I have just finished making the final shortlist for megaphone. We had sixty-two applications and it has been incredibly difficult to choose the shortlist of ten, knowing that after editors’ input that will have to go down to just five successful applicants.

I really didn’t know what to expect – how many applicants, what standard of writing – and I’ve been amazed, firstly at the high quality of the submissions, secondly at how many people have already made big investments in and sacrifices for their writing, thirdly at how interesting everyone was. I would have liked to give everyone a place if only to meet you all. It was also notable that many people expressed the feeling that Megaphone was a necessary, not just a desirable, project. So many applicants wrote about the sense of being absent from literature as children – locked out of the secret garden –  and the real effects that this had on their developing identity. Many people wanted to write the book that would change things for the child they once were. But most of all, what came through was the joy all applicants took in story-telling and creating worlds (a joy that’s often under-rated, and easily lost).

Megaphone aims to develop five publishable novels for children and young adults over the course of one year. That was always going to mean that some really promising writers were not going to be shortlisted. I’d like to stress that writing matters even if it does not immediately (or ever) result in commercial publication. Communicating with children matters, diverse stories for young people matter, and in the next months I will be looking into ways in which Megaphone can be developed to help more people reach goals that are right for their current stage in their writing life.

What happens now:

I should hear back from the editors and publishers by February 16th and will inform the successful applicants first.  I will then email everyone else. I will let you know if you were on the shortlist and you are welcome to use this fact on a writing CV if you wish. Unfortunately I can’t give feedback on unsuccessful applications, but I stress again – your writing matters and even if you are not successful in this instance, it doesn’t mean you won’t find success with your writing in the future.

  • Thank you again for applying!

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