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Calendar of upcoming events

30th March: Beyond-The-Agent Chat with Patrice Lawrence (Hub members)
31st March: PitchHero deadline (for Hub members)

12-14th April: Mentor chats on Twitter
15-16th April: Mentee application window open

19th April: 12 week courses with Maz Evans and Lauren James begin
19th April: Preparing for Submission with Aisha Bushby begins
27th April: WriteWords with Lindsay Galvin begins
30th April: Mentor-Mentee announcement
1st May: #WMPitch

May 16th: Novel-in-Development Award closes for entries

Success Stories

After a degree in Art History turned out to be even less useful than predicted, Louise Finch fell into the charity sector and has stayed there for over a decade. She’s worked across issues such as local communities, women’s rights and youth, many of which have influenced her writing. 

Alongside crafting Young Adult novels, she has mastered the absolute basics of numerous other creative pursuits. She gets most of her thinking done while hiking with her two tiny dogs. 

Louise’s novel, The Eternal Return of Clara Hart, was shortlisted in the WriteMentor Children’s Novel Award 2020 and went on to list in several other competitions. Over summer 2020 she was mentored by Emma Finlayson-Palmer and Carolyn Ward. 

What made you apply for the WriteMentor programme?

In short, I knew I needed help! Like so many writers-in-training before me, I’d written my book, edited it to death, and knew something still wasn’t right.

At the same time, thanks to the pandemic, I was furloughed from my job for three months and my partner’s business lost all its bookings overnight. I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands and needed a distraction from everything going on in real life. The WriteMentor summer programme in which mentors generously give their time for free to aspiring writers was the solution. I hoped it would give me focus, encouragement and expert support.

What was your experience like?

My experience on the programme was so positive from start to finish. I was incredibly lucky to get to work with two mentors, the brilliant Emma Finlayson-Palmer and Carolyn Ward who, in addition to being experienced writers, editors and mentors, are two of the loveliest and most encouraging people you could hope to meet.

It also connected me to the ever supportive YA Mentee Class of 2020. As every writer knows, having other writers to share the ups and downs of this journey is vitally important.

Read more here.

Podcast Release

Today we launch our new podcast.

Episode 1 is an introductory episode, with Stuart and Florianne discusses the aims of the podcast, who it differentiates from others, and discuss their own writing processes and experiences.

Future episodes will feature authors, primarily, but also other industry professionals from the children's writing community, who will provide a deeper and more insightful look at our craft.

The podcast is available to download/subscribe from all the major placesSpotify/Amazon/ iTunes and the rest.

Our podcast page on the website is here.

You can also view our podcast - yes, Stuart's big melon head in full HD glory! - on YouTube if you prefer to see the discussions. We also have closed captions/transcript available for those in our community with hearing difficulties via the YouTube videos.
Episode 1 - A New Hope

Community Learning Hub

We are now officially open! We are already getting stuck into wonderful craft videos from our Writers in Residence, Clare Helen Welsh and Vashti Hardy and set up our online critique groups (which you can join any time).

PitchHero - pitching contest judged by agent Christabel McKinley (open to all Hub members)

Beyond-the-Agent - regulars chats with published authors and industry professionals on life beyond securing an agent (open to all Hub members) - 29th March with Patrice Lawrence

There's so much to be gained from the Learning Hub (and we haven't even mentioned our extensive library of Hub Modules!)

Come join us; writing can be lonely, but it doesn't need to be.

More information on the hub here

Online Courses

We have a new page for all our online courses! 

We hope it's much easier to navigate now. Read below to see how you can be the very first to sign up for newly published courses.


Next course starts 19th April 2021

Price: £600 (with £60 deposit)


Next course starts 19th April 2021

Price: £600 (with £60 deposit)

Dates: Tuesday 27th April – Tuesday 25th May 2021 (8-9pm)
Price: £79

Starts: Monday 19th April 2021 (8-9pm)
With agent Lucy Irvine
Price: £120

Children's Novel-In-Development Award

Entries are open until 16th May, 2021.

Read more about the award and it's eligibility criteria and rules here.

WriteMentor Magazine Issue 5 is on sale!

Elle McNicoll
Genevieve Herr

Nizrana Farook
C.G. Moore
Hannah Gold

…Why critique groups are important for writers
…The witticisms of our Honest Writer
…The winning entries for our flash fiction and short story competitions under the theme of New Beginnings
…Your recent writing achievements.

Buy here.

Other Opportunities

Spark Mentoring

WriteMentor Spark is a monthly, online one-to-one mentoring service. Working with a children’s author, you will receive ongoing developmental editing, writing advice, publishing insights, and direct feedback on your manuscript to help you elevate your writing craft to the next level.

Spark Mentoring is always available if you need extra help or support each month.

