Slush Pile Challenge - April 2017

We are pleased to announce the April 2017 Slush Pile Challenge.

Jodie Hodges
Jodie Hodges, literary agent at United Agents is setting this challenge. 

Founded in 2007, United Agents represents a broad range of authors, from prize-winning novelists and best selling writers to acclaimed biographers, specialist non-fiction and children's authors and illustrators. In December 2013, AP Watt, the world's oldest literary agency, joined United Agents, creating the UK's most prestigious literary, media and talent agency.  

Jodie Hodges represents children's illustrators and authors of picture books, middle grade, teenage and YA. She started working with Rosemary Canter in 2006, assisting her on her list. Jodie was made an agent in 2010 and always has an open list for submissions.
In the spirit of adventure and not knowing what she's looking for until she sees it, she doesn't have a wish-list of new clients. Her feelings don't change. She enjoys strong, original storytelling and a unique voice. She has a passion for funny writing for 7-12s and also a penchant for the realisms of teenage life - be that gritty or hilarious - in writing for that age group. That said, she also loves classic, epic adventure stories and a sprinkling of the fantastic.
Additionally, Jodie is always searching for bold new voices in picture book writing and children's book illustrators or writer/illustrators with a contemporary, quirky style. 

However, for the purpose of this Slush Pile Challenge, Jodie is judging written picture book texts only. In this instance, she does not want illustrations to accompany the text.


I would love to see a picture book text that features a human child or children at its heart (so, no animal protagonists). Any theme at all but a story that toddlers and/or pre-schoolers and their parents can read together that makes them laugh or cuddle (or both). Word count of a maximum of 700 words and paginated in 12 spreads, please.  
                           THE REWARD:

Jodie will pick a winner. She will arrange to have a 30 minute meeting with the winner. It will be in person, via Skype or a phone call.



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

If you win a challenge, you will not be able to enter 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

If between submitting your entry and the winner being announced, you gain representation from an agent, please contact us at


Send in your entry as a single Word Document to  

The document should contain only the title and the picture book text that the judge has requested. Do not include your name, address or email address in the word document or the document name. The word document should be named in the following format - 'your title' April 2017 Slushpile.doc

Please do not insert a header or footer in your submission. 

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.


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 request to read more than fifteen entries.

The agent will pick a winner and also tell us why.  Sometimes the agent who set the competition may quote a few sentences or phrases from the winner's submission in the blog announcing the winner.  

The winner will be put in touch with the agent so they can arrange the 30 minute discussion, in person, by Skype, or on the phone.

Good Luck Everyone!

The Words and Pictures team are aware that our members write for different ages and genres. With this in mind, we endeavour to provide at least one Slush Pile Challenge a year that our un-agented members feel able to enter.  

Elaine Cline has been a SCBWI member for over 4 years and loves to write picture books, middle-grade and teen books. 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. 

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