SLUSH PILE CHALLENGE January 2024 Results


Katie Blagden of The Bright Literary Agency set the January 2024 Slush Pile Challenge.



Katie wanted 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!”



We received 19 entries from members across the British Isles and Europe for this competition. Katie read all of the submissions. This is what Katie told us when announcing the results:

“Thank you so much to all the writers who entered this Slush Pile Challenge. It was such pleasure to dive into all the stories and I was so impressed with the standard of writing throughout.

There were several entries that caught my eye with great premises, wonderful characters and unique voices. However there were a couple of pieces that really stood out to me and to that end I’ve picked one winner and one very highly commended and I’m delighted to offer both of these writers a one-to-one about their writing.

The winner is Code In The Castle by Marjorie (Marnie) Forbes Eldridge. I found the premise and set up for this one instantly compelling and the writing really drew me into the mystery. The settings were really well drawn and the characters felt fully fleshed out and intriguing. I also really loved the code-breaking elements in the story as I think this will really appeal to kids who like interactive elements in stories.

The highly commended entry is Little Witch Finds A Family by Nicola Brooks-Williamson. Again the set up and premise of this one felt original and intriguing and I loved the contrasting settings between the urban flats and the fantastical rooftop full of magic. I was also instantly drawn to Sarah’s character and desire for connection, something I think a lot of children today are looking for.

A final word to all the writers who entered and weren’t picked; please don’t be disheartened! Every agent and editor have differing tastes, opinions and criteria for writing they acquire and often the reasons for passing on a piece have very little to do with the strength of the writing or story. Keep submitting, entering competitions and honing your craft.”



Congratulations to Marjorie (Marnie) Forbes Eldridge from all of us at Words & Pictures. We hope you are well on your way towards getting your writing published.


Well done to Nicola Brooks-Williamson for being judged as very highly commended.


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


Katie Blagden 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?



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. Elaine is a member of the Words & Pictures' editorial team, managing The Slush Pile Challenge for writers. Connect with Elaine on Twitter: @elaineccline


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