SCBWI-BI Kicks Off Its Eighth Undiscovered Voices Anthology

Once again SCBWI British Isles plans to help fresh, new voices in children’s literature find agents and publishers through its Undiscovered Voices project. New this year is a series of free and low-cost events to help writers prepare their submissions.

The Undiscovered Voices anthology will include at least twelve fiction extracts – from early readers to young adult novels – from SCBWI members in the UK and EU. The anthology will be published in January 2022 and sent free of charge to editors and agents whose focus is children’s literature. The book is produced with the financial support of Working Partners Ltd, a London-based company that creates series fiction.

Authors and illustrators from the seven previous anthologies have received publishing contracts for more than 400 books and have been nominated for or won more than 160 literary prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize, Branford Boase Award, Blue Peter Award, the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, and more than 30 regional awards.

Deadlines

Submissions will be accepted between 14th June and 18th July 2021 via an online submissions process. There is no submissions fee, but only unagented and unpublished members of SCBWI living in the UK and Europe (writing in the English language) are eligible.

Judges

Four UK literary agents and three editors comprise the stellar judging panel for Undiscovered Voices 2022:

  • Davinia Andrew-Lynch, literary agent and the founder of the boutique agency ANDLYN
  • Megan Carroll, literary agent at Watson, Little Ltd
  • Sarah Davies, founder and agent at Greenhouse Literary Agency
  • Jane Griffiths, editorial director at Penguin Random House Children’s Books
  • Sarah Levison, senior commissioning editor at Farshore Books
  • Yasmin Morrissey, commissioning editor at Scholastic
  • Jo Williamson, literary agent at Antony Harwood Ltd
Honorary Chair

We are thrilled to announce that Patrice Lawrence, an award-winning writer for children, teenagers and adults, will be the honorary chair for Undiscovered Voices 2022. Her books include Orangeboy, (shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Award and winner of the Bookseller YA Prize and Waterstones Prize for Older Children’s Fiction), Indigo Donut (winner of Bristol Crimefest YA Prize and shortlisted for the Bookseller YA prize), Rose, Interrupted and Eight Pieces of Silva (Winner of Woman and Home Teen YA). All four books have been nominated for the Carnegie Award. She was a 2020 Costa Book Awards judge and is a judge for the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award for Radical Fiction.

Undiscovered Voice Events
Free Zoom Kick-Off Event on 22 April 2021 from 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.

This event will be a panel discussion with the judges, who will offer valuable advice for those planning to submit to the anthology. To attend, you must be a member of SCBWI in the UK or EU.

Three 90-Minute Masterclasses
8 May – Titles that Sell

Freelance editor Jenny Glencross will discuss how to craft a title to capture the attention of readers with Dani Wilson from Simon & Schuster’s Children’s sales team.

15 May – Writing a Synopsis

Author/editor Benjamin Scott will share the secrets of how to summarize a novel into the 75-word synopsis required for each UV submission.

22 May – Hooking Your Reader from the Start

Editor/author Catherine Coe and author/screenwriter Simon James Green will discuss how to polish those opening lines so readers are compelled to read on. 

Each session will run from 10 – 11:30 a.m. and contain practical advice and hands-on exercises as well as the opportunity for a selection of writers to share their work and receive feedback. The cost for all three sessions is £30. Free places will be available for writers who are financially disadvantaged or underrepresented in children’s publishing.

You will be able to book UV events on the SCBWI-BI web site soon.

For more details on how to submit and to sign up for news and updates about Undiscovered Voices, visit www.undiscoveredvoices.com

UV 2014 – Writers Bonus – The Panel discuss their recent acquisitions and why they loved them!

Please note: this video relates to the 2014 Undiscovered Voices judging panel.

As part of the Undiscovered Voices competition launch on April 18th 2013, we asked the fiction judging panel who were present about their most recent acquisitions. What followed revealed a lot about the role agents and editors in the acquisition process and how important it is for there to be a personal connection between the reader and the characters. It’s not just about being commercial and marketable, but about making the reader excited into enter into the world of the book. In comes as no surprise to anyone who has watched the previous videos that the role of voice ruled supreme.

 

UV 2014 – Writers Bonus – Ben and Sam discuss “Is there ever a time for Info dump?”

Please note: this video relates to the 2014 Undiscovered Voices judging panel.

In this bonus video from our fiction judging panel, Ben Horslen and Samantha Smith talk about how characters can be used to impart information and getting around problematic exposition (as known as “Info Dump”). Please check out our other Undiscovered Voices videos.

UV 2014 – Video for Writers: The Final Words of Advice from our Judges

Please note: this video relates to the 2014 Undiscovered Voices judging panel.

In our final clip from the Undiscovered Voices competition launch meeting on April 18th, we asked the fiction judging panel who were present for some words of advice and tips for writers. As Gemma Cooper starts off the discussion about how to get voice right by encouraging writers to listen to their work aloud (whether recording yourself reading it or getting someone else to read it). The panel then share their top tips for writers, from making sure you write the book you want to write, through to letting the readers use their imaginations.

UV 2014 – Video for Writers: Judging Panel’s Mistakes to Avoid and Advice on Genre

Please note: this video relates to the 2014 Undiscovered Voices judging panel.

Here’s our second clip for writers from the Undiscovered Voices competition launch meeting on April 18th. We asked the fiction judging panel who were present what mistakes writers should avoid and what advice they had on writing in popular genre. The panel start by talking about the obvious mistakes to avoid such as starting off with a character waking up or putting “info dump” in the first chapter, but soon start talking about how to bring something new to a genre you love. Our editors and agents also talk about how work for younger fiction is in great demand – especially in the Undiscovered Voices anthology!

UV 2014 – What the fiction judges are looking for – Video from the UV Launch Meeting

Please note: this video relates to the 2014 Undiscovered Voices judging panel.

Here’s our first clip from the Undiscovered Voices competition launch meeting on April 18th.

We asked the fiction judging panel who were present what they look for a manuscript. As Sarah Lambert says at the very beginning, “everyone knows this is voice, but only one of us gets to say it.”

However, there’s lots of other things that contribute to make a manuscript standout – including confidence, convincing world building (even in contemporary books), getting the reader excited about the story and rewarding their commitment to reading it.