This month Chip Colquhoun brings you the opportunity for feedback on your Opening Lines from Julia Churchill of AM Heath Literary Agents.

Opening Lines gives you a chance to get some professional feedback on those all-important first few words so you can fine-tune your submissions. Three entries will be chosen at random for feedback. If yours is selected, it will be published anonymously here in April with Julia’s response.

Meet Julia

Julia Churchill joined AM Heath almost exactly a decade ago in 2013 – but almost exactly a decade before that she began building up the UK side of Greenhouse Literary Agency, a transatlantic agency specialising in children’s and YA books. After four years there, she spent six years with the Darley Anderson Agency to start their children’s list.

So it’s fair to say Julia has a wonderful wealth of experience and represents a rich range of writers – including inventive picture book penner Pip Jones, award-winning YA writer Joanna Nadin, and the co-author duo of an autistic teen alongside an assistant headteacher by the names of Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcott. Her criteria for choosing the writers she wants to work with is simply that they are “fabulous!”

Julia recently hit Twitter (via @JuliaChurchill) to announce that she is on the lookout for a new writer who is ready to share their book with agents. So how better to make sure that’s you than by getting her feedback on the start of your manuscript?

How to submit your Opening Lines

Please email and write OPENING LINES ENTRY in the subject line. Your email needs to contain:

  • your full name

  • your story’s title

  • your 'elevator pitch' – usually just one or two sentences totalling no more than 40 words conveying the key character, crisis point, genre and/or theme of your story and

  • the opening lines of your story, (e.g. the first paragraph), to a maximum of 100 words.

Make sure we receive your submission by 2 April 2023. Three entries will then be selected at random to be sent to Julia.

We’ll publish the results on 30 April 2023.

Please note that, by submitting to Opening Lines, you give Words & Pictures the right to publish the content of your submission anonymously. However, this is not an exclusive right, so you are free to submit your story elsewhere.

Who is eligible?

You need to be an un-agented, current SCBWI member and resident in either the UK or Europe.

To join SCBWI and take advantage of the many opportunities like this one to be supported in the development and pursuit of your craft – and also find advice on marketing your work, meet fellow writers and artists, and much much more – visit


If you've received feedback from Opening Lines, how did it help you? If it led to you finding an agent or a publisher, please contact us – we'd love to hear your story.




Chip Colquhoun

Chip began storytelling for children in 2007 and was asked to write the EU’s guidance on using stories in classrooms in 2015, but became a children’s writer when The History Press commissioned him in 2016 to write Cambridgeshire Folk Tales for Children. He’s since had 21 books published, most as part of the Fables & Fairy Tales series he co-produces with illustrator Korky Paul (published by Epic Tales). You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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