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What it means to win the Guppy Open Submission Award! OR Sorrel spills the beans.

Every day, I still wake up completely baffled that I won the Guppy Open Submission in 2022.

It’s especially bizarre that because I won the Guppy Open Submission, I now have a real book with pages and an amazing cover, and people I’ve never actually met have bought and read it.

My journey here has been long and strange – which is incidentally how I would describe myself.

My eldest sister did her degree in Creative Writing, which helped me realise that you can do a degree in something you actually enjoy and are good at, and don’t have to do a degree in Economics and Generalised Anxiety to please your estranged relatives. So, I did the exact same degree.

My mum then did a Masters in Writing for Young People, then entered the Myslexia Novel Competition and won it. Having completed my degree in Creative Writing without a personality of my own, I decided to do the exact same Masters and enter competitions my mum recommended.

My mum has excellent taste, as it turns out. Entering the Guppy Open Submission was by far the best decision I’ve made since I started taking Sertraline. It is so, so hard to break into the children’s book industry – there are so many people out there with ideas (almost) as good as yours, and most of what you hear is rejections and Deafening Silence.

Bella was so open and warm from the very beginning. She genuinely cares so much about every book she publishes, and works harder than any person should. The whole team at Guppy is amazing, and I’ve felt very important the whole time, despite absolutely not being their only client. They’ve got my very queer, absolutely bananas apocalyptic comedy noticed by people I’d never have imagined.

I now do things like walk into bookshops and sign their copies of my book as if that isn’t completely unhinged behaviour. I’m preparing for the panel I’m on and planning the workshop I’ll be running at YALC this year. I had my own table at Abergavenny Pride. I was on the Children’s Books Ireland Pride Reading Guide. I was a Debut of the Month and Star Book for Love Reading 4 Kids. And my book only bloody came out three weeks ago. I still can’t believe any of it.

For all the kind rejections, the less kind rejections, and the Total Ignoring, it was so worth it to enter the Guppy Open Submission.

You’ll never know what could happen if you don’t let them see your words.