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Women Poets’ Prize Launches at Second Home Festival of Poetry

The Rebecca Swift Foundation is proud to announce the launch of the Women Poets’ Prize at the Second Home Festival of Poetry. The Prize will be introduced by Chair of the Rebecca Swift Foundation Trustees, Cathy James, and TLC Director Aki Schilz. There will be readings by acclaimed poets Moniza Alvi, Rachel Long, and Martha Sprackland, and a panel discussion.

About the Women Poets’ Prize

Launching a year on from Rebecca’s passing, 2018 marks the inaugural Women Poets’ Prize – a biennial award seeking to honour Rebecca’s two key passions: poetry and the empowerment of women. The Prize will be awarded to three female-identifying poets. Each winner will be carefully matched with a poetry mentor in addition to a pastoral coach, facilitating a holistic body of support that nurtures craft and personal wellbeing in equal measure. The Prize will also offer a programme of support and creative professional development opportunities with the Foundation’s partners: Faber and Faber, The Literary Consultancy, RADA, City Lit, Verve Festival, Bath Spa University, and The Poetry School. In addition to these opportunities which constitute the Women Poets’ Prize professional grant, each successful poet will each receive a cash bursary of £1,000.

The Women Poets’ Prize is free to enter and will open online at the website here on June 9th 2018.

The 2018 prize will be judged by Fiona Sampson and Moniza Alvi. As well as accessing a £1,000 cash prize and opportunities provided by our partners, the three winners will be supported by poetry mentors Mona Arshi, Isobel Dixon and Martha Sprackland, alongside pastoral coaches Deborah Alma, Dzifa Benson and Rachel Long. 

About the Speakers

Moniza Alvi was born in Lahore, Pakistan, and came to England when she was a few months old. She grew up in Hertfordshire and studied at the universities of York and London. Peacock Luggage, a book of poems by Moniza Alvi and Peter Daniels, was published as a result of the two poets jointly winning the Poetry Business Prize in 1991. Since then, Moniza Alvi has written eight poetry collections including The Country at My Shoulder (1993), which was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Whitbread Poetry Award,  A Bowl of Warm Air (1996), one of the Independent on Sunday’s Books of the Year; Carrying My Wife (2000), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation; Europa(2008), a Poetry Book Society Choice and shortlisted for the TS Eliot prize and At the Time of Partition (2013) a Poetry Book Society Choice, shortlisted for the 2013 TS Eliot Prize and won the East Anglian Writers Prize for poetry. Moniza’s latest collection is Blackbird, Bye Bye and will be published on the 21st June 2018. Moniza Alvi now tutors for the Poetry School and lives in Norfolk. In 2002 she received a Cholmondeley Award for her poetry.

Rachel Long is a poet and the founder of Octavia – Poetry Collective for Womxn of Colour, which is housed at Southbank Centre, London. She was shortlisted for Young Poet for Laureate for London in 2014 and awarded a Jerwood/Arvon Foundation mentorship in 2015. Rachel has run poetry workshops for The Poetry School, The Serpentine Galleries and at University of Oxford.  She is Assistant Tutor to Jacob Sam La-Rose on the Barbican Young Poets programme 2015-present.

Martha Sprackland is a writer and editor. She was co-founder and poetry editor of Cake magazine, was assistant poetry editor for Faber & Faber, and is one of the founding editors of multilingual arts magazine La Errante. She is co-editor, with Patrick Davidson Roberts, of independent publisher Offord Road Books. Twice a winner of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, she was also the recipient of an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors, and was longlisted for the inaugural Jerwood–Compton Poetry Fellowships in 2017. In 2015 Martha was invited to participate in the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation poetry festival in Sofia and Koprivshtitsa, Bulgaria. In 2017 she spent a month in residence at Yaddo. Martha is poet-in-residence for Caught by the River. Her debut pamphlet, Glass As Broken Glass, was published by Rack Press in January 2017, and she is currently working on a full-length collection. A non-fiction book on sharks is forthcoming with Little Toller Books in 2019.

This event is by invitation only. A very limited number of free tickets may be available by request. Please email aki@literaryconsultancy.co.uk to enquire

The post Women Poets’ Prize to Launch at Second Home Festival appeared first on The Literary Consultancy.

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PRESS RELEASE 21ST MAY 2018 

The Literary Consultancy (TLC) is excited to announce the establishment of the Rebecca Swift Foundation, an independent grant-making foundation set up in memory of Rebecca Swift. A much-loved editor, novelist, diarist, and poet, Rebecca was the founder of TLC, working for over two decades as its director from its creation in 1996 until her early death in April last year.

Overseen by a board of Trustees who held Rebecca dear, with the support of Project Manager Victoria Adukwei Bulley, the formation of the Rebecca Swift Foundation also arrives with the creation of a new poetry award and mentorship programme the Women Poets’ Prize.

As a biennial award, the Women Poets’ Prize will seek to honour Rebecca’s two key passions: poetry and the empowerment of women. The Prize will offer three female-identifying poets a programme of support and creative professional development opportunities in collaboration with seven partner organisations: Faber and Faber, Bath Spa University, The Literary Consultancy, RADA, City Lit, Verve Festival, and The Poetry School.

Each winner of the Women Poets’ Prize will be carefully matched with a poetry mentor in addition to a pastoral coach, facilitating a body of support that will nurture craft and wellbeing in equal measure. The three winners will also each receive a monetary award of £1,000.


The Foundation and the Women Poets’ Prize will be announced formally at the Second Home Poetry Festival on Saturday 9th June.

Applications for the Women Poets’ Prize will open on 9th June 2018. The Rebecca Swift Foundation is keen for poets at all career stages to apply, with a particular eye for applications from individuals who do not usually consider applying for prizes. A shortlist will be announced in Autumn 2018.

The Rebecca Swift Foundation is a UK registered charity, charity number 1177863.

www.rebeccaswiftfoundation.org

For all media enquiries please contact Fiona McMorrough and Daniel Kramb at FMcM Associates on 0207 405 7422 or fionam@fmcm.co.uk, danielk@fmcm.co.uk

The post Announcing the Rebecca Swift Foundation and Women Poets’ Prize appeared first on The Literary Consultancy.

