Are you a secret storyteller? Now’s the time to let your talent out in the open. The Times and Chicken House are on a mission to discover another great children’s writer, whose book will be published around the world by Chicken House.
How to enter
Your full-length manuscript (no more than 80,000 words) must be received at The Chicken House by October 29, 2010. The address, submission criteria, terms and conditions and tips are below.
The Chicken House reading team will select a shortlist of five entries, to be announced in February 2011. The judges will choose a winner from this shortlist, to be announced at Easter 2011.
The winner will be the entrant whose story, in the opinion of the judges, demonstrates the greatest entertainment value, quality and originality suitable for the children’s age group. The prize is the offer of a worldwide publishing contract with Chicken House, with a royalty advance of £10,000.
Barry Cunningham, publisher, Chicken House
Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo and Running on the Cracks
Amanda Craig, children’s book critic, The Times
Neil Blair, partner at the Christopher Little Literary Agency
John McLay, literary scout and director of the Bath Literary Festival
Damian Kelleher, author, reviewer and children’s media consultant
Rebecca Wilkie, Booktrust
The Waterstone’s Children’s Bookselling Team
Chicken House Competition Terms and Conditions
1. The competition will run from March 27 to October 29, 2010.
2. Closing date for entries is last mail delivery October 29, 2010.
3. Unless otherwise stated, the competition is open to all entrants aged 18 or over, except employees of Times Newspapers Limited (“TNL”), Chicken House Publishing Limited (“Chicken House”) and their associated, affiliated or subsidiary companies, and their families, agents, or anyone connected in any way whatsoever with this competition.
4. Entry is limited to one per person. Entries must be by post, email submissions will be rejected. Entries must be sent to The Chicken House, 2 Palmer Street, Frome, Somerset, BA11 1DS marked “Children’s Fiction Competition”. Entries must be clearly labelled with the entrant’s full name and contact details (including an address and telephone number) and must be received by the last post delivery on October 29, 2010.
5. By entering, all eligible entrants agree to abide by each and all these terms and conditions. The Promoters (as referred to in term 20 below) reserve the right, with or without cause, to exclude entrants and withhold prizes for violating any of these terms and conditions. The Promoters reserve the right to amend these terms and conditions. Any amendments will be published on the Website timesonline.co.uk/chickenhouse.
6. Submission Criteria
Entries must be the original work of the entrant and not previously published. The entrant must not have previously authored or published any whole book in any country, whether fiction or nonfiction, but may have authored or published an essay or story in an anthology. The entrant must personally submit the entry: any submissions from or found to be from agents will be void and rejected. Entries submitted in previous years are ineligible. The entry must be a full-length manuscript of no more than 80,000 words. The entry should be suitable for a worldwide children’s audience aged between 9 and 16. Each entry must be accompanied by a brief synopsis, plot plan and a letter of submission explaining the book’s appeal to children. (A plot plan is a chapter-by-chapter breakdown, with a couple of sentences on each, paying attention to the roles of the main characters, dramatic high points, and the most important strands of the plot. The synopsis should be no more than a page, and should give an overview of the complete story, including key characters, events and settings.)
Picture books and graphic novels will not be accepted and illustrations will not be considered. Entries must be written in English, typed, double-line spaced, with numbered pages. Entries that do not meet these criteria will not be read.
Entries should be secured using elastic bands and placed in a cardboard wallet (not a ring-binder or lever-arch file). The entrant must retain their own copy as no entries will be returned. Entries will be acknowledged only if accompanied by a stamped, addressed postcard, placed at the front of the cardboard wallet, clearly visible. If entrants who have included a postcard have not received confirmation of receipt 28 days after submission, they should assume their entry has not been received. Entrants in this position may resubmit their manuscript with proof of prior entry postage. There will be no feedback on any entries, either during or after the competition.
7. There will be one prize winner. Subject to submission of a suitable creditworthy entry (as referred to below), the prize is the offer of a worldwide publishing contract with Chicken House (which shall be subject to negotiation and completion between Chicken House and the winner. If the negotiations between the parties fail, then the winner will receive the alternative prize set out below). The winner will be the entrant whose story, in the opinion of the judges, demonstrates the greatest entertainment value, quality and originality and suitable for a children’s (aged 9-14) story. However, in the event the judges in their sole opinion determine that none of the entries are suitably creditworthy for a worldwide publishing contract the Promoters shall none the less select the best entry in accordance with these terms and conditions and award an alternative prize namely, a full and detailed editorial consultation with Barry Cunningham and The Chicken House Editorial team, including creative and technical advice on their entry.
8. Entrants retain all rights to their entries, except in the case of the winner to whom a publishing contract will be offered (as referred to in term 7 above). The winner will retain the copyright to the work and shall exclusively license worldwide publishing rights in the entry to Chicken House Publishing Limited on completion of the publishing contract. The publishing contract with the winner will be in line with industry standards for a debut children’s novel with a Royalty Advance of £10,000. The winner will also receive an offer of representation from The Christopher Little Literary Agency.
