I entered the BPA First Novel Award having never properly shared my fiction with anyone before, and not really knowing what to expect. It was without a doubt the best twenty quid I’ve ever spent. 

First making the longlist — and then the shortlist! — was such a huge vote of confidence in my writing style and the story I was trying to tell with Brotherhood and to actually win was unreal. It helped not just in cementing my confidence in my writing (and silencing my imposter syndrome) but it also inspired me to keep working on my manuscript and to stick to deadlines when it came to editing. 

Winning during the pandemic made things feel even more unreal, but even though I couldn’t meet the Blue Pencil team in person, I felt incredibly supported and involved and was then able to meet one of the judges, FBA’s Carrie Plitt, over Zoom to discuss my manuscript. Carrie’s continued guidance and expertise (and the depth of feedback of the rest of the BPA First Novel Award judging team) was really invaluable and helped me to see my work through a new perspective, whilst supporting me to get it ready for publication. 

I am over the moon to now be signed to FBA with Carrie, and I cannot wait to see where things go next. Without sounding too cliche, it really does feel like a new beginning in terms of publishing Brotherhood and in my fiction career, and I am so pleased I decided to enter last year. It really has been an incredible experience from start to finish. 

Roisin Lanigan was the winner of the 2020 Award for Brotherhood. She is represented by Carrie Plitt

Roisin Lanigan - Blue Pencil Agency / BPA
Roisin Lanigan2020 First Novel Award Winner

I am emailing to thank you so much for taking a chance on me and telling Marina de Pass about my novel, The Silence Project. As of this week, Marina is now my agent and I am thrilled!

Because the novel was shortlisted for The Bridport Prize and was my London Library Emerging Writer submission, it was also seen by agents at A.M.Heath, but Marina has given me such brilliant feedback and encouragement that I have no doubt that she will be my ideal agent.

It’s all because of you. And the novel didn’t even make the longlist for the BPA First Novel Award, so doubly thank you for making the introduction.

Carole Hailey

Thank you so much for the opportunity to join the Q&A session with Nelle Andrew today. It was so helpful to know what agents are expecting when receiving submissions. I definitely feel more confident going forward with the process, and looking for agents for the novel I’ve written. 

Iva Y

The tutorial was great – really, extremely helpful – and Emma was wonderful.

Caroline W

Oliver’s editorial feedback was fantastically helpful. I’ve done a lot of workshopping of various kinds over the last few years, including an MA in Creative Writing, and this was honestly the best feedback I’ve had on the novel as a whole, the most helpful in helping me to see where I need to go next with it. Amazing. I have already recommended BPA to other writer friends, and shall definitely come back to you for more help later on. 

Lorraine R

Really looking forward to the next session. I’m trying to soak up as much knowledge as I can. It’s the only thing that’s getting me through lockdown! 

Jodie R

Thank you for another brilliant session. All three of the presenters at the retreat have been such high quality.  I had high expectations but they have gone beyond those expectations.  Thank you so much for all your hard work putting the weekend together.

Alison T

Emma – thank you so much for arranging such an inspiring series of talks for the Online Writing Weekend.  They were all of such a high level and unlike a lot of courses, had a very commercial focus which is important to remind of why we are doing this!

Sarah W

Thank you so much for organising “A Literary Marriage” with Jane and Claire this evening. It was fantastic – informative, inspiring and enjoyable. 

Matt J

I’m really enjoying these and a great way to stay ‘connected’ with a writing community so thank you so much for keeping them coming! 

Mairi W