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TLC is delighted to be taking part in the inaugural event for the Society of Young Publishers‘ ‘SYP Wider’ initiative. Following on from the success of our ‘Get a Job in Publishing’ course with the Book Skills Collective, we are very pleased to have the opportunity to talk to some of the themes arising from the course, from #BookJobTransparency to the importance of representation in the publishing workforce to ensure greater inclusivity in what is commissioned and published. This is also an opportunity to hear about organisations like TLC, the Publishers’ Association, and London Book Fair, who are working to support writers in ways that run parallel to traditional publishing house structures. There are many ways in, and we look forward to discussing what the wider world of publishing looks like.

Tickets

Tickets are available here.

Event Blurb

On 17th May from 6.30pm at The Bunch of Grapes SYP will host an exciting panel on the wider world of publishing. The panel will kick off at 7pm, followed by a Q&A session and casual networking afterwards. Tweet your thoughts from the panel by using our hashtag #SYPWider to help others follow along from afar.

Our expert panelists will be representing some of the most influential and exciting organisations and professions outside of a traditional publishing house. We will discuss how these organisations help shape UK publishing culture and discourse, and will explore how trends such as the rise of digital publishing, self-publishing and even Brexit are affecting their corners of the industry. Our panelists will offer different perspectives on the publishing, literature and literary values. This event is a great opportunity to learn about the industry and approach many topical debates from a fresh angle.

Speakers

The post TLC at SYP Wider appeared first on The Literary Consultancy.

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A writer is someone who writes something, it’s as simple as that. Of course there are many different kinds of writers – e.g. news writers, script writers, speech writers, novelists, travel writers, poets, joke writers, bloggers, etc – but you don’t have to make money from your writing to be a writer. Yet on a regular basis, I hear people say:

“I write, but I’m not qualified or published, so I wouldn’t say I was a writer,”

Actually, this reminds me of me and I think what we really mean is,

“I don’t believe I have the right qualifications…Why would anyone want to listen to what I have to say?…I’m scared of rejection.”

So what are these qualifications?

If affordable, some writers choose to do a creative writing course or workshop: Some are well-taught, giving the writer purpose, perspective and techniques, as well as feedback, highlighting the things they are doing well or not so well, how to improve and sometimes even giving advice on how to approach literary agents. But I don’t think everyone needs to do a writing course and anyway, many writers can’t afford them and some courses are poorly run. But what we do need is a fairly good understanding of the language we are going to write in (though again, that doesn’t mean you need a qualification in that language) and a copy of The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook or the Children’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, which give a wealth of information on publishers, literary agents and advice from authors.

There is an important qualification we all have and that’s our knowledge, acquired through life experiences: Relationships with people (friends, family, teachers, work colleagues & even strangers), religion, school, work, health, where you live, death, travel, food, sport, clubs, museums, cinema, TV, hobbies, socialising, reading (social media, books, newspapers, magazines…) and so on.

True wisdom is knowing what to believe in and act on.

Our brains try to filter the information that we’re bombarded with throughout our lives and in this process, we realise not all knowledge is good and not all knowledge is correct – i.e. fake news. We try and sift through new information and experiences, using our past knowledge, past experiences & common sense to form an opinion, as well as listening to others we may trust. Yet have you ever noticed that, despite having the same upbringing, being brought up in the same house and sharing the same DNA, people can sometimes have a completely different opinion? Just look at the numerous stories of people falling out with their family or partner, because they voted for Brexit or Remain, Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton and so on. True wisdom is knowing what to believe in and act on.

The most important thing of all is having a passion to write, as this energy feeds through to your writing. If we do not care about getting paid for our work, or getting published (unless you are self-publishing of course), then we can just enjoy writing as a hobby. But, like myself, I know many who do still want to get published by a ‘traditional publisher’ and paid for their work, which leads many of us to a fear of rejection: we lack confidence, wondering if a literary agent or publisher would enjoy our work and try to think of ways to stand out from the masses. Of course, your work does have to be marketable, but it also depends on who reads it, which is why it’s important to send your work to the right person for you.

The most important thing of all is having a passion to write, as this energy feeds through to your writing.

For example, some critics say that if something is not complex and doesn’t push you hard, then it’s poor writing. I disagree with that. Time changes perception. Take Shakespeare: his plays were written for the masses of working classes, not for those studying English Literature at A Level or University. I had to study Shakespeare, along with Emily Dickinson & WB Yeats for A level English Literature, and was bored to tears. Yet I chose to do this course because I loved reading and at the time I remember thinking “Is all literature for adults this boring? Will I have to continue to read children’s books for life?” The person who set my A Level course had very specific tastes but thankfully, they did not put me off reading. In fact I’m still an avid reader, enjoying books that have a natural flow, where the writer makes it seem like it was easy to write. It doesn’t have to be really easy to read; there’s that balance that allows the reader to grow with the story or main protagonist. The fact is, what we enjoy is based on what we relate to, like music. So now, as a Primary teacher, during free time, when a reluctant reader wants to read a comic instead of a book, I am happy with that.

To be a good writer, I think you need:

  1. A natural passion for writing.
  2. Knowledge of the language you are writing in and who you are writing your story for (using the left side of your brain)
  3. Creative ideas & emotions for your story (using the right side of your brain).

There are steps we can take to perfect our art and get support, without having to pay a lot, such as:

  1. Reading lots of good writing, in the area we wish to pursue (in my case, MG/YA novels).
  2. Through trial and error – try, try and try again!
  3. By reading books, magazines and internet articles about grammar, perspective, creative writing exercises, techniques, etc.
  4. Joining a book club, to discuss books.
  5. Joining a writers’ group, for giving and receiving support and ideas. I’m a member of The Hatchery Writers’ in Hove and find it useful and fun.
  6. Joining your local writing development agency: Mine is NWS (New Writing South, https://www.newwritingsouth.com/) which costs £20 a year and you get quite a lot for your money. I’ve been to a few of their fun and informative events and where you often have a couple of drinks and some nibbles: At my first meeting, an author spoke of her writing journey and then we did some practical writing exercises. The second meeting was where I got to mix with other BAME writers and discuss ideas. At the third meeting, The British Council spoke to us about the opportunities they may provide for writers. I also won a TLC Free Read via a NWS competition, which meant my book was read by a literary agent, from whom I then received a useful and encouraging 14-page report, on how to improve my book.

