Children's Fiction Competition: What Makes a Winner?

Posted by Kesia on Tuesday July 21st, 2015

So you’ve written your children’s novel – or perhaps you’re planning on writing one before our 18 December deadline! – but either way you’re probably curious about what we’re looking for. Here’s a little info on past winners for an insight into who, and what, has won in the past …

2008: Emily Diamand, Flood Child
2009: Sophia Bennett, Threads
2010: Janet Foxley, Muncle Trogg
2011: Kieran Larwood, Freaks
2012: Fletcher Moss, Poison Boy
2013: Wendy Constance, Brave
2014: Kerr Thomson, The Sound of Whales
2015: Laurel Remington, The Secret Cooking Club

Winners of the Times competition, now in its ninth year, range in age from 29 to 60. We’ve had four teachers, a lawyer, an environmentalist campaigner, a consultant and a university administrator; five female and three male winners. As well as the winning titles, we’ve published three shortlisted authors: a teacher (Lisa Drakeford, The Baby), a school librarian/journalist duo (Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison, Lobsters) and even an archaeologist (Pat Walsh, The Crowfield Curse)!

Despite the relatively large number of teachers (perhaps particularly inspired to write for children?) there’s a huge variety in the ages and occupational backgrounds of winning authors – this year, it really could be anybody!

And as for the novels themselves, our Times Competition books have included futuristic, steampunk, historical and pre-historical adventures, as well as dramas, fairy-tales, comedies and mysteries. Again, a massive variety.

Although there is no winning formula per se, what all these novels have in common is a fantastic, gripping story with a big idea at its heart – they’re fresh and original, and offer something new to our list. We can’t wait to see what this year’s competition has in store!

You can find more info on the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition by visiting our submissions page. Good luck!

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