Meet the Judges for the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition 2024!

Posted by Jazz on Friday March 22nd, 2024

It's time to reveal our all-star lineup of judges for the 2024 competition ...

We are so excited to showcase the amazing panel for this year's competition. Manuscript reading is underway, and the submissions portal is still open, so if you want to be in with a chance of having these incredible industry professionals read your story, make sure to head over to the submissions page. But first, read on to see who those incredible industry professionals are ...




Barry Cunningham has had an impressive career in publishing. After an English degree at Cambridge, he joined Penguin Books in 1977. As Children’s Marketing Director for Puffin, he worked with all the great names in children’s books including Roald Dahl and Spike Milligan, and was responsible for the re-launch of Beatrix Potter. In 1984 he was promoted to the Penguin Board and became responsible for the marketing of all Penguin Books, a position he held until 1988, when he was headhunted by Random House. In 1994 he was approached by Bloomsbury to set up their first children’s book list. Barry left Bloomsbury at the height of its success and, in early 2000, decided to start his own publishing company. The result was Chicken House, a lively and creative company publishing highly original and enjoyable children’s books, with a special emphasis on new fiction. He has been a judge for the competition since it's fruition.



Lucy Bannerman is an award-winning journalist at The Times, who has been chasing stories for the past 20 years. She has reported from 24 countries around the world, covering everything from the funeral of Nelson Mandela to the Eurovision Song Contest in Azerbaijan.

She is a regular contributor to The Times magazine, Times Radio and the Stories of Our Times podcast. As the newspaper's children's book critic, the best part of her working week is sifting through the hundreds of stories and picture books - from the fantastical and magical to the comical and historical - that arrive in the mail room every week to find the one that will become 'The Times children's book of the week.' It is the only weekly review space dedicated to children's literature in the mainstream press.

She was Young Journalist of the Year 2006 but is older now.



Tim Compton is joint Head of Kids & Family (alongside Angelo Abela) at Lime Pictures. Prior to this, he was a script editor and producer at HIT Entertainment and CBBC. For Lime, Tim was the story producer and core writer on the global hit House of Anubis (Nickelodeon) and producer and co-creator of Evermoor, which was the Disney Channel's first direct drama commission from outside the US. Tim produced and wrote for Free Reign, the Emmy award-winning Netflix original and was executive producer on the Emmy-nominated limited series Zero Chill, also for Netflix. He is currently executive producer on Wereworld, Lime’s first animated series for Netflix.



Lydia Silver is a Senior Literary Agent at Darley Anderson Children’s Agency. Since joining the agency in 2018, Lydia has built a wide-ranging list of dynamic and diverse writing and illustrating talent. Among other accolades, her authors have been picked as Blackwell’s Book of the Month, been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and the Jhalak Prize, and won the Diverse Book Award. She was chosen as a Bookseller Rising Star in 2022.



Tessa is a literary scout for Children's and YA books, working with Lucy Abrahams Literary Scouting. Tessa studied Modern and Medieval Languages at Cambridge before taking up a work experience placement with a literary scout. She went on to work as a literary agent for translation, selling international rights for a wide list of Children's and YA authors. Since then, Tessa has written, edited and translated books for children, as well as moderating the Faber Academy Writing a Novel course. Tessa writes fiction for both adults and young adults, and she currently works with the Professional Writing Academy, providing editorial feedback for new writers.



Joel Rochester is your friendly neighbourhood cozy curator with a taste for the magical and macabre. Both an award-winning content creator, and an academic possessing a BA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Winchester. Between playing video games, browsing the nearest bookstore, and writing new stories, they possess an eagerness to embark on new adventures to undiscovered worlds.



Frank Cottrell-Boyce is a children's novelist who won the Carnegie Medal for his first book - Millions - in 2004 and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize for The Unforgotten Coat in 2013. Millions was made into a film by Danny Boyle, for whom Frank went on to work as the writer on the London Olympics Opening Ceremony, 2012. His other books include Framed (filmed by the BBC), Cosmic, The Astounding Broccoli Boy and Runaway Robot. He also wrote the three official sequels to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. His films include 24 Hour Party PeopleGod on Trial and Hilary and Jackie. His short work, The Great Rocket Robbery, was published for World Book Day in 2019. His latest novel, The Wonder Brothers, was published by Macmillan in July 2023.