I’ve have doubted myself a lot in the past, but I’ve recently decided that I am a writer because I write…and I’ll call myself an author once I’m published.

Happy writing everyone!

The post How Do You Know if You’re a Writer? appeared first on The Literary Consultancy.

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We are delighted that highly acclaimed novelist Winnie M Li will be joining our roster of speakers at Writers’ Day 2018. Winnie will be appearing as a special guest speaker, reading from her debut novel Dark Chapter which was submitted to TLC in early draft form as part of our Arts Council England-funded Free Reads scheme. The book has won wide coverage and a number of accolades, most recently being shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and winning the Guardian-run Not the Booker Prize 2017. Selected as a Stylist Magazine ‘debut to look out for’, the novel is an astonishing and unique text inspired by the author’s own story of abuse. In the book, which is pacily written and cleverly constructed, Vivian is a cosmopolitan Taiwanese-American tourist who often escapes her busy life in London through adventure and travel. Johnny is a 15-year-old Irish teenager, living a neglected life on the margins of society.  On a bright spring afternoon in West Belfast, their paths collide during a horrifying act of violence. In the aftermath, each is forced to confront the chain of events that led to the attack.

Inspired by true events, this is a story of the dark chapters and chance encounters that can irrevocably determine the shape of our lives. We are thrilled that Winnie will be joining us to read and copies of the book will be on sale for signing by the author.

For a look at the full Writers’ Day programme including the TLC Pen Factor Writing Competition with £1,000 of prizes, please click here. You can buy a ticket directly from the event page, or by calling the box office on 020 7324 2570.

Praise for Dark Chapter

‘An important and moving book’ Cathy Rentzenbrink

‘Complex and rewarding… an important book’-Stylist

‘Dark Chapter is a must-read. It’s gripping, compelling and all the more authentic for inhabiting both voices so completely. Stunning.’ Erin Kelly

‘An authentic, courageous debut, told with unflinching honesty and exceptional insight.’ A.D. Garret

‘A powerful story, compassionately told.’Ros Barber, winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize and The Author’s Club First Novel Award

‘An accomplished debut, an honest and unsparing story.’ Cath Staincliffe

‘I have never found myself rooting for a heroine with more urgency’ Kate Rhodes

‘Deftly written, pacey and unflinching, I could not put it down. Winnie Li is a rare talent with an explosive and timely story. Do not miss it.’ Marti Leimbach, best-selling author of Dying Young and Daniel Isn’t Talking

About the Author 

Winnie M Li is a writer and producer, who has worked in the creative industries on three continents.  A Harvard graduate, she has written for travel guide books, produced independent feature films, programmed for film festivals, and developed eco-tourism projects. After graduating with Distinction in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths (where she was shortlisted for the Pat Kavanagh Prize 2015), she now currently writes across a range of media (including a column for The Huffington Post), runs arts festivals, and is a PhD researcher in Media and Communications at the London School of Economics. She lives in London yet is somewhat addicted to travel. Dark Chapter is her first novel.

The post TLC Writers’ Day Special Guest Announced: Winnie M Li appeared first on The Literary Consultancy.

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The Literary Consultancy is delighted to announce that our Director Aki Schilz has been named as one of the #FutureBook40, the first list of its kind acknowledging the work of publishing innovators working in the UK today. We are thrilled that Aki joins a list of illustrious peers all making interesting and important contributions to discussion around the future of literature, writing, reading, and storytelling practices across publishing, tech, and beyond. About Aki’s nomination, the FutureBook40 team said:

“After stepping into founder Becky Swift’s shoes last year, Schilz has proved herself a worthy successor and tireless champion for writers, literature and literary values—from empowering Open Access events to her #BookJobTransparency campaign.”

#FutureBook40 is sponsored by Kortext, and the brainchild of FutureBook associate editor Molly Flatt.

Our congratulations to the 40 listed innovators, with a special nod to part-time TLC Marketing and Development Officer Crystal Mahey-Morgan for her contributions through her transmedia storytelling brand, OWNIT.

To see the full list, click here.

The official announcement of the final 40 can be found here.

The post TLC Director Aki Schilz Named in the #FutureBook40 appeared first on The Literary Consultancy.

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Since 2012, TLC has run the TLC Pen Factor Writing Competition to find talented writers and give them the opportunity to pitch their work live to industry guests and an audience of fellow writers at our annual Writers’ Day. This year’s competition will see a shortlist of five finalists given the opportunity to pitch their work to a panel of literary agents and publishers. We are very pleased to welcome as our 2018 live pitch judges literary agent Robert Caskie (Caskie Mushens), literary agent Niki Chang (Aitken Alexander), literary agent Zoë King (The Blair Partnership) and editor and publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove (Dialogue Books).

Buy a ticket to Writers’ Day now

Previous TLC Pen Factor winners and shortlisted writers have gone on to be shortlisted for the Costa Prize (Guinevere Glasfurd, TLC Pen Factor 2014, The Words In My Hand), longlisted for the OCM Bocas (Fawzia Kane, TLC Pen Factor 2012, Tantie Diablesse) and selected as WH Smith Fresh Pick (Piers Alexander, TLC Pen Factor 2013, The Bitter Trade).

