This evening, ‘Writes of Passage’ the new anthology of work from the MA in Writing for Young people is launching at Foyles in Charing Cross, London. I expect that despite the rain falling in London, it’s sweltering and full.
Three years ago, our anthology launched, it was called Making Waves and contained work by nine of us, six of whom have either already, or are about to make it into print.
The course we undertook was intensive. Our course tutor, Julia Green herself a well established writer for teens put us through a rigorous series of exercises, teaching us the benefits of reading as writers, taking criticism and giving it kindly. She taught us to be better writers, she taught us to look properly at what we were doing and what other people were writing, she taught us to support each other. She was ably helped by Steve Voake, Lucy Christopher and Janine Amos. John McLay taught us a publishing module and gave us the ins and outs of the trade, the acquisition process, the necessity of having an agent and tonnes of proofs to read.
Soon after the end of the year, Gill Lewis signed a contract with OUP, to publish Sky Hawk, and then White Dolphin. Our launch came in May the following year. Following Julia’s advice we worked hard to edit the anthology, so that it was perfect. Hard to persuade the college that a launch was necessary, hard to get the cover art right, the invitations right. Then we had to invite the right people, investigate who had moved where and who had arrived to fill their shoes. We became an editorial team, a publicity team, a posting team, researchers and hosts.
And then we waited.
The launch buzzed. We talked and talked and sweated and lost our voices and most of us found agency representation. One of us, found a publisher. Not a penny of the college’s money was wasted, not an ounce of energy. Everybody learned from the experience.
Since that time, from my year alone, published or nearly published:
Gill Lewis. White Dolphin & Sky Hawk – OUP
Sam Gayton. The Snow Merchant – Anderson Press.
Che Golden. The Feral Child – Quercus
Sarah Hammond. The Night Sky in My Head – OUP JULY 2012
Titania Krimpas. Fallen Wings – Meadowside Children’s Books 2013
And little old me – ‘SHRUNK!’ Hot Key Books 2012 and ‘Dear Scarlet’ Nosy Crow 2013