I entered the very first Writing Magazine Picture Book Prize back in 2017. It was one of only a few emerging competitions for unpublished writers of picture books and a fantastic opportunity to have work looked at by industry professionals. I was short-listed with that text which gave me a great boost to my confidence and feedback from Amy as part of the process. I went on to enter again in 2018 with The Tale of the Whale and was delighted to win!

As part of the prize, I met with Amy’s agent, Julia Churchill, and our conversation led me to submit to Scallywag Press, an independent publisher who produce the most amazing quality picture books. They loved The Tale of the Whale and teamed me up with debut illustrator, Padmacandra, who has done the most beautiful artwork with some stunning texture.

The Tale of the Whale is a lyrical rhyming story about a friendship between a child and a whale as they go on a journey of discovery across and under the ocean. It explores the beauty and the wonder of the oceans, but also highlights the issue of plastic pollution and the effects that this is having on the wildlife. I wanted to write something that touched on the subject of sharing our world and caring for one another in the way we exist in it. Children of all ages are becoming increasingly more aware of environmental issues such as our use of plastic and I think it is important to introduce opportunities both at home and at school for children to voice their concerns and I hope that The Tale of the Whale will open the way for discussions that could empower our future generations to make a difference.

You can purchase The Tale of the Whale from independent bookstores or online from your chosen book retailer or click this link.

There are lots of activities linked to the story on my website, www.karenswann.com or you can follow me on twitter @KarenSwann_

I am now represented by the lovely Eunice McMullen and looking forward to what comes next! Huge thanks to Amy, the Story Godmother, for all that she does for up and coming authors.