We are delighted to announce this year’s prize package, worth over £1,000, thanks to the generosity of our TLC Pen Factor partners:

Spread the Word – 1 Year Membership to ‘London Writers’ Network’. Benefits include discounts on workshops, events and masterclasses and networking events. (worth £25)

Royal Society of Literature – 1 Year Membership to Royal Society of Literature. Benefits include free attendance to all RSL events, subscription to members magazine and an invitation to RSL’s Summer Party. (worth £50)

Urban Writers Retreat – One-day weekend retreat in London, in a bright studio space with fellow writers. No distractions, and time to focus. Lunch provided. (£45)

Head and Heart – 1.5 hour consultation to take you through the practicalities of book production, design and printing processes with publishing expert Lucy Llewellyn. (£112.50)

Headline – Lunch with editor Mary-Anne Harrington to talk about your work

National Book Token (£50)

Writers & Artists Yearbook – A copy of the 2018 directory (£17)

TLC – Full Manuscript Assessment (£500 approx), attendance at an industry day with an agent and publisher, and an online showcase of your writing

How to apply

The TLC Pen Factor Competition is open exclusively to TLC Writers’ Day ticket-holders and can only be entered after you have booked your ticket here.  Full details will also be sent by email to you.

To enter, please email info@literaryconsultancy.co.uk using the subject header ‘TLC Pen Factor 2018’ including:

–          Your event booking reference

–          Full name, email address, and telephone number

–          Brief biography

And the following as attachments:

–          Up to 2,000 words from the opening of your manuscript (fiction/narrative non-fiction)

–          One-page synopsis

–          Pitch letter addressed ‘Dear Publisher/Agent’

All entries must be submitted in full by no later than 12pm (midday) Monday June 4th.

Eligibility and Submission Guidelines

1) The work entered must be an original work of full-length fiction or narrative non-fiction, in English. All genres are permitted. No short stories, poetry, or early reader books, please.

2) The work cannot have been previously published by an advance-paying publisher (i.e a publisher who pays you an advance to publish your work)

3) You must be a TLC Writers’ Day ticket-holder and able to attend the Writers’ Day on June 23rd in order to enter your work to this competition

4) The judges’ decision re: longlist, shortlist and the overall winner is final

Introducing the TLC Pen Factor 2018 Judges 

Robert Caskie, Director at Caskie Mushens

Until recently Robert Caskie was a senior Agent and COO at Peters Fraser and Dunlop. He joined the agency in 2008 after two years at MacFarlane Chard Associates and six years at Capel & Land Ltd where he developed and expanded his list of bestselling and award winning writers of fiction, non-fiction and journalism. His  clients have included Sarah Winman, Ruby Wax, Celia Imrie, Rev Richard Coles, Julie Burchill, Simon Schama, Monty Don and Mariella Frostrup. In 2015, Robert founded and launched a digital publishing company, ipsobooks, within the PFD group, publishing 40 books in the first year. Before becoming a literary agent Robert worked in film PR in New York and was a founding partner in the 1990s of euphorium restaurant and bakery in Islington.

Niki Chang, literary agent, Aitken Alexander

Niki Chang joined Aitken Alexander Associates in 2015 and works closely with Clare Alexander and her authors, having previously worked in the film & TV department. Niki is building a client list of her own and is looking for fiction and non-fiction. She is interested in brilliant storytelling, great writing and diverse voices and places. Fiction she has recently enjoyed includes The Lucky Ones by Julianne Pachico, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and anything by Junot Díaz. In terms of non-fiction, she is currently engrossed in Evicted by Matthew Desmond as well as several cookbooks. Niki also handles the agency’s audio.

Zoë King, Senior Agent and Partner, The Blair Partnership

Zoë heads up the agency team at Blair Partnership and represents a wide range of writers and creatives. She also works with Neil Blair, Founding Partner of The Blair Partnership and Chairman of Pottermore, on J.K. Rowling’s new commercial publishing activity. Before joining the company, Zoë worked at the Christopher Little and Darley Anderson agencies representing bestselling and debut writers, and developing new talent.

Sharmaine Lovegrove, Publisher at Dialogue Books

Sharmaine Lovegrove is the publisher at Dialogue Books, a new Little, Brown imprint that aims to showcase work by writers neglected by traditional British publishing. Sharmaine has previously run a bookshop in Berlin, been literary editor of ELLE Magazine and co-founded Dialogue Scouts, a consulting company that looks for books to be adapted for film and television.

The post TLC Pen Factor 2018 Prizes Announced appeared first on The Literary Consultancy.

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I am in my early days of my writing, so you are not looking at someone who is a seasoned professional.

I’ll tell you what I am.

I am a quick learner; I chat and make contact very quickly. I am acquisitive of information, always reading, thinking and noticing. In a way, I am always working. What I thought was not possible has turned out to be something rather different. Not easy exactly, but more accessible than I had managed. And I seem to have written a good deal.

In late summer 2015 I sat at the kitchen table and started typing a question. That question became the first line of an autobiographical novel. That first book was published in March 2017. I realise now that twenty months from first line to publication is a bit of a clip, but didn’t know it then because I was so naive. I do think, for what it’s worth, that naivety is underrated. My second book comes out this summer (2018), the third is placed for 2020, and the fourth is going straight to an agent and I want you to cross everything here. I am also pitching something non-fiction collaboratively with a much finer writer than I (if she reads this; don’t argue) and working on pre-publicity for the second book. At last count I have also published two poems, a very short memoir, reviews, features, guest blogs, short stories, and creative non-fiction. Flash fiction is on its way. I think in all I’ve published twenty or so pieces across journals and magazines, web and print. I’m quietly increasing my stock; my ‘profile’. No-one told me to do this. Again, it’s that naivety. I just thought, ‘Give it a go,’ rocked up and started pitching. And it worked. I also found time in that period for some rejections, lost manuscripts, and serious faffing about when second and third books were written to time for someone who then rejected them with a form letter and didn’t invite me to send further work. That set me back – time-wise, mood-wise – but I’m tougher now. And I realise the passion I felt for one of my rejected projects obscured the paucity of its quality. Or marketability. The fact I had no adequate platform. Cave scriptor.

None of this is my day job.

I worry that someone might read what I’ve written and react thusly: ‘Why can’t I get more done?’ Well, that would have been me thinking that a couple of years ago, so let me add the caveat that I am setting down on paper my process only to suggest, because I believe it, that you are always capable of doing more than you think you are. I started late because I lacked so much confidence to begin with and it’s always a battle.

So here’s me.

