UV2020 Honorary Chair, Candy Gourlay, speaks!

Undiscovered Voices is delighted that the amazing Candy Gourlay agreed to be our honorary chair for UV2020. She recorded this heartfelt and uplifting video to celebrate the success of this year’s finalists.

Thank you so much Candy for taking the time to make such a wonderful tribute.

We’re excited as this year’s finalists take the next step in their writing careers. We’ll be posting updates as we hear from them. For now, we want to congratulate them once again.

  • Annaliese Avery – The Invention of Night
  • Yvonne Banham – Tulip Finola Barnacle
  • Sharon Boyle – Pupil K
  • Anna Brooke – Sean & The Franken-Bogey
  • Dr Adam Connors – The Genius Machine
  • Clare Harlow – The Shape Of A Girl
  • Urara Hiroeh – The Air We Cannot Breathe
  • Helen MacKenzie – Hagstone
  • Michael Mann – Ghostcloud
  • Angela Murray – The Sea Lord’s Curse
  • Laura Warminger – The Great Prime Minister Swap
  • Harriet Worrell – The Good Child Serum

You can learn all about our finalists here: http://www.undiscoveredvoices.com/?page_id=1106

Before You Click Submit, Part 3 – Eight Ways to Make Sure Your Submission Hits the Mark

As we get closer to the opening of UV submissions, we’re posting tips to make sure your submission stands the best chance of making it into the anthology.

Eight Ways to Make Sure Your Submission Hits the Mark

Shine by Candy Gourlay

Award-winning author and one of the first UV finalists Candy Gourlay has kindly given us eight incredible and direct tips to make sure your submission is ready to wow our judges:

Tip 1: Intrigue starts with your first chapter. No explanations. Make your reader desperate to find out what happens next.

Tip 2: Voice. Everyone talks about looking for a voice. Voice only happens when your characters have come alive. How do you do that? Inhabit your character and build the plot from within.

Tip 3. Setting is context AND character, not information. Stop describing and start characterising. If your setting is alive, your reader will read on.

Tip 4. Cause and effect. If cause and effect is not happening then your chapter is static and your reader has probably died of boredom.

Tip 5. Don’t be anxious to make sure that your reader understands your story in the first three chapters. First chapters intrigue and lead your reader on. They are not there to explain. Trust the judges – they are reading a LOT of first chapters and I’ll bet a lot of them are explaining rather than exciting.

Tip 6. Select the eggs you’re going to offer in the basket. YOU DON’T HAVE TO PUT EVERYTHING INTO THE FIRST CHAPTER. You are more likely to engage a reader with a choice selection.

Tip 7. Make sure you identify WHO you’re writing for and that your sample is appropriate to your target readership. Oh, and here’s a guess … most people submitting will probably be writing YA. Ask yourself, is this the one that will help me stand out in the herd?

When you are editing down your chapter samples, don’t cut for word number, cut for MEANING and DRAMA.

Tip 8. When you are editing down your chapter samples, don’t cut for word number, cut for MEANING and DRAMA. I know so many people who edit down without realising that they are losing the deliciousness of their writing. This means you will have to be wise and practical about choosing what you winnow out of your text.

Check back soon for more top writing tips before you submit.


Candy Gourley was a finalist in UV2008. She has been a journalist, press photographer, web designer, short film maker, radio presenter (well, once) and fake American accent voice talent. She once helped overthrow a dictator (with several million other people). She has now forsworn revolutionary activity to become a children’s author. She is the award-winning author of Tall Story and Shine.  www.candygourlay.com