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Check back in the spring for the 2023 programme



This is my third year!

Last year I had two talented mentees, each working on their own impressive YA novels. 

Who am I?

I'm a writer of YA novels set in near future thrillers, fast-paced and riddled with villains. My first book - The Stranded - will be published by Penguin Random House in July 2022.


What am I looking for?
I'm looking for YA novels set in strange worlds, whether it's the future, the past, alternate timeline, post-apocalyptic, or a world inhabited by the supernatural. Send me your sci-fi, thriller, horror and fantasy. I like fast-paced novels, great cliff hangers, irresistible hooks, tight prose and snappy dialogue. A good villain will always get me reading on.  


What to avoid
I'm not a good fit for high fantasy (I'd be of no use to the next Tolkien) and hard sci-fi (a little sci-fi is good). Bizarro, surrealism, absurdism are all hard sells. 

Please no books that condone homophobia, transphobia, racism, misogyny or ableism, and please no very graphic depictions of violence and abuse (especially towards children and animals). A little sexy time is fine, but I'm not looking for erotica. A little violence is fine as long as it serves the narrative. 

Who I'm looking for
I am looking for a mentee who's ready to dive into the world of submissions, and who wants to go through their manuscript with a fine tooth comb. My mentee will be open to bouncing new ideas around, to being brutal if something isn't working, and someone who will take critique for what it's meant to be; a way to take their work up a notch. 

What to expect

I always give feedback as tracked changes/comments as well as longer more general feedback. You can expect me to be extremely picky. I will never read a typo without flagging it (because what if we forget it next read through?), and I'll correct formatting errors even if I've picked the same one up a hundred times already. So, expect A LOT of red pen.

I'm a fan of very hard editing, cutting chapters, scenes, characters that don't work and paring dialogue down to its snappy essentials.

I will provide an initial detailed response to the whole manuscript. Once you've had chance to digest the feedback we can have a face-to-face to discuss (or by email if you'd prefer). Unlike previous years, in 2022 I won't be able to re-read the manuscript once it has been re-drafted, but I'll happily look at your submission package synopsis, cover letter etc. before the showcase. 


Contact me

If you have any other questions or just want to have a chat to see if we'd be a good fit you can reach me by email at, on Instagram (preferably) or on Twitter. I'll be available for the Twitter live chat before the application deadline.

Sarah Daniels

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