Wednesday, 19 September 2018

The Big 5 Winner!

The Winner of the Triskele Books/Words with JAM 2018 Big 5 Mentorship Competition is ...

Philippa Scannell!!

An incredibly strong field of entrants led to much wrangling over the shortlist. But once chosen, we were absolutely sure any one of the finalists would be worth a year of support, advice and shared expertise.

Over to judge Roz Morris, whose job was even tougher. Here's her report.

How to choose a winner in such a breadth of entries? There were narrators who were unreliable or dreaming; narrators who were hiding or tormented or unsure if they could trust their senses. Narrators who were on the brink of terrible events. They wrote in voices that were defensive, or confidential or sassy or secretive. Some were fiction; some were not. You might as well compare apples to airspeeds.

To begin with, I was at a loss. But as I read, I realised there was a common value I was picking up. It was this: the strength of the writer's relationship with the reader. It's a quality all books stand or fall by, how intimately they win the reader's confidence. Explaining this is not easy; it's more a feeling - a feeling that the author is in step with your thoughts as they place their words. Our job title even says it - an author has authority.

And so I chose Rape And The Road To Recovery.

The clincher was this sentence:
'Although I was raped, I promise never to say, ‘I know how you feel’.

A simple statement. But reader, it knows your biggest question before you've even figured it out yourself. It creates a tone, too, of plain speaking, truth seeking. It establishes trust. Indeed, you might notice a charming paradox because its effect contradicts its literal meaning. By saying 'I don't know how you feel', it proves that it does.

You might argue that this author had an advantage because the material was real experience. But that is not what gives it this power. The treatment is.

The excerpt goes on to consolidate that relationship with the reader, with facts that speak of the author's scope and sensitivity. It mentions resources, words that survivors often use, experience teaching self-defence, research beyond the immediate subject on attitudes and education. Although the writer's journey may have started from a personal trauma, this book will be wider than that, and wiser. It has - in short - authority.

All of us at Triskele Books are delighted with Roz's choice. It is a privilege to work on such a book, not to mention a challenge. This is the first step on a journey which will educate all of us.

But let's hear from the winner: here's how Philippa reacted to the news of her mentorship.

I can't believe it! I created Rape & the Road to Recovery to give a voice to the voiceless and to show that rape can happen to anyone, anywhere. Writing the book was a journey in itself and winning this prize makes it feel like all the tears and rejections along the way were worth it. I can't wait to tell all the people who contributed to the book.
It is hard to put in to words how happy I am to know that my book has a real chance of getting published now and getting to the audience it was written for. Winning this mentorship is such a huge opportunity. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Roz Morris and everyone at Triskele Books.

Philippa and the Triskele Team will check in regularly to report on progress. But for now, we raise a  glass to say congratulations to Philippa and well done to the shortlisted authors. All the very best on your publishing journey!



  1. An amazing achievement, congratulations. And very interesting to hear from the judge's POV too.

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