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A Pitch Wars Team Interview with Tigest Girma and her mentors, Alechia Dow and Mel Howard

Wednesday, 9 January 2019  |  Posted by Gwynne Jackson


Our mentors are editing, our mentees are revising, and we hope you’re making progress on your own manuscript! While we’re all working toward the Agent Showcase starting on February 6, 2019, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2018 Pitch Wars Teams.

Next up, we have . . .

Tigest Girma – Mentee


Alechia Dow – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Mel Howard – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Alechia and Mel, why did you choose Tigest?

We chose Tigest and her GORGEOUS book because it was love at first read. There were so many elements that just hit the mark for us, that had us on the edge of our seats, and made us root for the characters! We were completely captivated by her story and her talent is INCREDIBLE. We knew this is a story that needs to be out in the world, and hoped we could be the one to help her get it out there!

Tigest, why did you choose to submit to Alechia and Mel?

This one’s easy. Both Alechia and Mel’s Pitch Wars blog post requested for all things Black. Reading that, it felt like a warm hug. They did not shy away in all the ways they sought to read stories from marginalised backgrounds. Another hug. I remember laughing at their one sentence which said ‘worried your story is *too* Black? We want to see it’. I added them to my mentor list instantly after that.

Alechia and Mel, summarize Tigest’s book in 3 words.

Black folks winning.

Tigest, summarize your book in 3 words.

Magical. African. Tournament.

Alechia and Mel, tell us about yourselves. Something we may not already know.

Alechia: Hey, everybody! I’m Alechia, mum to a very lovable Sith, former Youth Services Librarian, classically trained pastry chef, and author of THE SOUND OF STARS, which will come out early 2020 with Inkyard. Here are some facts: when I was a food critic at a small city newspaper, my editor told me that my sarcasm and overuse of food puns would hold me back from a writing career. Yolk’s on you, buddy! Muahaha. I once broke my hip during a giant beach ball incident, love Raisinets, and have a massive cookbook collection!

Mel: What’s good, y’all? I’m Mel, and I’m a search engine evaluator and a freelance editor. I’m rep’d by the fabulous Hillary Jacobson at ICM Partners. Here’s a bunch of random stuff to make me sound more interesting than I really am: I have a certification in cheese, have written a 50K novel in three days, knitted a 19 foot Doctor Who scarf replica, and written a 75 page graduate thesis on the food cultures in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Tigest, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?

Necessary skills of crafting a story I can hold on to for the rest of my career. And the support of a community that wants you to succeed. Nothing makes writing easier than those that understand the highs and lows that come with it.

Tigest, tell us about yourself! What makes you and your manuscript unique?

I think what makes my manuscript unique is it takes place in Ethiopia, giving you a *real* taste of what African countries are like with a dash of magic. I’d always wanted to write a story for my younger self and this is it. An Ethiopian main character front and centre, kicking ass while navigating relationships with other African teens? I’ll take ten, please.


Thank you for supporting our Pitch Wars Teams! The Agent Showcase is February 6 – 11, 2019. We hope you’ll join us to support our teams on the Twitter hashtag #PitchWars.

Filed: Interviews

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