Just wanted to say a huge thank you to Emma and Sara and all the lovely editors and speakers for a fantastic weekend, and to all my lovely retreat-mates. Of course it was such a shame not to be able to meet in person, but such is life these days. 

Laura S

Emma Darwin was brilliant – she explains things so well. I now have a much clear picture of what Psychic Distance is and how it can be used.

Alice M

Today was such an inspirational experience. Thank you so much. You run such friendly and helpful sessions.

Alice M

Thank you so much for letting me attend the writing weekend and for helping to make it accessible. I hate feeling like the annoying disabled woman but you have all been super friendly!

Carrie W

I am still riding high after the Blue Pencil writing weekend and must thank you again for a massively inspirational experience.

Alice M

Thanks Emma – the event with agent Jane Finigan and author Claire Fuller was fabulous and has filled me with enthusiasm. I loved my seat between you and Jane. I just hope I can polish my submission to meet your standards.

Jane W

I have just had my editorial session with David Simons.  It was really valuable.  Over all I think the online writing weekend course is outstanding.  I have done a lot of writer’s courses and this one is really professional and focussed.  I am really enjoying it.

Sarah W

The course has been so brilliant. Thank you for doing such a wonderful job organising a virtual retreat.

Natalie G

“I was two months into maternity leave with my second child when I decided to enter the Blue Pencil Agency First Novel Award. Maybe that’s not the obvious time to write a novel, but the competition offered me everything I needed to make that £20 investment in my writing; a deadline to work towards, an achievable word count, and the chance to have my work read by an agent with a fantastic reputation. Making the longlist was a huge vote of confidence. It inspired me to work harder. To actually win felt unreal. Before I knew it, I was taking my baby boy on a trip to London to meet the lovely BPA team. Nelle Andrews not only offered me valuable feedback but signed me as a client, which is truly a dream come true. Now, I’m excited to be working towards finishing the manuscript with a view to submitting it to publishers. I’ll always be grateful that the award prompted me to take that important first step.”


Katy McNair was the winner of the 2019 Award for her speculative novel The Price of Blood. She is represented by Nelle Andrew
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Katy McNair winner of BPA First Novel Award
Katy McNairFirst Novel Award Winner 2019
“I entered my novel without expectation, and I am so grateful the (lovely) people at Blue Pencil Agency and the judges saw its potential. Their investment in my characters was an absolute highlight. The whole experience, from the tweeted lines to the long and short-listings has given me renewed energy and ambition for my novel, and now there are people waiting to read it (this competition gets noticed). The editorial review is a really valuable prize for any writer, and a great personal deadline. Whatever stage your work is at – polished to perfection or diamond-rough – do give it a go!”
Thecla Condon was runner up in the 2019 Award. She is working on her novel Tell All the Bees and will have the manuscript reviewed by one of our editors later next year.

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Thecla Condon runner up BPA First Novel Award
Thecla Condon2019 Runner Up