SLUSH PILE CHALLENGE Kate Walker January 2017 winner

Kate Walker's Profile Photo, Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, closeup and indoor
Kate Walker

Kate Walker, winner of Ja
nuary's Slush Pile challenge, tells us why she entered the competition and  about her experience of discussing her submission with Sallyanne Sweeney from Mulcahy Associates

Kate won this challenge by demonstrating she was able to produce a 'Best Beginning!' and created a good first impression when she submitted her first page and paragraph pitch of her completed manuscript. Sallyanne was hooked by her voice and was immediately drawn into Kate's story. Sallyanne stated that she is always drawn to humour, heart, voice and a great concept. 


To say I'd entered the Slush Pile Challenge before is an understatement. In fact, I had entered so many in succession that Elaine felt like my pen pal. I didn't think I'd actually win this one. I had received a special mention with my other manuscript in the previous challenge and I thought that was as good as I could hope for. 

When I found out I'd won, I cried, firstly because an agent actually liked my work enough, which felt amazing and then because Sallyanne requested my full manuscript and although I had finished it, I didn't like the second half. I rewrote it in two solid weeks of frantic typing, determined to fix it. I'm glad I did. Although I realised the chances of representation were on a par with a unicorn strolling into my kitchen, I knew I would foolish to send in something duff.   

I travelled to Brick Lane, not knowing what to expect. 

Sallyanne was positive about my concept, characters and world building and gave me a lot of guidance on how to expand my ideas into a series with an overarching threat. 

A whole series - that's like unicorn hoof prints! So I need to do a lot of thinking and Sally is very happy to read my work again once I'm ready, which is just what I needed to give me focus and get me back on track.  

Huge thanks to Sallyanne, and the SCBWI team for creating this opportunity. 

Thanks Kate.  The Words and Pictures editorial team wish Kate all the best with polishing her manuscript.  A special thanks to Sallyanne Sweeney at Mulcahy Associates for setting, judging and providing such valuable feedback to Kate. 


  1. Hi Kate, Lovely to read about your experience and a heartwarming message to keep trying. Persistence pays.

  2. Such a fantastic achievement, Kate. So glad you didn't give up. Gives the rest of us a boost to keep trying. Congratulations!

  3. Brilliant! Good luck with the rewrite and congratulations! Well done to Elaine also, another SCBWI success thanks to you :-)

  4. The boost to confidence these events give cannot be underestimated! Congratulations and bravo Elaine and SCBWI for the chances these opportunities bring!


We love comments and really appreciate the time it takes to leave one.
Interesting and pithy reactions to a post are brilliant but we also LOVE it when people just say they've read and enjoyed.
We've made it easy to comment by losing the 'are you human?' test, which means we get a lot of spam. Fortunately, Blogger recognises these, so most, if not all, anonymous comments are deleted without reading.

Words & Pictures is the Online Magazine of SCBWI British Isles. Powered by Blogger.