The Hook Finalists 2016!

The Hook 2016, SCBWI's own Dragons' Den style pitching event, is almost here and once again we have five finalists polishing their pitches for a fresh agent panel - Yasmin StandenDavinia Andrew-LynchAnne ClarkBryony WoodsThérèse Coen -  and of course, a very encouraging SCBWI conference audience.  You have to come to the conference to find out who the finalists actually are but here they've given us some clues. How do you compare? Do you have a 'pitch twin' in The Hook?

Finalist 1

1. genre to read: Realistic fiction
2. artist: Don't feel knowledgable enough to answer, but love and admire anything from a SCBWI illustrate.
3. author: Jane Austen
4. place to work: Study, with one or two dogs at my feet
5. writing/drawing implement: Macbook Air
6. piece of technology: see 5
7. Internet distraction: Facebook
8. piece of music: Anything by Pink Floyd or Roger Waters
9. radio station: Radio 2
10. source of inspiration: History

Finalist 2

1. genre to read: I love any writing with a touch of magic.
2. artist: Sulamith Wolfing is the first artist who springs to my mind right now.
3. author: Our guest - David Almond 
4. place to work: I am lucky enough to have a huge vintage desk with tea stains and pull out bits to put papers on.
5. writing/drawing implement: I use my computer mostly but I do journalling, short fiction and poetry in notebooks in longhand with an ink pen.
6. piece of technology: I treasure my headphones to keep outside interruptions to a minimum and to listen to soundscapes.
7. Internet distraction: Twitter is my diversion of choice.
8. piece of music: Currently I adore John Field's Nocturne No. 5 in B flat Major, Andantino.
9. radio station: Mostly I can't have the radio on - but I do love Radio 4 for the Shipping Forecast.
10. source of inspiration: Walking near water always brings inspiration.

Finalist 3

1. genre to read: Pretty much anything goes, magic, mystery, fun I find YA books much more exciting than adults books
2. artist: Phew that's a hugely tough one, there so many I love. But I guess, Nick Butterworth - charm, fun and humour are all in his work, just makes me feel warm n fuzzy inside.
3. author: Kevin Brooks, dark and dangerous and even though sometime my head is saying 'no don't read on' they are just so compelling, The Bunker Diary in particular.
4. place to work: My studio, simple as that!
5. writing/drawing implement: My inks, not telling which brand, they are like gold dust to get hold of as they are not in production any more.
6. piece of technology: Photoshop
7. Internet distraction:grrr Facebook!
8. piece of music: Depends on my mood and what I am working on. Often storybooks when I am painting, that way I get to hear the books and work!
9. radio station: Radio 2 until 12noon, then it goes off.
10. source of inspiration: Can come from pretty much anywhere, but maybe nature is best.

Finalist 4

1.genre to read: I'll read anything and hope to be surprised; but I'm a sucker for Magic Realism.
2. artist: Hieronymous Bosch
3. author: Jasper Fforde
4. place to work: In front of my wall of post-its
5. writing/drawing implement: HB Pencil for first draft
6. piece of technology: My new smart TV; box set heaven!
7. Internet distraction: Playing with the filters on Instagram
8. piece of music: Fantasia on a Piece by Thomas Tallis, by Vaughan Williams
9. radio station: Radio 4/Radio 6 Music
10. source of inspiration: Jet lag dreams

Finalist 5

1. Genre to read: I’m pretty genre-neutral. I love books with strong characters on exciting or magical adventures, but rooted in real life and in real, human emotion.
2. Artist: On holiday this year I discovered Sue Lewington whose work has helped me articulate what’s in my head.
3. Author: Well, this is the hardest question EVER. There are so many. I can’t wait for AM Homes to write another book. From the kids section, currently David Almond and Piers Torday.
4. Place to work: My den. I spend a lot of time here looking out at the garden. And working, of course.
5. Writing/drawing implement: My Mac
6. Piece of technology: My Mac! We are together a lot.
7. Internet distraction: Twitter, by a mile.
8. Piece of music: Recently, anything by Sia or Tom Odell.
9. Radio Station: R4
10. Source of Inspiration: It’s my son’s fault I started writing...

Tell us if you have a 'pitch twin' in the comments, make sure you're booked in for the conference, then come and watch them with big encouraging smiles!

To see 'The Hook' as it happens, book for the conference here. Bookings close on 31st October - that's next Monday! Hope to see you there!

Jan Carr used to edit Words & Pictures and co chaired last year's conference. This year she's cut down and is only responsible for The Hook, The Party and The Fringe (all very much worth capital letters as far as she's concerned.) She hopes you'll come to all of them.


  1. Ooooh, you're all very brave to get up and do your pitch at the conference. Way to go!! Can't wait to see who gets picked!

  2. Finalist number two – I'm also a sucker for stories with a touch of magic!

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  4. Does finalist number two REALLY work on a vintage guest?
    Tee hee.
    Finalist 4 chose on of my favourite pieces of music ever - a stop everything track!

  5. I'd love a huge vintage guest. Definitely a story there.
    But sadly the guest has now morphed into a desk.... ooh another story!

    1. I have in mind a Brian Blessed sort, in flamboyant clothes, being a rather loud vintage guest, telling rude jokes and drinking a tad too much.

  6. Good luck to you all. My top tips?
    1. Keep breathing
    2. Look at the audience as well as the panel
    3. Remember what you love about your work and share it
    4. Ask someone to record it for you. My mind went totally blank afterwards and I'm certain I've forgotten some very useful advice.
    I'll be cheering for you all.


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