I’ve got three kids and I’m doing KS1 to GCSE year here. I am obliged to do the reading, key words and costume-making that goes with the young school age child; I have to be about for my eldest because have you seen how much stress young people are under with the new strengthened GCSE and all the anxiety engendered by all those (I quote) ‘old gits’ who have foisted Brexit on them? Moreover my other son is dyslexic and he needs support with the written elements of the copious homework these young people are set. I have further responsibility for two more teenagers for whom I advocate. I teach 15-20 hours a week so I don’t work full time – must emphasise that – but I also have, on top of teaching, a couple of volunteer activities. We have no family support or help (I’ll come back to this one in a moment), but we do have pets, school runs, DIY, I don’t have a cleaner and someone’s got to fry bacon! THE POINT IS, I haven’t really got time to write much and yet I have found it is possible. Why? How?

Here come the tips:

  1. Work backwards from the outcome (which says WRITE BOOK) and don’t fret so much about how you’re going to get there. I was like that with birth plans. ‘Do you want to make a birth plan?’ they said, as my cohort swept by with laminated babykins spreadsheets. ‘Yes,’ said I and wrote, ‘Have baby.’
  2. Maximise and value the time you have. If I have a burst of energy, I will write a big block but I may do little or nothing in terms of words on a page the next day and I’ve learned not to berate myself for that.
  3. Being a writer is just as much about writing as it is reading – in bed, in the bath, during the hour on a car trip in which you annotate interesting bits in other books you might want to use or refer to in yours.
  4. Stretch your arms out to all the wonderful writers and publishers out there. I did, and I have found that my anxiety and self doubt have decreased. And when they appear, I have got much better at self care and treating myself gently.
  5. Remember, there are elements you simply cannot control. Reviews; sales; visibility of your book; a sick kid; life stuff.

Let’s get into a bit more detail about how you can start actually implementing these tips:

  1. Get excited about your idea and start scrawling away on a bit of paper. Bit of planning; whatever works for you. Plan meticulously, or just start writing. I do a mixture of both. And I read, read, read. I no longer worry about the journey. I visualise this book. Pockets of work occur. 5.30 one morning; hiding in the shed; scribbling in a notebook on the bus. If you were to write just a little every day, or manage a few bursts over a week, with thinking and mulling time in between and keep at it, at some point a first draft of a book is going to emerge. And then, with your Frankendraft, your shit first draft, comes the real EEEK. No: don’t be scared, because look what you did! You made a thing. You have something to work with. Don’t wait for ideal conditions. Don’t hang around waiting for your muse to descend. When you have more time, more money, some sort of garden studio or workshop. Or a perfect burst of inspiration. I write on a laptop at the kitchen table. Neighbours come in because they’ve run out of tea; kids ransack cupboards. Find what you need, of course, but don’t assume you need a writerly tower. I find now that I can have the oven on, the kids hollering, ‘Mum have you seen…?’, a cat in my lap or possibly a fight and a small explosion next to me. I could have waited for quieter times, but working as I do, imperfectly, with not much time, forces the words on to the page. The writer and lawyer Anna Mazzola just said on Twitter, under the heading Tips for building up writing confidence: 1. Set a target or deadline so you have to write despite self doubt. Yes – that works too. I promise you.
  2. One week I wrote about 50 words; another week I wrote 30,000. Yep. Trust in yourself, I say. This can happen. Drought and downpour. I like the tag started by writer and academic Jenn Ashworth on Twitter, #100daysofwriting. It’s not a hardcore thing, but a gentle supportive nudge, hug, whatever. It asks, ‘how did you get on, love?’ It’s not a sprint, after all. It is possible to be stimulated and comforted at the same time. If you’re feeling negative and exhausted you could take a break, but suck it and see. Suddenly energised by an idea in the early hours? You could always…get up very early and write and just be a bit knackered for the rest of the day. Have a notebook with you AT ALL TIMES.
  3. Value your work. Trust in it. And in your ability to solve problems and force through a line of plot or, better still, have it mend serendipitously in front of your very eyes. As I was saying, yesterday I had a car trip and a book. I was underlining lines of 17th-century poetry which are related to what I’m covering in my fourth book. Now, potentially, this book is a source of anxiety because I have taken on a massive subject. And yet…just that little bit of reading and pondering yesterday and I began to see things coalesce; join up behind my eyes. Productive work, then. When the kids went off for ice cream, I snatched back twenty minutes and looked over what I had underlined, saw also a footnote and, in a flash, realised that I had begun to solve the dilemma in this book – which is essentially one of dates and geography. You need to have faith that these kinds of things, eyes open, will happen. You are just as much at work in a bubble bath, mulling over ideas, as you are typing away, foaming at the mouth. I stand by that, anyway.
  4. Right then. Self doubt. Anxiety. Really, 1, 2 and 3 all stem from management of such. I have a messy background. You can read about that in my first book, if you want. Albert Camus was my imaginary best friend. Yep. I was not raised to value myself or my activity; I was raised to think of myself of an abhorrence. I am sorry to be so frank, but the NHS and I have spent a lot of time hanging out and it might help someone reading this to think, ‘That’s me. I battle; I battled. I’ll never be free of this.’ I am here to tell you that perhaps you will, but even if not, reach out and press on.

When Aki Schilz, TLC’s Director, was asking for sponsored tickets for this big Get a Job in Publishing Event, I wanted to sponsor one and said that, if it were possible, I’d love to sponsor a ticket for someone who was coping with mental health problems and who also, perhaps, had responsibilities as a carer, because I manage the former and was the latter through my teens. I know what it is to have your creativity and working life abrupted by really difficult stuff and also face stigma because of it. This is, incidentally, why I didn’t start writing earlier. Because I thought it was for other people. It isn’t. It’s for you. I decided it was for me. I took up my monsters and deployed them. I made them work for me and I insisted that I had a ball of energy to burn in the process. You can do the same. If you get told you are the wrong, age, colour, class, push back. Push back. A few minutes on Twitter will show you the wonderful people who are doing just that.