9. Selection Criteria
All entries will be read by a Chicken House editorially managed team of experienced freelance readers who will select a shortlist of 5 entries. The 5 shortlisted entrants shall be notified and shall receive details of the proposed publishing contract with Chicken House. If any such entrant decides to withdraw from the competition at this stage it shall notify Chicken House in writing to the address specified in term 20 within 10 business days of receipt of details of the proposed publishing contract. Subject to the foregoing provisions of this term all 5 entries will then be read by the judges and a winner selected. The judges reserve the right to award the prize an entry which may not strictly comply with entry requirements.
10. The winner agrees to an interview which may be published by TNL in any of their publications including but not limited to The Times, or The Sunday Times and either of their Websites.
11. TNL reserves the right to publish segments/parts of entries other than the winning entry (up to 500 words of any non-winner’s entry) in The Times on its Website, and publication does not necessarily mean that the entrant has won a prize. TNL reserves the right to edit entries in its discretion for publication. Entrants will retain copyright in their submitted entries; however, by entering, all entrants give TNL a worldwide royalty free perpetual licence to edit, publish and use segments of each entry in any and all media (including print and online) for publicity and news purposes. In particular, all entrants license TNL the right to print their entry on either of the Times or Sunday Times Websites and in The Times or The Sunday Times or any of their supplements.
12. The winner will be notified by March 31, 2011. All reasonable endeavours will be made to contact the winner before this date. If the winner cannot be contacted or is not available, the Promoters reserve the right to select another winner from entries which were received before the closing date.
13. There is no cash or other alternative to the prize stated and the prize is not transferable and no part or parts of the prize may be substituted for other benefits, items or additions.
14. The judge's decision is final and binding on the entrants. No correspondence will be entered into.
15. The Promoters will not be liable for any failure of receipt of entries. Proof of posting cannot be accepted as proof of delivery. If entrants who have included postcard have not received confirmation of receipt 28 days after submission, they should assume their entry has not been received. Entrants in this position may resubmit their manuscript with proof of prior entry postage. The Promoters take no responsibility for any entries which are lost, delayed, illegible, damaged, incomplete or otherwise invalid. Other than death or personal injury arising from the acts or omissions of the Promoters, or their employees, the Promoters will not be liable for any loss or damage arising out of the winner’s receipt of the prize.
16. By entering, the entrants, including the winner, agree to allow the free use of their names, photographs and general locations for publicity and news purposes during this and future promotions by TNL or any associated or subsidiary company of News International Limited.
18. Submission of an entry will be deemed acceptance of these terms and conditions.
19. The Promoters reserve the right at any time to cancel, modify or supersede the competition (including altering the prize) if, in their sole discretion, the competition is not capable of being conducted as specified. The Promoters reserve in their absolute discretion the right to substitute a prize of equal value in the event that circumstances beyond their control make this unavoidable.
20. The Promoters of this competition are Times Newspapers Limited (address below) and Chicken House Publishing Limited of 2 Palmer Street, Frome, Somerset, BA11 1DS.
21. For details of the winner, please send a stamped envelope to Times Newspapers Limited Competitions Department, 1 Virginia Street, London E98 1RL, after May 1, 2011, stating for which competition you would like winners’ details.
22. Terms and Conditions printed in The Times/The Sunday Times newspaper or on Times or The Sunday Times Websites form a part of these terms and conditions. In the event of a conflict of terms these terms and conditions shall prevail.
23. The competition is governed by English law and any dispute is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.
Barry Cunningham's top tips for writing children's fiction
Think about who your reader is and try imagining yourself at same age as your characters. What did you feel as a child? Can you remember what was important to you? What made you laugh or cry? It’s a great place to start.
It’s very important to plan, however loosely. Some writers use a storyboard to lay out their plots graphically. They have detailed descriptions of their setting, plots and cliffhangers, as well as character breakdowns – so they can be consistent. The beginning and ending of a novel are by far the most difficult parts to get right. Think carefully about where you want to begin your book – it doesn’t have to be at the start of the story! You might want to cut straight to the action, or even begin from a minor character or animal’s point of view! Don’t be afraid to experiment although the end of a book should always offer some "reward" to the young reader.
You need the reader to feel something for your characters. Sympathy and admiration for lead characters is sometimes not as important as writing a wonderful villain or anti-hero, but try and make both intriguing, not just plot devices for moving your story on. Good description is important, but almost always it’s better to express yourself in dialogue, or through your characters actions, than in lengthy explanations. Humour is also very important – children often laugh with fear or cry with happiness, and the use of both is effective.http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/http://entertainment.timesonline.co.u ... /books/article7076052.ece
Click on the link above and go to the contest official site