OPENING LINES September 2023

This month Chip Colquhoun brings you the opportunity for feedback on your Opening Lines from Nibbie shortlistee Abi Fellows of DHH Literary Agency

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 November with Abi’s response.

Meet Abi

Abi Fellows began on the front lines of bookselling in 2001 with Blackwells, and soon after joined the sales team of Faber & Faber. Thus armed with a keen awareness of the desires of both booksellers and book readers, she began her agenting career with Georgina Capel Associates in 2004, handling journalism and translation rights whilst also assisting the primary agents.

Abi sought to be the best she could be for the literary world, as exemplified by her seven-year stint at RR Ltd, in which she further furnished her skillset with the experience of scouting for TV, film, and overseas publishers. But her efforts were amplified in March this year when, after 4 years with The Good Literary Agency spent championing writers from traditionally marginalised backgrounds, she was shortlisted for Literary Agent of the Year at the British Book Awards (aka "the Nibbies"). When she recently joined DHH, she brought her authors with her. This included brain injury survivor Thomas Leeds, Autism Awareness activist Lizzie Huxley-Jones, and black British Carnegie nominee Clare Weze.

But it's not just professional experience she draws upon to support her list of children's authors. As a school governor with a particular involvement in the school's literacy and SEND programmes, she has her finger on the pulse of both the interests and needs of today's young readers. Her passion for stories that broaden readers' horizons is evident in everything she does. Will your work excite her the same way?

Enter this month's Opening Lines for the chance to find out!

How to submit your Opening Lines

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

•  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, (eg the first paragraph), to a maximum of 100 words.

Make sure we receive your submission by 8 October 2023. Three entries will then be selected at random to be sent to Abi.

We’ll publish the results around 5 November 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 unagented, 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.

 *Header image: in-house collaboration between Ell Rose and Tita Berredo


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. He 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), and is currently working with the National English Hub to raise the rate of recreational reading in schools. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.

Ell Rose is the Illustration Features Editor of Words & Pictures. Contact them at

Tita Berredo is the Illustrator Coordinator of SCBWI British Isles and the Art Director of Words & Pictures. Contact her at:

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