Once you start getting involved in social media chat about writing, talking to people, offering to do the odd free piece of work (go careful that you don’t exhaust yourself, though), you’ll find that confidence increases. Fake confidence if you don’t have it. Really. Be kind to yourself. I’ve found the camaraderie around the small presses is very rewarding; likewise, you can make or join a writers’ group or simply let your tribe (yes: you’ve got to have a tribe) evolve through Twitter. I could embarrass a lot of people here by naming them, but essentially find people in your immediate community and your virtual one who cheerlead and understand and give it back to them in spades.

Look at this from new writer Mandy Preville-Findlay just now: The one thing you have all taught me since starting out last year is to trust my gut. If the desire is there to write, don’t suppress it, just let it flow. Anything written down is a start.  We have chatted together on Twitter about projects. It just evolved naturally.

            This is so important I think echoed Hayley Webster, very established writer and one of the kindest voices you could hope to hear. She goes on, Have a person/people who know and trust your work, and who you feel the same about… and don’t be afraid to ask for reassurance, or keep reminding each other to keep going.

Carmen Marcus, currently doing a sterling job in encouraging the voices of working class writers, adds, After various arguments with myself about what might work, what I’m allowed to do, what other writers have done, I remind myself that I don’t need permission. And there’s jolly Molly Aitken: Nothing’s better at quieting doubt than my fabulous writers’ group. We cheer each other on to keep writing and keep showing up. Fran Harvey tells me that, It’s intensely frustrating, during confident times, to look at all the ways I’ve undermined myself through self-doubt. Never been able to manage it, except to grab opportunities when I DO feel confident & refuse to renege on them when the doubt returns.

Teika Bellamy is both writer and publisher and she says, Continuing to show up to ‘do the work’ day in day out is a good way to put the self-doubt on mute. Also, a trusted supporter and/or knowledgeable mentor can make the world of difference and then my own raven-haired twinion, author and academic Heidi James writes, I give myself permission to make a mess… that I can’t edit/rewrite what isn’t there; so make a mess. Play… and gag that spiteful internal critic!

            Do some nice stuff for other people – tweet about their projects, get involved if you have a little time. For me, this has meant writing reviews of projects I wanted to champion both for their excellence but also their humanity, their kindness. I started a creative writing bursary; I have a work experience student; I’ve contributed to Kickstarter projects. This energy: keep it moving. It buoys you up, protects and nourishes you – your creativity and your mental health – and it does the same for those around you. I did not think that publishers would take me on, talk to me; that agents would ask me over for coffee. But why not? By the same token, I have learned by hard experience that some people are, for whatever reason, really negative. ‘You won’t have time.’ ‘You’ll never get that done.’ IN YOUR FACE, say I (now that I can say that!) That negative voice might, I’m afraid, turn out to be your publisher. It might come from your mates. I mean, my own extended family refer to my work only as my ‘ramblings.’ But that’s why you need the tribe I mentioned. You have to refuse to let the negative voice be coming from you. Too old. Too young. Not educated enough. Nonsense. Whose is that voice in your head saying you can’t?  Is it your own?

And finally, while we are talking about managing self doubt and quelling panic, I think there’s a case to be made for not eliminating self doubt altogether. Because what kind of writer would that make you, if you didn’t feel doubt, if you were too sure? It’s a bit Trumpian. Being too sure, too certain, is ignorant and it destroys stuff. Self doubt is also a brake and cause for reflection. Sometimes, it’s necessary. It’s just important – very important – to remember not to let it become corrosive.

The post Managing Self-doubt: How to Write a Book When You Don’t Have Time appeared first on The Literary Consultancy.

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CODE and NGC Bocas Lit Fest are thrilled to announce the finalists for the 5th Annual CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature. This year’s finalists were selected from over 30 submissions of both published books and unpublished manuscripts from around the Caribbean.

TLC is delighted that among the three finalists is Elizabeth J Jones, whose manuscript was assessed by TLC reader, award-winning YA novelist and editor CJ Flood.

In alphabetical order by title, the three 2018 finalists are:

  • A Dark Iris by Elizabeth J. Jones, Bermuda — manuscript
  • My Fishy Stepmom by Shakirah Bourne, Barbados — manuscript
  • The Dark of the Sea by Imam Baksh, Guyana — manuscript

The winner will be announced on 25 April 2018 at the opening night celebration of the 2018 NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

This year, the creator of the winning book will be awarded $10,000 CDN. The two other finalists will be awarded $2,000 CDN each. In addition, publishers of all three books will each be granted a guaranteed purchase of a minimum 2,000 copies.

For more details on the finalists and to read the full announcement, click here.

The post TLC Client Elizabeth J Jones Makes the Burt Award for Caribbean YA Literature appeared first on The Literary Consultancy.

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In April TLC will host a two-day ‘Get a Job in Publishing’ course.  The course, designed by The Book Skills Collective, will offer up-to-date and authoritative insider information from three senior publishing leaders and a range of inspiring industry speakers looking at topics including How a Book Gets Published, What a Financially Successful Book Looks Like, and sessions looking at each of publishing’s key departments in detail (Editorial, Publicity, Marketing, Sales, Rights, and Production and Design).

Tickets are still available to book here. On the event page you can also find full details of sponsored tickets currently open for applications.

This event will be BSL-interpreted and the venue, Free Word Centre, is fully wheelchair-accessible.

TLC would like to thank the following sponsors who are helping us to open up the remit of this course and invite in a range of brilliant aspiring publishers who otherwise would not have been able to attend the course. Here’s a little about our sponsors.

AM HEATH 

In 2019, the A M Heath literary agency will celebrate its 100th Anniversary. 100 years of agenting some of the world’s leading and bestselling literary figures, finding talent and fostering careers across all media, from print to digital and dramatic, book, film, TV and stage. Our agency list ranges from the most iconic authors of the 20th Century – George Orwell, Winston Graham, Noel Streatfield, Anita Brookner, Flann O’Brien, John McGahern, Shirley Jackson – to the top ranks of literary and commercial success today – Katie Fforde, Conn Iggulden, Maggie O’Farrell and Hilary Mantel to name a few. Our agency’s nonfiction list contains world-class historians, cutting-edge journalists, prize-winning biographers, leading scientists, and experts and entertainers in countless fields. Our agency’s children’s list covers beloved classics and the very best contemporary writing for all ages of younger readers – from picture books to Young Adult. Founded by two pioneering women in 1919, we remain a bold and dynamic company. Our literary agents work closely together to ensure that we cover all areas of the publishing business. Each of our authors benefits from the shared expertise of our tight-knit and supportive team. At the A M Heath literary agency, we pride ourselves on spotting talent and growing our authors’ careers to their full potential.

