Next week… on the 9th Feb to be precise… thirteen Undiscovered Voices will become ‘Discovered Voices’. Thirteen unpublished writers are about to launch their careers when they pitch to a room full of Agents and Publishers in London.
How can I be so sure? Well if the past is anything to go by then success is almost assured. From the previous two Undiscovered Voices anthologies in 2008 and 2010, fourteen of the twenty four selected writers are under contract to be published, or are already published, and have been nominated for and won an array of literary prizes including being long-listed for the Carnegie and short-listed for the Blue Peter. Undiscovered Voices, an anthology of selected excerpts of unpublished children’s fiction by members of SCBWI British Isles, is the brainchild of Sara Grant and Sara O’Connor. This year ABBA blogger, Karen Ball, has been part of the organisation for the event.
What qualifies these unpublished writers selected from a long list of 25 to this sort of overnight success? Malcolm Burgess, honorary Chair in 2010 said, Only books try the impossible – only books try to throw a lasso around the moon.
These undiscovered writers are trying to lasso the moon and managing it. They’ll succeed because their work is unexpected and surprising. They are daring and experimental precisely because they have nothing to lose. Being brave is the right attribute for any writer. Being brave as well as innovative is even better. They have done their research. They know what’s out there. The work you’ll find in the anthology isn’t ‘tired’. The voices are fresh, new, vital and truly ‘undiscovered’.
So every success to all thirteen writers next Thursday (and to the illustrators who have been chosen for this year’s anthology as well). And a special dose of success for the story Kalahari… not only is it set in Southern Africa but it happens to be written by my son, David Hofmeyr and his friend Zoë Crookes. Pardon the unsubtle plug!
Malorie Blackman, the honorary chair for 2012 said, ‘Every year I’m amazed and thrilled by the range of stories in this anthology, but I truly believe that this year will prove to be a vintage year. The quality of the writing is outstanding.’
Here's what they are saying about it officially and also on Twitter and Facebook: