Results - Slush Pile Challenge July 2015

Ella Diamond Kahn, Bryony Woods and Elinor Cooper from DKW Literary Agency threw us all a challenge for the summer. 


We would like to see the first thousand words and a short blurb for novels aimed at 11+ readers with friendship as a central theme. 

It can be any genre, any setting, and any type of story, as long there is a really strong friendship theme explored throughout the book. Friendships are often overlooked in favour of more romantic relationships, particularly in fiction for teen readers, and we’d like to see friendships take centre stage once more.


Ella Diamond Kahn
Bryony Woods
Elinor Cooper

We received a dozen entries from members across British Isles and Europe for this competition. And now we have a winner! This is what the agents told us announcing the results.

We’ve read all the submissions and discussed them, and we’re happy to announce that our winner is HONEY AND ME! by Meira Drazin.

It stood out to us for the voice, the self-assuredness of the writing and for hitting our brief most effectively.  

We loved the way the two girls were described and the contrasts between their respective homes and families.  Even though we have yet to see very much of Honey in this short sample, we got a really clear sense of her personality and the deep bond of friendship between Honey and Milla. 

The writing felt very polished, and it’s full of warmth. We loved the large cast of characters that we’re steadily introduced to and wanted to get to know everyone.  We would very happily have kept reading!

We also felt that the pitch/blurb was the most effective.  It included the word count and comparable titles (and we like the idea of a contemporary Judy Blume type story!) as well as the actual blurb, which is what we ideally want in a cover letter.  

We feel it is always worth every author spending a good amount of time honing their covering letter as it does help catch agents’ attention, and also gives us a strong incentive to keep reading when we do have lots of other demands on our time.

In terms of the other submissions, there were a lot of very interesting and varied ideas, and some really nice interpretations of the challenge – we had a really wide range of stories, and were very pleased to see that, rather than writers following any particular trends.

Congratulations to Meira from all of us at Words & Pictures team. We hope she's well on her way towards her debut novel getting published. Thanks to everyone who entered. Keep writing and we hope you will be encouraged to try your hand at more competitions.

Based in North London, Diamond Kahn & Woods was launched in 2012. Since then they have struck many publishing deals in the UK and across the world. Ella and Bryony were also chosen as Rising Stars of 2013 by The BookSeller. Elinor has recently joined the agency having worked at Rochelle Stevens & Co as a literary agent before joining DKW. You can find out more about the agency and what they’re looking for here

Chitra has published over 20 books in Singapore, UK, USA and India. She loves writing picture books and retelling folktales. She's currently working on her second book with Walker Books, UK. Her first picture book in the UK will be published by Otter-Barry Books in 2016.

You can find out more at Chitra is a member of the Words & Pictures' editorial team, managing The Slush Pile Challenge for Writers.


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