ANNA AND NED VAUGHT 

Born in Somerset of a large Welsh family, Anna Vaught is, on one hand, a novelist, editor, poet, flash fiction writer, reviewer; on the other, a secondary English  teacher, one to one tutor and mentor, mental health advocate and campaigner and mum to a large brood. Her books are Killing Hapless Ally (2016) and The Life of Almost (out August 2018 – both Patrician Press), Saving Lucia (Bluemoose, 2020) and she’s both writing her fourth novel, The Hollows,working on some collaborative non-fiction, and writing features, reviews, poems and short fiction for Losslit, Visual Verse, The Shadow Booth, Writers and Artists, Review31 and Contemporary Small Press. She’s  a great champion of the small presses, a polyglot and reads about three books a week. She was educated at the universities of Cambridge and Bristol and holds a BA and MA in English.

Ned Vaught is from Atlanta Georgia and met Anna on a flooded street in Kolkata when he asked her for directions. Both have worked and travelled all over the world. Ned now runs his own company, Imp Communications, a PR and Communications firm with a diverse portfolio ranging from Sir Bobby Charlton’s Find a Better Way landmine charity to innovative tech firms. Ned is also a bookworm, an Oblate attached to an Anglican Benedictine monastery and in a previous incarnation played a small but memorable role in a cult Chinese-language comedy.

The Anna and Ned Vaught Ticket went to Eloise Nic an Airchinnigh 

ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND 

We believe that great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better.

We champion, develop and invest in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections.

Between 2015 and 2018, we will invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create art and culture experiences for everyone, everywhere.

The Arts Council Ticket went to Daisy May 

BLUEMOOSE BOOKS 

Bluemoose Books is an independent publisher based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Kevin and Hetha Duffy started Bluemoose in 2006 and as a ‘family’ of readers and writers we’re passionate about the written word and stories. Stories are transformative and as publishers we delight in finding great new talent. BEASTINGS by Benjamin Myers won the £10,000 PORTICO LITERATURE Prize 2015 and was also short listed for The Jerwood Fiction Prize 2015. BEASTINGS also won The Northern Writers Award for 2014. Ben won The Tom Gallon Prize 2014 awarded by the Society of Authors.PIG IRON by Benjamin Myers won the inaugural GORDON BURN PRIZE 2013. KING CROW by Michael Stewart won the Guardian’s NOT THE BOOKER in 2011 and was a recommended read for WORLD BOOK DAY 2012. NOD by Adrian Barnes was long listed for The Commonwealth Writers Prize 2013 and was short listed for Europe’s biggest S/F prize The CLARKE AWARD 2013. We have sold the foreign rights to three of our books to Russian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Turkish and American publishers. NOD by Adrian Barnes will be published in North America on September 1st 2015. IF YOU LOOK FOR ME, I AM NOT HERE by Sarayu Srivatsa, when published in India was longlisted for The Asia Man Booker. THE SECRET TO NOT DROWNING by Colette Snowden was one of six titles to be chosen for BRAVE NEW READS 2016.There are some great reviews of all our books on this site, so I do hope you get a chance to read them. Each and every book is scrubbed and polished until it shines and is then sent out with love and pride… and from the feedback we’re getting, it seems our readers like our books too.

The Bluemoose Tickets went to Lok Yee Liu and Becky Boxx 

CASKIE MUSHENS 

Caskie Mushens is a literary agency founded by Robert Caskie and Juliet Mushens and based in London’s Soho. Their diverse list of clients spans New York Times bestsellers, Sunday Times bestsellers, columnists, actors and brands. They are actively seeking new writers. Caskie Mushens is a member of the Association of Authors’ Agents.

The Caskie Mushens Ticket is under consideration 

CLAYS

For over 200 years Clays has been producing some of the most well known and best selling books in the UK, providing an invaluable service to a range of publishing clients. Clays specialise in producing monochrome paperbacks and hardbacks in any quantity and to a wide range of sizes. We have the capability to wire-stitch, perfect bind and sew book blocks, finishing the product off with an extensive range of cover and jacket print and finishes.

CURTIS BROWN

Curtis Brown, the UK’s oldest and largest literary and talent agency, represents authors, playwrights, film and television writers and directors, theatre directors and designers, television and radio presenters and actors.

The Curtis Brown Ticket is under consideration 

DANIEL HAHN 

Daniel Hahn is a writer, editor, translator, and long-time fan of The Literary Consultancy. Daniel works with writers, publishers and book festivals, and with a range of organisations that support literature, reading and free expression. Quite a lot of what Daniel does across his many literary involvements has a particular focus either on international writing, translation, or children’s literature. He translates fiction from Portuguese, Spanish and French. He is the founder of the TA First Translation Prize.

The Daniel Hahn Ticket went to Catherine Baum 

DEAD INK TICKET

Dead Ink is a small, ambitious and experimental literary publisher based in Liverpool. Supported by Arts Council England, we’re focussed on developing the careers of new and emerging authors. We believe that there are brilliant authors out there who may not yet be known or commercially viable. We see it as Dead Ink’s job to bring the most challenging and experimental new writing out from the underground and present it to our audience in the most beautiful way possible. Our readers form an integral part of our team. You don’t simply buy a Dead Ink book, you invest in the authors and the books you love. Our books have three times made the shortlist for The Saboteur Awards, the longlists for both The Guardian’s First Book Award and Not the Booker Prize, and the longlist for the Edge Hill Short Story Award.

The Dead Ink Ticket went to Ellen Turner 

EMMA WARD 

Emma Ward has a BA in Creative Writing and will soon graduate from Oxford Brookes with a postgraduate diploma in Publishing Media. She currently works as an Editorial Assistant for Osprey Publishing, which involves an In-House Editor role for Ilios Publishing.

