PLEASE NOTE THAT THE SCHEME IS CURRENTLY BEING UPDATED. Some details may change.

What does it involve?

Must the novel I write be about ethnic minority characters, or diversity issues?

Can I write a picture book?

How will I benefit from this scheme?

What are the goals of the scheme?

How much does it cost?

Am I eligible?

I’m eligible, but is the scheme suitable for me at this point in my writing life?

When will it run?

What is the closing date for applications?

Where does it take place?

What do I need to do during the scheme?

I would love to apply but am not sure I can afford it.

What are the masterclasses about?

What will happen during the one-to-one sessions?

I’ve applied. Now what happens?

What if I apply and am not selected?

Will you pass my contact details onto others?

I have a question that isn’t answered here. How can I contact Megaphone?

What does it involve?
Over the course of one year, participants write a novel for children or teenagers. They will also:

  • Attend six, one-to-one mentoring sessions with an experienced creative writing tutor, focused on bringing their novel to a publishable standard
  • Receive feedback on their completed novel from at least one top children’s editor at a major publishing house
  • At the end of the year, read from their work at a showcase event in central Birmingham, to which publishers and press will be invited
  • Be professionally filmed reading from their work in a short film promoting their writing, which will be distributed and promoted to the publishing industry.

The scheme costs £300, though full funding is available for participants in financial need. This year funding allowed for  five places available on the scheme. Applications were awarded on merit.

Applicants must be resident in the United Kingdom.

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Must I write about ethnic minority characters, or diversity issues?

Not unless you want to. We want your voice, your individual creativity, your ideas. You can write about whatever you want.

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Can I write a picture book?

No, sorry. We love and value picture books, but the scheme focuses on novels for ages 7 and up.

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How will I benefit from this scheme?

  • You will have sustained support through the  process of writing your first children’s/YA novel
  • You will benefit from the insight and experience of established children’s authors and editors
  • You will be supported by an experienced mentor who will work with you to make your novel as good as it can be
  • You will be guaranteed exposure to the publishing industry and have the opportunity to develop valuable networks and contacts
  • You will be helped to develop the information, insight, networks and skills you will need to sustain a career as a writer of fiction for children or teenagers in the long-term.

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Why do we need this scheme?

With the exception of a few ‘flag-ship’ names, children’s writers from minority ethnic backgrounds are under-represented in British children’s literature. The ultimate goal is of Megaphone is to contribute to changing the landscape of children’s reading in the UK so that children from ethnically diverse backgrounds can see themselves not only as characters in, but also as potential authors of, the books they read. The links on the ABOUT MEGAPHONE page provide more context.

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How much does it cost?
The scheme costs £300. You will not have to pay anything until you have been offered a place on the scheme. Writers in need will be fully supported financially but financial disadvantage is not in itself a criterion for selection.

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Am I eligible?

The scheme is for writers of colour who are resident in the UK and aged 18 +. Writers should self-define their ethnicity; multiple/mixed heritage writers are welcome. We are looking specifically for people from groups that are under-represented as writers for children in Britain, so please bear that in mind. Writers should not have published work for children or young adults before.
We acknowledge that the area of publishing is in flux and that many people are choosing to self-publish. Any previous self-publishing should not be of the nature that it would preclude launching the writer as a debut (in other words, one self-published picture book, ten years ago, that sold fifty copies, would probably be acceptable, but a recently self-published series of YA novels, for example, would be more problematic). Our decision will be led by the goals of the scheme: will this previous self-publishing make it difficult to publish the completed novel successfully? We may consult with the involved editors on this issue.
Writers who are published in other fields (e.g. adult fiction) are welcome to apply. Unpublished writers are equally welcome to apply; the selection is made on the basis of the writing sample and your publishing history (unless you have previously had published a novel for children or young adults) will not be taken into account. Writers should not be currently agented. Note: If you have already agreed with your agent that they will only deal with your adult work and you would be seeking a new agent for any children’s / YA work,  please email us to check eligbility.

