Undiscovered Voices - Press Release
Thursday saw the launch party of Undiscovered Voices in London. For those who don’t know, UV is a competition run through the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) every two years for unpublished, unagented writers. Sally was short-listed with Through Mortal Eyes, and I was lucky enough to be amongst the winners with Magpie.
Even though the launch happened so recently, Sally and I have already started seeing benefits. Firstly there was the direct benefit of all that work we (including Nicki, Sue and Chris) put in to our opening chapters in preparation for entering the competition, which I’m certain helped us both hugely. Then there’s the announcement of the long-list back in October. That got our names out there a bit – by the time I got to the SCBWI Winchester conference a few weeks later, industry people I spoke to knew who I was, even if they’d never read my work. But aside from that, it’s given us something great to put in our cover letters when we send them out.
Our novels are very different – mine is a contemporary teen story of three girls and what happens when the secret that separates them begins to surface, and Sally’s teen fantasy based on the dark Grimm fairy tales tells the story of a girl who struggles when the world of fairy tales starts to encroach on her real life. And yet the networking and promotion opportunities that we’ve been able to take advantage of over the last few months have done us both the world of good.
We’ve now put a press release out, and while we were pulling it together (with Nicki’s help and a lovely quote from Gabby) we were thinking about our histories. We’d never have met if it weren’t for Abingdon Writers, and we definitely wouldn’t be where we are now. Everyone was so supportive, right from the start, and I for one definitely wouldn’t have developed like I did in those early days had it not been for the honest feedback you all gave and the ongoing enthusiasm I was surrounded by. So thanks from both of us, everyone, and here’s to a great 2012 for all.
Jo & Sally
P R E S S I N F O R M A T I O N
Competition success for Didcot and Harwell writers
Two members of a local writing group have been talent-spotted as being amongst the most promising newcomers in a competition aimed at bringing new writing to the attention of agents and publishers.
Jo Wyton is to be included in an anthology called ‘Undiscovered Voices’ which will be launched at a party for up to 60 publishing industry professionals in London in February by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and Sally Poyton has already had interest from several London agents for her young adult novel set in the world of fairy tales after being short-listed.
Jo Wyton, a geologist from Didcot, and mother-of-two from Harwell, Sally Poyton, are on the first steps towards publishing success since sending in their opening chapters to a national competition this summer.
Jo said: ‘Sally and I first met at a writing group in Abingdon, and since then have supported each other and shared our experiences through a local children’s writing group. This is only the third time the anthology has been published and around half the people selected from previous anthologies have gone on to have publishing success, so I was extremely excited to hear my work had been selected.’
Sally said: ‘Part of the value of joining a local writing group is not only to have critical appraisal of your writing, but also to hear about different routes to getting published. It was a huge boost to my writing confidence to hear my novel had been shortlisted for one of the top competitions for unpublished writers.’
Jo is writing a contemporary novel for young adults – the story of a girl’s journey home and the search for the truth about her mother’s death.
‘The anthology will be sent to agents and editors all over the country. To have my opening chapters seen by some of the top people in the publishing industry is a big vote of confidence,’ she said. ‘I’m nervous about meeting so many of the biggest names in publishing face to face, but the competition winners get a lot of support and I am excited to see what happens next.’
Gabby Aquilina – Abingdon Writers co-founder and chair – added her praise: ‘Abingdon Writers is only just over two years old, so to have two members with such early success is amazing. We are all really excited for them and very proud. Hopefully, the next step for them both will be to have their books completed, published and on the shelves, which is where they absolutely deserve to be!’
About the Undiscovered Voices anthology.
The anthology is published every two years – the winners of a national competition for unpublished writers – through SCBWI.
The judges are an industry panel of agents, publishers and book sellers.
“Every year I’m amazed and thrilled by the range of stories in this anthology, but I truly believe that this year will prove to be a vintage year,” said award-winning author Malorie Blackman, honorary chair for the 2012 anthology. Blackman has written more than 50 books including the Noughts and Crosses series and Boys Don’t Cry. “The quality of the writing is outstanding.”