When she’s not writing fan fiction or playing Dungeons & Dragons, Emma can be found tweeting about all things LGBT+ on her Twitter account (@EmmaWard55). She’d like to write about Sapphic knights saving princesses one day, but first she has to stop being distracted by every dog she meets.

The Emma Ward Ticket went to Megan Elliott  

HACHETTE CHILDREN’S GROUP

Hachette Children’s Group is one of the largest children’s publishers in the UK with an excellent track record in creating bestselling and award-winning books for children of all ages and interests. The group comprises the imprints Hodder Children’s Group, Orchard Books, Orion Children’s Books, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Quercus Children’s Books, Pat-a-Cake, Wren & Rook, Franklin Watts and Wayland Books. The Group is also the publisher of Enid Blyton and the owner of Enid Blyton Entertainment. Across its imprints, Hachette Children’s Group publishes a diverse range of books to cater for every child, including picture books, fiction, non-fiction and series and licensed publishing. Their authors, illustrators, series and licensees include: David Almond, Lauren Child, Cressida Cowell, Kes Gray, Jim Field, Nadiya Hussain, Patrice Lawrence, Michael Rosen, Francesca Simon, Alex T. Smith, Piers Torday, Rainbow Magic, My Little Pony and Pokemon.

HARDMAN AND SWAINSON

Founded in 2012, Hardman & Swainson is a dynamic London-based literary agency with a diverse range of clients. We pride ourselves on providing an excellent service to our authors, working closely with them at all stages of their careers. We have an international focus and make it a priority to sell our clients’ work in as many territories as possible. The agency represents quality writing of all kinds and we welcome submissions and queries from new and established writers. We are a member of the Association of Authors’ Agents.

JACARANDA BOOKS ART MUSIC 

Jacaranda Books Art Music Ltd is an independent publishing house based in London. We publish adult fiction and non-fiction, including illustrated books, which cross linguistic, racial, gender and cultural boundaries – books in many ways as cosmopolitan as our city. Through our authors and books, we aim to represent the cultural and ethnic diversity and heritage that can be found in London, with a particular interest in works related to Africa, the Caribbean, and the experiences of those peoples in the Diaspora. We also seek provocative, inspirational writing that shines a light on issues affecting ethnic minorities, women, and young people, and tackles contemporary social issues. At the heart of our publishing strategy is one core element – a love of outstanding, thought-provoking work. We believe that a wealth of unheard, under-represented voices exist globally and are ready to be discovered. It is our mission to create the space for those voices to be seen and heard by new readers.

The Jacaranda Ticket went to Tia Albert 

JOE SEDGWICK 

Joe Sedgwick is the Editorial Services Officer at The Literary Consultancy. After completing his BA in English Literature from University of Manchester, he worked as a Marketing Assistant for a house building company before leaving to pursue a career in publishing. He is a graduate of the Publishing MA at Kingston University. Joe has also undertaken internships at Palgrave MacMillan and Bloomsbury.

The Joe Sedgwick Ticket went to Amy Barrett 

KATIE RODEN

Katie Roden is a a publishing, marketing and content strategist with 25 years’ industry experience. Katie works with major UK publishers and independents on marketing campaigns, publishing and creative strategies, digital strategy and design challenges. Non-publishing clients include the Premier League, UFC and, most recently, O2, for whom Katie recently acted as Interim Head of Content. Katie is a Google Masterclass trainer and consistently trying to effect change in the recruitment practices of the publishing industry to create wider opportunities for everyone.

The Katie Roden Ticket is under consideration 

KIT DE WAAL 

Kit de Waal was born in Birmingham to an Irish mother, who was a childminder and foster carer, and a Caribbean father. She worked for fifteen years in criminal and family law, was a magistrate for several years and sits on adoption panels. She used to advise Social Services on the care of foster children, and has written training manuals on adoption, foster care and judgecraft for members of the judiciary.  Her writing has received numerous awards including the Bridport Flash Fiction Prize 2014 and 2015 and the SI Leeds Literary Reader’s Choice Prize 2014 and the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year.  MY NAME IS LEON, her first novel was published in 2016. She has two children.

The Kit de Waal Ticket went to George Hewett 

LONDON LITERARY SCOUTING

London Literary Scouting was born from ​a partnership between Koukla MacLehose, Rebecca Servadio and Yolanda Pupo Thompson. Koukla MacLehose founded her eponymous scouting agency in 1987, as the agency grew and flourished in 2012 Koukla founded Koukla MacLehose Associates which then became MacLehose, Servadio and Pupo-Thompson in 2014. We are now known as London Literary Scouting and the agency is led by Rebecca Servadio. As Literary Scouts we are interested in and engaged with storytelling in all its forms. We look for the best fiction and non fiction to be published, or published in English, as well as in other major languages, on behalf of our international Publishing Clients as well as for Film, TV and Theatre. Rather than thinking in ‘global’ terms, as London based scouts we can and do individuate those ‘worldwide voices’ which speak across languages. London is the most international of cities and we read widely and omnivorously. Yes, they might be set in other countries, worlds and cultures, but the challenge is to recognise those singular and particular voices that can cross latitudes and longitudes. Without being defined or pre-occupied by ‘the new’ we help find the authors that will build the bridges to readers today, tomorrow and in the future.

MICHAEL LANGAN  

Michael Langan has worked as an editor, writer, and teacher for over twenty years, currently facilitating writing workshops and courses at various locations in Lisbon, where he lives. He was Programme Leader of Creative Writing at the University of Greenwich from 2002 – 2012, where he specialised in short story writing and the novel. He has a PhD from Liverpool John Moores University in contemporary creative writing and a background in performance poetry and public speaking. His short stories and poetry have been anthologised and published in magazines, journals and online. As Arts Editor of the online LGBT culture journal Polari he wrote about visual arts, film and literature and, in 2016, was a Contributing Editor to the Paris-based Seymour magazine, writing a series of essays about creative process. Michael has a particular interest in contemporary literary fiction as well as historical fiction. His debut novel Shadow is a Colour is out this year with Gallic Books.

The Michael Langan Ticket went to Rhianna Pritchard 

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