The 2023 Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition

We don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts, but we do offer unpublished and unagented writers of children’s fiction the chance to submit their work to the annual Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition. We’re looking for original ideas, a fresh voice, a diverse range of entries and stories that children will love! We’d particularly like to encourage entry from writers from underrepresented backgrounds.

First prize is a worldwide publishing contract with Chicken House with a royalty advance of £10,000, plus an offer of representation by this year’s agent judge, Davinia Andrew-Lynch of Andlyn literary agency. The second prize, the Lime Pictures New Storyteller Award, is a publishing contract with a royalty advance of £7,500 plus an offer of representation by Davinia Andrew-Lynch. The prize will be awarded to a manuscript that shows great potential for film and TV development.

To enter, you must have written a completed full-length novel suitable for children/young adults aged somewhere between 7 and 18 years. By full-length we suggest a minimum of 30,000 words and a maximum of 80,000 words.

Entry to the 2023 competition is now open!

Are you an unpublished and unagented writer with an original and exciting story for 7-to-18-year-olds? If so, why not enter our competition? We’re offering not one but TWO fantastic prizes:

The Overall Winner
The main prize is a worldwide publishing contract with Chicken House with a £10,000 advance (subject to contract). Our esteemed panel of judges will select the overall winner, who will also receive an offer of representation from a top literary agent, Davinia Andrew-Lynch. The winner will be the entrant whose story, in the opinion of the judges, demonstrates the greatest entertainment value, quality, originality and suitability for children.

The Lime Pictures New Storyteller Award
Our bonus prize, sponsored by Lime Pictures, will be awarded by Barry Cunningham (Chicken House MD and Chairman of the Panel) and Tim Compton (Co-Head of Kids & Family at Lime Pictures) to a complete fiction manuscript for children aged 7 up to Young Adult that in their view shows great potential for film and TV development.

Lime also has a ‘first look deal’ for the shortlist and winning submissions, meaning the exclusive right to consider all shortlisted entries for film/TV development for a defined period of 45 days after the winners’ announcement. Any subsequent offer from Lime for TV/film rights is not part of the Lime Pictures New Storyteller Award, nor is the author or their agent required to accept any such offer. Please see the terms and conditions for more details.

Shortlisted entrants who don’t win will receive a letter summarising their reader’s, the Chicken House editorial team’s and the judges’ comments on their submission. All longlisted entrants will receive a reader’s report of their work.

Submission Dates and Fees
Our annual competition opens on 1 December 2022. The deadline for entries will be at 23:59 UK time on 1 June 2023. Any entries received after the deadline will be disqualified, unless you have experienced technical difficulties which prevented you from submitting successfully before the deadline. Please ensure you enter in good time!

The standard submission fee has risen to £20 – however, if you are in financial hardship, please email by midday (UK time) on 29 May to request a reduced fee of £15. You do not need to provide proof or justification when requesting the reduced fee.

How to enter

There are two ways to enter the competition, online OR (for UK entrants only) by post. Please choose one of these options and follow the instructions below.

1. Enter online

You will need to create a single Word document containing the following submission materials:

  • A page-long covering letter explaining why you believe your novel would appeal to children and telling us a bit about yourself.
  • A page-long synopsis of your story. Please include all the main points of your plot in your synopsis, including ‘spoilers’ – we need to know what happens at the end!
  • The full manuscript.

1 June 2023

Please note that all materials submitted online will be read digitally on e-readers so exact formatting will not be retained.

If you have any questions regarding entry to the competition, please see our Competition FAQs or, if you can’t find your answer, email

website: Chicken House Books – Submissions

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