and effort!
    It's much appreciated.


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