Spark mentor Emma Read has offered to give ongoing free critiques to BAME writers - one free package per month of synopsis and 1st page.
Sign up here and she will work through the list, at a rate of 1 a month, so the quicker you sign up, the quicker you'll get some feedback.
Quick Spark editing is available for all ms from PB to YA.

Check out this superb post from Emma Finlayson-Palmer and Carolyn Ward on what to expect from Quick Spark here.
A fantastic opportunity with this long running novel competition run by Chicken House Books. They are looking for completed manuscripts and it's £18 to enter.

The competition will close for entries on 14 May 2021 at 11.59pm GMT.

For more details and to enter, look here:
The Jericho Prize for children’s writing, open to Black-British writers with great stories to inspire children aged 4 years plus and 7–9.

Open for submissions 2 August 2021.


We're looking for manuscripts aimed at young readers and your work must fit into one of these two categories:

1. A picture book for 4 years plus. No more than 800 words OR

2. A short chapter book for the 7–9 age range between 10,000–15,000 words

All manuscripts must feature a Black or mixed-Black main character. (Read our FAQs for more guidance.)

The prize

The winner of each category will receive:

After that, if you manage to publish your book you'll also receive:

  • A listing with inclusive-led bookshop Round Table Books in their physical and online stores

  • A book review published on Candid Cocoa plus six month's promotion on Candid Cocoa's social media

We also have a whole page on our website with links to competitions and mentorship programmes. Click here.

Final word from...

I am Writer, Hear Me Roar (or how writing can help you reclaim your identity when the world conspires to take it away)*
*Titles are not my strong suit

By Emily Randall
If – like me – you believe that reading about fellow authors’ journey to success is enough to get you signed (what do you mean, I actually have to write something?), then you’ll no doubt have scoured a million of them and seen variations on a particular theme.   

I wrote all the time as a kid, and then forgot about it until… 
I was constantly scribbling stories but only decided to take it seriously after…

Interestingly, the ‘afters’ or the ‘untils’ usually precede something particularly life changing, such as grief, ill health, job loss, divorce or becoming a parent. Believe me, I’m by no means suggesting these experiences are comparable at all but they tend to result in the same thing, however brief. 

A loss of self. Or to put it in kidlit terms: The Mystery of the Missing Identity.

It was becoming a mum that gave me a good firm kick in the behind. I’d written prolifically as a kid. People still talk of my Hocus Pocus inspired manuscript that detailed three witches and a black flame candle and yeah I just ripped off the film, and then there was the time that all my heroines were called Assumpta because I was really into Ballykissangel and for an entire year I got up before school to write a film script to the soundtrack of The Man Who. It starred Matthew Broderick. I even wrote the entire text of Little Women onto scented paper with a quill I’d got from Past Times. By candlelight, obviously. Wearing a nightie I’d also got from Past Times. (Incidentally, if they were to bring back I’m Past Times I’d be okay with that.)

But life happened and phones became a thing and I spent most of my spare time drinking cheap rose wine in flatshares or scrolling through Facebook. Then suddenly I was 33 and married, with a small red person who wanted my constant attention. I totally lost any sense of who I’d been. It was buried under a pile of muslins. 

An old actor-turned-writer-pal with whom I’d spent a lot of time discussing books and drinking gin in the back of a car suggested I give it a go. Why not? I thought. It’ll give something else to think about other than poo. Using the last dregs of my maternity pay, I signed up to a Curtis Brown Creative course and started work on an MG book. For the first time in a year, I felt like I’d returned to myself. 

But why?

Because stories are splinters of our soul. We pour ourselves into them and weave fragments of ourselves into a fictional world. Each word is infused with our memories, our dreams, our experiences, resulting in a unique tapestry of us

Your main character? She’s the part of you that yearns for adventure; the brave, impulsive part that you don’t get to see too often anymore. 

Maybe your villain is the bit you keep locked away; the wrathful misanthrope that rears its ugly head every time someone doesn’t respect social distancing or dangles their mask off their chin. 

Perhaps the landscape you’ve created is a patchwork of every place you’ve ever been, or the places you long to go and will never visit. 

Maybe your story is you. 

I now have two small red people, and whenever I feel my carefully reconstructed sense of self slip away once more, I retreat into my private world of ghosts and mysterious islands and spot myself hiding behind a tower of hag stones. 

Quite frankly, the pandemic has been utter tripe for all of us in varying degrees. This annus horriblis has stripped much of our humanity away and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’ve delved deeper into our manuscripts than ever before. When everything that makes us us is taken away, how do we remember who we are?
We write and we find ourselves.

So here’s an idea. Whenever you feel yourself fading away, pick up the latest incarnation of your story and give it a read. Not to pick out inconsistencies or hackneyed clichés this time, but to discover the root of who you are. 

Because you’ll always be there, floating between the double line spacing. You just have to know where to look. 
Do YOU want to be the star of this newsletter?

Do YOU want to have the final word?
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