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I’m eligible, but is the scheme suitable for me at this point in my writing life?

If you

  • have ideas for a children’s/YA novel you would like to write
  • already spend a lot of time writing for pleasure and manage your time well to make sure you have time to write
  • understand the importance of working to improve your writing
  • enjoy reading contemporary children’s and teenage fiction
  • want to be published and have a career as a children’s/ YA author
  • define yourself as belonging to an ethnic minority group
  • have never had a book for children published before

then the scheme is for you.
You may also

  • have tried writing for children before, but not had it published
  • have expertise in another area of writing, for example drama or poetry, and want to develop your skills in another area

You will probably (though not necessarily)

  • have been writing for some time
  • have experience of sharing your work, for example with a critique group.

If you are still unsure, please contact us via megaphone.write@gmail.com

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When will it run?

We are working on a new scheme for 2020 – more details as soon as we have them!

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What was the closing date for applications to the first scheme?

24th December 2015 – midnight.

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Where does it take place?

We are developing a new scheme which will be mostly or entirely online due to the Covid-19 situation.

 

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What do I need to do during the scheme?

Write a novel! That means you will need to be sure you have time to write – explain how you will manage your time, in your letter of application. You should consider the scheme as a serious commitment.

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I would love to apply but am not sure I can afford it.

The charge to participants of £300 represents only a small fraction of the real cost of a place on the scheme – our funders and in kind supporters make it possible for this scheme to run. Writers who are low income/ on benefits will be fully supported financially but financial disadvantage is not in itself a criterion for selection. If you wish to apply to be considered for full funding, please include this information with your application (see APPLY for details). In the event you are selected we may ask for proof of low income/ benefits.

There is no specific fund to cover travel but we want to ensure that no-one is unable to take up a place due to financial disadvantage, so in the event you are selected to take part and feel the travel will be a significant burden, please discuss this with us. We want to help.

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What are the masterclasses about?

These are writing workshops which will provide plenty of opportunity for you to engage, be creative, ask questions. Each masterclass leader will design a workshop based on their experience.  Publishers and agents will lead sessions focused on their expertise – these will be less about developing your creativity and more about developing your understanding of the publishing industry. We will also draw on what you want to learn and integrate that into the workshops.

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What will happen during the one-to-one sessions?

These sessions will be focused on your novel in progress. You will need to send your mentor a section of your writing at least two weeks before each session, which they will read and discuss with you. The aim of the sessions is to help you discover ways of making your novel as strong and publishable as it can be.

There is a good guide to mentoring and what to expect here, published by the National Associaton of Writers in Education (download it through the link in the bottom right corner, it is a .pdf file): http://www.nawe.co.uk/DB/resources-3/mentoring-a-guide-for-creative-writers.html

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I’ve applied. Now what happens?

You’ll get an automatic response which you should take as evidence of receipt. We anticipate a large volume of applications so sadly we cannot reply to each one individually.

The applications will be longlisted, shortlisted and the  participants selected with the input of editors (see WHO IS INVOLVED). If you are selected, you will be notified by email .  We will discuss your plans for your novel and make arrangements for the mentoring meetings.

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What if I apply and am not selected?

Don’t lose hope. Rejection is part and parcel of a writer’s life; even published writers get rejected. Perseverance is the single most important strength a writer needs. Also, don’t lose touch. We hope to develop a community as the year goes on and create ways of bringing writers and children’s publishers together which can include people at all stages of their writing journey.

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Will you pass my contact details on to others?

No. We never sell or share data. If, for example, an editor wanted to see more of your work, we would contact you and ask for permission to put you in touch with them. We delete all personal information such as contact details as soon as possible.

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I have a question that isn’t answered here. How can I contact Megaphone?

Contact Megaphone by email with questions, suggestions, for information, etc: megaphone.write@gmail.com. Follow us on Twitter @MegaphoneWrite.
Or through the comments box:

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