by Victoria Bennion
Winning or being placed in well-respected Creative Writing Contests is a great thing to be able to put on your CV. Heck, it can even land you that agent or publishing deal.
Chicken House Publishing, founded by J K Rowling Discoverer, Barry Cunningham holds an annual competition with the Times for unpublished and unagented writers of children’s fiction.
The first prize is definitely worth having! - a worldwide publishing contract with Chicken House and a royalty advance of £10,000. And wait for it…. Representation from a top children’s literary agent.
Last year the winner was the talented Nicki Thornton with her novel The Firefly Cage. Nicki spent eight months writing her book. She was at a social event I attended just after she had won and told us that she had entered the competition several years in a row, each time with a different manuscript, which shows the power of perseverance.
The competition usually opens at the end of June each year. You can check the Chicken House website for details
The Bath Children’s Novel Award was launched in 2015. It is for unsigned novelists writing for children or young adults. The prize is £2,000 and the judge is the well-respected Sallyanne Sweeney of Mulcahy Associates Literary Agency.
Lucy Van Smit won the inaugural award in 2015 with her YA thriller Hurt’s So Good. You just have to read her entry to see why. I couldn’t stop thinking about the story after reading the first 5,000 words. Shortly after winning Lucy signed with Sallyanne Sweeney and has since signed a two book deal with Chicken House Publishing (pictured announcing the deal.)
So as you can see this is a contest worthy of your consideration. To find out more visit the Bath Children’s Novel Award website
Undiscovered Voices is a competition designed to promote unpublished fiction writers and illustrators from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) British Isles.
The competition is sponsored by Working Partners and always has an impressive line-up of judges from the industry. I attended the launch event for the 2018 competition at the stunning Hachette offices in London in May 2017 where two panels of judges answered questions about the competition.
Winning extracts are included in an anthology which is sent to editors and agents in the UK. Simon James Green who was a winner last year signed with his agent, Joanna Moult, at Skylark Literary shortly after winning and subsequently his novel, Noah Can’t Even, was published with Scholastic.
Simon is just one in a long line of success stories arising from the competition. Award winning author Candy Gourlay was a winner in 2008 as was Sara Grant who has gone on to publish a number of popular children's books. To find out more visit Undiscovered Voices
NB. If you’re not a member already and have a novel ready to go you might want to consider joining SCBWI so you can enter this and the other creative writing contests they offer new writers.
Before pressing send on your entry check and double check the rules. From being on the other side of the fence at creative writing contests, you’d be surprised how many writers forget to, for example, remove their name from their work, or make sure that their entry is within the word limit.
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