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

Emily Lamm
Emily Lamm, Commissioning Picture Book Editor at Hachette Book Group, is setting this challenge. She has previously undertaken editorial roles at Scholastic, Pan Macmillan, and Walker Books.

Hachette Children's Group is one of the largest children's publishers in the UK, with an excellent track record in creating bestselling and award-winning books for children of all ages and interests. This group comprises the imprints Hodder Children's Group, Orchard Books, Orion Children's Books, Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersQuercus Children's Books, Pat-a-Cake, Wren & Rook, Franklin and Watts,and Wayland Books. The group is also the publisher of Enid Blyton and the owner of Enid Blyton Entertainment

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


"A twist in the tale". 

The picture book world is one where anything can happen. I'm looking for a fantastic picture book story with a really original twist (or several). Perhaps the characters don't act quite as we'd expect. Perhaps magic yields unexpected results. Perhaps a well-known tale takes a surprising turn... Your story can be funny, thoughtful or downright surreal. The twist might be cleverly subtle or hilariously over-the-top. Being underpinned by a great message for preschool children (friendship, kindness, belonging, teamwork etc.) is always a plus. I'm looking for 600 words maximum, strong visual possibilities, and a whole lot of flair. Good luck and have fun! 

                           THE REWARD:

Emily will pick a winner. She will arrange to have a 30-minute meeting with the winner. The meeting can be in person, via Skype, or by phone.




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, and 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


1      Check that you are a paid-up member of SCBWI before submitting your entry by going to Any entries received where a member's details cannot be found on SCBWI records will not be included as a valid entry. 

2      Send in your entry as a single Word document to Submissions to the Slush Pile Challenge should not be sent direct to the agent/editor/judge.  

3      The document should contain only the title and the 600 words maximum picture book manuscript 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' October 2017 Slushpile.doc

4      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.

6       Shortly after you have submitted your entry, you will receive an email from the competition's email address stating 'Your entry has been received.' If you do not receive this message please send an email to However, we cannot put through entries after the closing date unless your entry is received on or before the closing date. 

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

8       Any entries received after the closing date will automatically be disqualified. 


As soon as the competition is closed, it is necessary to generate a random selection using a computer program. All valid and verified entries received will be included, irrespective of whether the entry was received on the date of the launch of the competition or on the closing date, or whether the entrant has previously had their submissions seen by an agent/editor/judge. This has to be done to ensure that there is no bias or pre-judging from SCBWI BI or the SCBWI BI Words and Pictures editorial team when sending the entries for judging. The terms of the competition are that the judge agrees to read a minimum of fifteen entries from the number of submissions. In many cases, the agent/editor/judge requests to read more. When an agent/editor/judge requests to read fifteen or another proportion of the total entries, those chosen as the first ones to be read by the computer will be sent to him/her. Sometimes the judge may request a further selection of valid and verified entries before making their decision. When this occurs, to avoid bias, the next group of entries from the initial computer-generated random selection will be sent to the agent/editor/judge. There are times when the judge requests to read all the entries, and these are then forwarded to him/her. 

The agent/editor will pick a winner and also tell us why. Sometimes the agent/editor 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. 

No comments:

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.