Rowan Hisayo Buchanan Competition Winner and Runner-Up

June 12, 2017 | Other News

In line with the publication of her paperback for her award-winning debut novel Harmless Like You, TLC writer and client Rowan Hisayo Buchanan donated a 15,000 word extract read to TLC in order to support a deserving first-time writer, in recognition of the support given to her with an early draft of the manuscript. Following her own TLC extract read, TLC supported her work and sent it out to agents. Rowan signed with Lucy Luck, and her stunning debut novel was acquired following a six-way auction, by Sceptre, and published in 2016. 

We had a number of extremely high-quality submissions following Rowan’s call-out, and after much deliberation we decided to award the free TLC manuscript assessment to young writer Tia Williams, for her work-in-progress Spun from the Stars. In light of the high quality of entries, we also decided that TLC would fund a further extract read for our runner-up Laura Noakes, for her middle grade WIP Dislo-Kate. We thank everyone for their submissions and wish all the writers who entered their work the best of luck in their onward journeys. We would also like to thank Rowan for her generous gesture.

Tia Williams (First Place, Spun from StarsTia Williams – TLC Showcase author

23-year-old Tia Williams is from London. She writes to explore subjects she is passionate about, particularly mental health, melancholia and motherhood. Tia has been writing since she was a child, and as an avid reader has always loved being surrounded by stories. Before beginning her degree, Tia travelled to New York where she volunteered in a local bookshop and developed an interest in travel. After securing a scholarship for academic potential, she studied English and American Literature at Goldsmiths University in London, graduating in 2016. Immersing herself in literature in this way encouraged Tia to follow her ambition to write a novel, and during a creative writing workshop in 2015 she developed a short story about a young woman’s trials with dissociative identity disorder. The themes and characters explored in this story form the basis of Tia’s first novel in progress ‘Spun from Stars’. She hopes the novel’s focus on mental illness will be resonant, particularly at a time when public discussion surrounding mental health issues is gaining momentum.

Since graduating, Tia has worked in Kent as a tutor and freelance travel writer. She plans to study for a postgraduate degree and is currently finishing her novel. Ultimately, she hopes that ‘Spun from Stars’ will reach a wider audience and that she can turn her passion into her profession.

On being selected as winner:

“I’d heard about the fantastic services offered by The Literary Consultancy before I decided to apply for the Rowan Hisayo Buchanan competition, and was inspired by the fact that the opportunity was aimed at writers with manuscripts in progress. […] Writing can be such a solitary and personal discipline that it is often difficult to expect others to react positively to your work, so I was overjoyed when I heard that I’d been selected as the winner! I am 23, and to be given such a wonderful opportunity so early in my career is brilliant motivation. As an unpublished writer, publication can often feel like an unattainable pipe dream, and it is recognition such as this that provides much needed encouragement.”

Read more about Tia, and read an excerpt of her work, in the TLC Showcase

Laura Noakes (Runner-up, Dislo-Kate)

Laura grew up on a steady diet of reading, writing and make believe in the wilds of Bedfordshire. She is currently a highly caffeinated student, completing an MA in Historical Research at Birkbeck, University of London. Previously she has studied for a Law degree, worked as a childminder and served customers with top of the notch cappuccinos. When not delving through the history archives, she spends her time story-catching, daydreaming and scribbling ideas down in numerous notebooks. She has written articles for Disability in Kidlit, Gumption Magazine, and Kettle Mag, and her poetry has been published in Scrittura Magazine. In 2017, she was shortlisted as a finalist for the Wicked Young Writer Awards for her short story, ‘What happened here’. She has lived in the tiny town of Potton all her life. At the moment, home is with her gorgeous dog, Stanley, her parents, her siblings and a roomful of books. In her spare time, she drinks an inordinate amount of Earl Grey tea, crochet’s VERY badly, and swoons over Aidan Turner. She is a member of her local writer’s group and active in the amateur dramatics society—she’s played Buttons in Cinderella, Lizzie Bennet and the villainous cat, Spindleshanks, in Sleeping Beauty. If you ask her to name her favourite author, she’ll name ten, but Roald Dahl, Neil Gaiman and Phillip Pullman will always be on the list. She also likes (in no particular order); sunsets, libraries, fart jokes and lie-ins. She firmly believes that there is no such thing as too much red lipstick, considers a day spent in a museum a day well spent, and has very strong opinions on the perfect shade of tea (it should be exceedingly milky). She has hypermobility, a condition which results in frequent joint dislocations and chronic pain, and this disability has heavily influenced her writing.

On being selected as a runner up:

“I am over the moon to be selected as a runner up, and so grateful to The Literary Consultancy for deeming me worthy of such an honour. As a disabled writer, writing a story with a disabled main character, it is amazing to have such an extraordinary opportunity and I still can’t quite believe it. It means so much to me, and I can’t wait to tell my family and friends, who have supported and encouraged my writing for years. I will definitely be celebrating with a glass of rosé tonight!”