Chicken House's 20th Anniversary Open Coop!

Posted by Kesia on Friday December 13th, 2019

We’re turning 20 years old in 2020 – hurray! – and to kick off our anniversary celebrations, we’re opening submissions up for one day only … that’s right, Open Coop is back on 2nd January 2020!

Do you have an idea for a story for children aged between 7 and 17 – or perhaps a work in progress? Do you have a New Year’s resolution to write your story, but wish you had a little more guidance and motivation? If so, this Open Coop is for you!

How to enter

On 2nd January 2020 ONLY, from 12.01 AM GMT to 11.59 PM GMT, we’re open to submissions from all children’s writers, all over the world.

To submit, you’ll need to prepare a document containing an approximately 500 word pitch letter (including information on yourself and the story you would like to write) and either the first 1,500 words or the first three chapters of your novel (whichever is longest).

Then, email the Word doc to with the title OPEN COOP: [Your name] [Your title] on 2nd January 2020. 

Entry is FREE – and we’d particularly like to encourage underrepresented groups to submit their ideas for consideration.

What we are offering

Our editorial team (consisting of Rachel Leyshon, Barry Cunningham and Kesia Lupo) will pick their favourite submissions to receive feedback and mentoring. We’d love to help you develop your idea into a fully-fledged children’s novel with expert editorial input from the beginning.

We can’t wait to hear about what you’ll be working on in 2020!


Will I receive a confirmation email once I’ve submitted?

No – unfortunately we don’t have the ability to confirm receipt of your entry.

Can I send more than one novel/pitch?

No – Open Coop is limited to one submission per person.

Will you let me know if I’m not successful?

We will be in touch with those we’d like to take forward within 6 weeks of entry. Sadly if you haven’t heard from us by then, you have been unsuccessful on this occasion – but please try again next time!

Is Open Coop a competition?

No, it’s not – it’s our way of opening the submission pool to as many different voices as possible. There’s no winner or shortlist, and there isn’t a prize, but we will be offering mentoring to our favourites.

Do I have to have written the full thing already?

No – if you have then that’s great, but at this point we’re just looking for a great idea and a sample of your writing.

Can I enter the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition if I’ve entered the Open Coop?

Yes, absolutely.

I’m under 18 – am I able to submit?

Unfortunately not – for legal reasons you must be over 18.

Can I submit my short story/poetry/graphic novel/picture book/non-fiction work?

No. Chicken House publishes children’s/YA fiction for ages 7+.

Keep an eye on Twitter for updates: @chickenhsebooks

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