UV2022 is open for submissions

Official announcement

Submissions Are Now Open for SCBWI-BI’s 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. 

Submissions will be accepted online at www.undiscoveredvoices.com from now until 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 There is no submissions fee, but only unagented and unpublished members of SCBWI living in the UK and Europe (writing in the English language) are eligible. ‘Unpublished’ means you have not had a book (including a picture book, novel, non-fiction book or collection of short stories) accepted for publication or currently published in any country. 

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.

What You Need to Submit:

  • The first 4,000 words of a completed novel for children/teens. Picture book texts and nonfiction work are not accepted.
  • The target age range of your book, choosing from 5–8 year olds, 9–12 year olds and Young Adults (YA).
  • A 75-word synopsis of your story.
  • A 50-word bio written in the third person. 

You may not resubmit any extract from a novel you submitted for consideration in previous Undiscovered Voices anthologies ­– even if it has been significantly revised.

Before you submit, please review the complete submissions eligibility and rules.

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 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 for fiction at Farshore Books
  • Yasmin Morrissey, commissioning editor at Scholastic
  • Jo Williamson, literary agent at Antony Harwood Ltd

Honorary Chair

Patrice Lawrence, an award-winning writer for children, teenagers and adults, is 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 the Crimefest YA Prize and shortlisted for the Bookseller YA prize), RoseInterrupted and Eight Pieces of Silva (winner of Woman and Home Teen YA, the Jhalak prize for writers of colour and the Crimefest YA Prize). All four books have been nominated for the Carnegie Medal. She was a 2020 Costa Book Awards judge and is a judge for the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award for Radical Fiction.

For more details on how to submit, tips for writers, blogs from previous writers featured in the anthology, and to sign up for news and updates about Undiscovered Voices, visit www.undiscoveredvoices.com

UV Masterclass report, part 1

This year’s Undiscovered Voices preparations are bigger than ever with our very first UV Masterclass series proving hugely popular. But if you missed out, don’t panic! Here’s a breakdown to clue you in. Each of the three sessions focused on different elements of your UV submission. Our first report focuses on the first, TITLES THAT SELL, with freelance editor Jenny Glencross and Dani Wilson from Simon & Schuster Children’s sales team.

Titles that sell: what did they say?

Titles are important. They’re the first thing an agent, editor, publisher, or reader will see. They have to work hard to grab attention, hint towards your book’s genre and intended readership and entice them to actually open the book. The right title can make a big difference to sales! Would you pick up a book called Trimalchio in West Egg? No? But you might pick up The Great Gatsby. How about a book called First Impressions? You might be surprised to learn that one later became Pride & Prejudice.

Why not consider the titles of your favourite books – what do they tell you about the story, the intended readership, the genre and tone? e.g. The Day the Screens Went Blank tells you so much, including the timeframe the story is set in.

They Both Die at the End means you instantly know it’s YA and it gives you the ending, but you buy it hoping it’s not true.

So, how do you pick the right title for you? Jenny and Dani suggest brainstorming keywords or phrases that describe the plot, character and themes of your book or even phrases that might be in the book that encapsulate your story.

If you’re really stuck, maybe consider some of the classic title conventions and structures, such as the one-word title (Brightstorm, Cogheart, Nevermoor), the name + noun title (Amelia Fand and the Barbaric Ball, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone), the play on words title (Who Let The Gods Out, Murder Most Unladylike), the juxtaposition title (Dragon Mountain, Dangerous Remedy, Demolition Dad), the noun title (The Boy at the Back of the Class, The Clockwork Sparrow) and the list title (Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging; Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow; Chocolate Mile, X-Ray Specs and Me).

If in doubt, don’t overcomplicate it and don’t try to be too poetic or clever. Remember, if you get signed by an agent, they might want you to change the title, as might an editor or publisher, or maybe even the booksellers! Keep an open mind and whatever you do, don’t use picking a title as a device to procrastinate and keep you from writing!

Discover more – UV masterclass report, part 2

Andrew James is originally from the Lake District and teaches English, Film and Media. He completed his MA in Children’s Literature at Goldsmiths in 2018 and for the past five years, he has organised and hosted monthly agent pitch evenings for his local writing group. He has a passionate dislike for anything referred to as an ‘easy peeler.’ Satsumas are the only way to go.