The Times / Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition is now open for entries. The winning writer will receive a worldwide publishing contract with Chicken House with a royalty advance of £10,000 (US$15,6000), plus representation from a top children’s literary agent.
The Times / Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition began in 2007 and has launched the careers of a number of new authors. In 2014 the prize was won by Kerr Thomson for his beautiful book The Sound of Whales.
To enter this competition you must have written a completed full-length novel suitable for children aged somewhere between 7 and 18 years. By full-length the organisers suggest a minimum of 30,000 words and ask that manuscripts do not exceed 80,000 words in length.
The competition is open to writers around the world, regardless of nationality or residency status. To enter, writers are asked to submit the full manuscript in hard copy, accompanied by:
- a one page synopsis of the story
- a chapter-by-chapter plot plan
- a cover letter including a brief biography and an explanation of why you believe the work would appeal to children.
All entries must be accompanied by a £15 fee. Previously submitted manuscripts can be re-entered and self-published works are also eligible for entry. All longlisted entrants will receive a reader’s report of their work.
Entries close on 18 December 2015. For full entry information and conditions visit the Chicken House Publishing website.
Before you submit your manuscript we highly recommend watching this video from Barry Cunningham, OBE, Publisher and Managing Director of Chicken House (and the original publisher of Harry Potter). One of Barry’s tips when writing for children is using a storyboard or character map. If you haven’t used this approach before this short article by Jessica Hatchigan is a helpful place to start. Kenn Adams’ story spine is another tool that many writers may find valuable when in the planning stages of a new project.