We are pleased to announce the January 2024 Slush Pile Challenge, set by Katie Blagden, of The Bright Agency.




Katie works across the Literary list, representing authors across all areas of Fiction, Non-Fiction, Children’s, YA, and Graphic Novels. Before joining the literary team, she worked for Bright in marketing, with previous experience as a bookseller and as a video producer. She loves working with authors to find their books an audience, and particularly enjoys building lasting relationships with editors and authors alike. Katie is an advocate for centring traditionally underrepresented voices, and actively works to discover and develop authors and author-illustrators from diverse backgrounds. She is also dedicated to working with authors to realise their writing ambitions, including evolving them into new genres and age-ranges. When she’s not reading, Katie is a contributor on the Graham Norton Book Club on Audible and she also runs the Bright Dungeons & Dragons club!



The Bright Agency are a collective of specialist agents, who represent many award-winning artists ranging from debut to established names.


We’re devoted to discovering, developing, nurturing and promoting the best in global talent throughout their career.


We’ve seen their stories on best-seller lists, translated into more than 40 languages, performed on stage, adapted for screen, and become contemporary favourites. This is where stories become classics, and characters become friends.


We love seeing new work, and we'd love to see yours. Talent is exciting, and when you help it grow, it's incredible. We’re proud of our ability to discover and establish new artists and authors. We’re also proud that we still represent people who were with us when we first opened, and who've truly bloomed over the years. Could you be next?





“I’d love to see submissions from traditionally underrepresented groups, including BIPOC, queer, neurodiverse, disabled and working-class authors and author-illustrators. I’m looking for entries from chapter books right up to YA, including fiction and graphic novels. Please submit in ONE DOCUMENT:


• A logline


• A short synopsis


• About you


• First three chapters


Please only submit it your manuscript is complete – not WIP I’m afraid!


Do not include your name anywhere in your entry as this competition is judged anonymously.





Katie will pick a winner. She will arrange to have a 30-minute meeting with the winner. It will be either in person, Zoom or a phone call.










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


If you win a challenge, you can enter any other Slush Pile Challenges but not with the same manuscript.


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 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 only contain THE TITLE, A LOGLINE, A SHORT SYNOPSIS, ABOUT YOU and FIRST THREE CHAPTERS the judge has requested. Do not include your name, address or email address in your word document or the document name. The word document should be named in the following format – 'your title' January 2024 Slush Pile.doc


4 Please do not insert a header or footer in your submission.


5 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 competitions email address stating, 'Your entry has been received.' If you do not receive this message please send an email to However, we cannot put entries through 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/SCBWI BI Words & 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 judge will pick a winner and also tell us why. Sometimes he/she 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 judge so they can arrange the 30-minute discussion by Zoom or on the phone.



Good Luck Everyone!




Elaine Cline has been a SCBWI member for over eight years and loves to write picture books, chapter books, and middle-grade books. She lives by the sea and has one dog.


Elaine is a member of the Words & Pictures editorial team, managing The Slush Pile Challenge.


Twitter handle: @elaineccline



  1. I have been a member for nearly a year and have not seen any opportunity to send in a picture book to a 'slush pile' event. Please let me know if there is such an event that I might have missed.
    Diana Boyer

    1. Hello, we set a picture book challenge at least once a year. The last picture book challenge was in April 2023 set by Mollie Jamieson of United Agents. The challenges are promoted on SCBWI BI Facebook page, the local network Facebook pages and twitter. As our unagented members write for different age groups and genres we try and have a spread of challenges so that there is at least one that our members can enter.

  2. Is there a more specific guide to what a ‘short synopsis’ means? Eg 1 page single space or 300 words etc. Thank you.

    1. The agent didn't specify how short the synopsis should be.


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