SLUSH PILE CHALLENGE October 2022 Results




Silvia Molteni of PFD Literary Agency set and judged the October 2022 Slush Pile Challenge.




Silvia wanted to read a “one line pitch, blurb and opening chapter of a middle grade novel. She was particularly looking for voicy/character-led manuscripts, in any genre, with an immediate and strong hook. The story didn’t have to be completed, though this was preferable.”



We received 50 entries from members across the British Isles and Europe for this competition. As agreed with the SCBWI BI team, Silvia read 15 submissions. This is what Silvia told us when announcing the results:



“Thank you for everyone who entered the October 2022 Slush Pile challenge. We had so many entries and it was fantastic to dive into so many different worlds and stories at once.


The challenge I set was for a one-line pitch, blurb and opening chapter of a middle grade novel, as I’m particularly looking for voicy/character-led manuscripts, in any genre, with an immediate and strong hook. I was very pleased to see that all entries mostly fit this description; they were at an excellent level and overall featured very original concepts and immediate and clear stakes.


The entry that stood out the most to me though, and therefore my selected winner for this challenge, was Just Like Magic by Janet Foxley. I was immediately drawn to this story, it has a simple but very strong concept at its core, a captivating title, a likeable main character, and a gorgeous narrative voice from the start.


As for the other entries, I was also intrigued by The Projectionist by Justin Kington, Ask the Oracles by Jenny Rees, My brother The Wolf by Elizabeth Frattaroli and Maz and the Water Spirit by Brigita Orel. These all had incredibly interesting ideas, but I wasn’t blown away by the execution or the voice as much as I was with the winner. Some of the other entries, especially those featuring animal characters, skewed towards a younger audience than the one I had in mind for the challenge I set.”



Congratulations to Janet Foxley from all of us at Words & Pictures. We hope you are well on your way towards getting your writing published.


Well done to Justin Kington, Jenny Rees, Elizabeth Frattaroli and to Brigita Orel for being given a mention.


Thanks to everyone who entered. Keep writing and we hope you will be encouraged to try your hand at appropriate competitions.




Silvia Molteni is the head of the children’s and YA books department at PFD. She manages her own list of clients alongside selling foreign rights in our children’s and YA titles worldwide. Silvia also handles all audio rights for the agency. The Bookseller named Silvia 2019’s Rising Star.


Silvia is looking for MG and YA fiction. As far as MG goes, she’d like to find strong and diverse voices, with a preference for contemporary and realistic settings and magical realism. She’d love a laugh-out-loud story, but is always keen to read fiction with endearing characters, mind-blowing adventures and stories with lots of heart. She always enjoys dark and gothic tales and generally veers towards voice and character driven narratives as well as literary fiction and gorgeous writing. Think of Holes by Louis Sachar, The Witches by Roald Dahl, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson and Coraline by Neil Gaiman.


On the YA side, Silvia is looking for fiction across all genres, but again preferably literary, character-driven, incredibly voicy and beautifully written; more specifically these days, she’d love to find a great psychological thriller as well as a clever and atmospheric horror; light fantasy is of interest, while commercial fantasy that involves complicated world building, multiple books and high wordcount is not her cup of tea. Good examples of the kind of YA/crossover books that she loves are We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, Alice and the Fly by James Rice, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Skippy Dies by Paul Murray, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides and Lord of the Flies by William Golding.


Finally, Silvia is also on the hunt for original non-fiction books aimed at children and YA – from memoir to manuals, popular science and humorous books.





Elaine Cline has been a SCBWI member for over eight years and loves to write picture books, chapter books and middle-grade. She loves writing about food. She lives by the sea and has a dog and a cat. Elaine is a member of the Words & Pictures editorial team, managing The Slush Pile Challenge for writers. Connect with Elaine on Twitter: @elaineccline


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.