What If YOU Spoke? and where it might lead

Mon 16 Jan 2023

What If YOU Spoke? winner, Filippo Rossi, tells us what the competition meant to him.


Notepad at the ready, Zoom launches on the screen, cows graze peacefully outside my window. Waiting for the first digital meeting of my mentorship to begin, I’m amazed by how one year before this, almost to the day, I had only just discovered the What If You Spoke? masterclasses. Enthusiastically I was beginning to experiment with fiddly palindrome poetry and review writing. Little did I know that a few months later, I would be seeing my work printed in Write On! magazine as one of the winners!

Winning helped me cement the understanding that writing is very important for me and it has strengthened my confidence to follow and develop this passion.

As often happens, one thing leads to another. While reading the very issue of Write On! with my work printed in, I found out about the Pen to Print Book Challenge. It sounded like a fantastic opportunity. Why not give it a go? They were especially looking for books aimed at children and young adults, that made me think of a children’s story of mine that had been gathering digital dust in my files for years. I had written the bulk of it when I was still a child myself. I was twelve, midway in the process of learning English, following my move from Italy to rural Devon when I first began writing in this new language. The Lost Cabbage was born. A magical tale of a house in which every object is alive. Led by Dorian Grey, the young man living in one of the pictures, the house takes care of Jenny, the old, addled lady living in it by tidying and cooking for her. But when the much-loved cabbage disappears from the fridge, cooking Jenny’s favourite dish becomes impossible and the house must embark on an unprecedented adventure.

Seven years later, expectations were pretty low when I sent it off for the Book Challenge, but no harm in trying.

It was a great surprise when recently I received an email telling me The Lost Cabbage had been shortlisted. With it also came the offer of a year-long, one-to-one mentorship with author Preetha Leela Chockalingam and a publishing opportunity. What more could one ask?

As Preetha appears on the screen for the first time, our collaboration is off to a great start. My very positive experience with What If You Spoke?, has certainly been something of a launchpad which I’m very grateful for!


Read Filippo Rossi's winning entries for the What If YOU Spoke? competition here.

Sign up to enjoy the FREE online writing and illustration masterclasses here.


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