What is Megaphone?

Megaphone is a talent development programme for writers of colour in England who are writing for children. In 2021 we’re running online because of the Covid-19 situation. We’re open to applications now – head over to APPLY FOR MEGAPHONE MENTORING .Places cost £300 for a year of support as you write your first novel for children or teenagers, but there are bursaries and flexible payment available for anyone who needs it. Read down for details.

“BEST. WRITERS SCHEME. EVER. Seriously, it’s got me to work hard and push through with my writing.”

– anonymous participant feedback (2017)

The selection process

We’ve got a fantastic line-up of editors from major publishing houses who will be reading the shortlist and helping us select the mentees.

Editors involved:

Stephanie King (Usborne)
Leah James (Scholastic)
Kesia Lupo (Chicken House)
Eishar Kaur (Knights of)
Jasmine Richards (Storymix)

“Megaphone has been an essential instrument in my desire to become a published author. What was once a distant dream looks close to becoming a solid reality.

– anonymous participant feedback (2017)

What do I get if I am successful?

Your £300 fee covers:

1-1 mentoring.

You will be matched with a mentor from among the authors: Leila Rasheed, Danielle Jawando or  Maisie Chan. Each mentee will receive six 1-1 mentoring sessions over the year (starts March 2021, ends March 2022). These focus on the novel you will be writing.  Your mentor will read and feedback on up to 5,000 words for the first fives sessions, and on the full manuscript for the sixth (manuscripts are unlikely to be over 60,000 words although this depends on genre). The first 5 sessions are one hour; the sixth is 1 hour 30 min. So in total, 6 and a half hours of feedback time. You will arrange your sessions directly with your mentor at times to suit both of you.

Small group masterclasses with authors

The group of mentees will meet for masterclasses delivered by some of the best and most exciting children’s and YA authors working today:

Sharna Jackson
Bali Rai
Patrice Lawrence
Dean Atta
Alex Wheatle MBE

Small group masterclasses with experienced publishing professionals / industry focus

Dean Atta will deliver a further workshop on performing your work, drawing on his experience as a performance artist and poet.

Writing West Midlands are delivering a workshop on pitching your work – something previous mentees found really helpful.

Editors’ panel: Rebecca Hill (Usborne), Kesia Lupo (Chicken House), Eishar Kaur (Knights of), Jasmine Richards (StoryMix) , Freya Hardy (Aquila Magazine)

Agents’ panel: Julia Churchill (AM Heath),  Davina Andrew-Lynch (Andlyn), Abi Fellows (The Good Agency)

All masterclasses will be 1.5 hours long, and are likely to run on Saturday mornings, dates tbc.

“(Megaphone)…created a safe community for us to be ourselves, to laugh, to cry and to be confident enough to say ‘I’m having a hard time with this’ when we weren’t feeling things were going right.”

– anonymous participant feedback (2017)

How about if I am not successful?

We’re also including a strand called COMMUNITY so that we can offer some support to everyone who applies.  Everyone who applies to Megaphone mentoring will be offered a place on COMMUNITY. We have 50 spots to fill on a first-come, first-served basis. This is completely free to you – all you have to do is send in a valid application to have this offered to you (after we close to applications, in late Feb 2021). This will also be open to the successful applicants. You can attend as much or as little as you wish.

There’ll be a Facebook group for discussion, but we’re also going to be putting on interviews with writers talking about their craft, and Stephanie King, Commissioning Editor at Usborne, is going to be curating a series of live chats with publishing people. The aim of COMMUNITY is to be a safe, low-pressure place for people of colour to come and get inspired to keep on writing for children – maybe make friends and contacts, too. 2020 has been so difficult for everyone, and we hope the offer of COMMUNITY will encourage people to apply even if they don’t feel totally confident about writing a publishable book in a year.

We’re going to be adding more information to the site over the next few weeks, but for now, the key pages are https://megaphonewrite.com/apply/ and https://megaphonewrite.com/faqs/

Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions, and follow us on @MegaphoneWrite on Twitter.

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