Posted by Jazz on Tuesday February 6th, 2024

Do you wish you had a professional editor on board to help you develop your children’s novel or idea? Well, this opportunity might just be for you!

We’re delighted to announce a 24-hour open submissions period here at Chicken House, for finished or unfinished debut novels for children aged 7 up to (and including) YA, for the chance to gain mentorship from a member of our editorial team.

Writers selected during past Open Coops include Alison Weatherby (The Secrets Act) and Sabine Adeyinka (Jummy at the River School), both of whom went on to sign publishing contracts with Chicken House!

What we are offering

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

How to submit

In order to submit, please create a single Word document including the following material and email it to between 12:01am and 11:59pm (UK time) on 29 February 2024.

A cover letter of no more than a page, single spaced, including a short pitch for your story, a little about yourself, and how far along you are with writing the novel.

A synopsis of not more than a page, single spaced, describing the story you’re writing from beginning to end (no cliff-hangers!). If you haven’t decided on the full synopsis yet, that’s OK – you can detail as much of the story as you have planned.

Either the first 1,500 words or the first three chapters of your novel (whichever is longest).

Please ensure the title of your email follows this format: OPEN COOP: [Your name] [Your title]

Entry is FREE!

Please note that due to the volume of submissions we receive, we are unable to respond to entrants individually either to confirm receipt or if you have been unsuccessful. We will only be in touch if we are interested in moving forward with your submission.

What to submit

Although we encourage submissions of children’s and YA novels of all themes and subjects, here are a few ‘wish list’ items from two of our editors …

Rachel would love to see something from underrepresented groups, new perspectives, and animal stories for any age.

Shalu is interested in fantasy stories, Middle Grade or YA, that offer a fresh perspective. Own voice stories centred around culture and identity (especially food!) are always encouraged!

We can’t wait to hear about what you’re working on!


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 3 months 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!

Do I have to have written the full manuscript 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.

What’s the difference between the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition and Open Coop – and can I enter Open Coop if I’ve already submitted to the Competition?

The Times/Chicken House Competition (which is currently open for unagented submissions) is for a full manuscript, there is an entry fee and the prize is a publishing contract. Open Coop is a much more casual affair, and not a competition – it’s for manuscripts at all stages of development, it’s free, and we’ll be looking at submission samples and offering mentorship rather than a formal prize. It’s fine for you to submit to Open Coop as well as the Times/Chicken House – even if it’s with the same book – particularly as they are assessed by two different teams of readers.

I’m under 18 – am I able to submit?

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

I don’t live in the UK. Am I eligible to submit?

Yes. We welcome all entries.

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+.

I have a literary agent? Can I submit?

No. Agented authors are not eligible to enter – after all, we accept ordinary submissions via all established literary agencies.

I have previously had published a short story/poem/picture book/non-fiction/academic title. Can I still enter?
Yes, you are eligible as long as you haven’t had a full-length children’s novel commercially published, anywhere in the world.

And the winners of the 2023 Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition are …

Posted by Jazz on Thursday November 23rd, 2023

Yesterday was a very exciting day for the Chickens – not only did we host our Big Breakfast event (in which we introduced our industry pals to our 2024 authors) but we also hosted the Times/Chicken House Competition judging panel … AND announced the winners!

The judges meeting resulted in some fantastic, thoughtful feedback from our panel, which consisted of chairman and publisher Barry Cunningham, The Times reporter and children’s book critic Lucy Bannerman, Co-Head of Lime Picture’s Kids and Family Tim Compton, agent Davinia Andrew-Lynch, author Frances Hardinge, scout and festival organiser Jane Churchill, Bounce sales rep CJ Gajjar, and Waterstones Children’s Team campaigner Lucy Jakes. A huge thank you to each one of our judges for their time and attention on our seven shortlisted manuscripts – you are all stars!

Well, the time has come …


The winner of the Times/Chicken House Competition 2023 is …

Marisa Linton with THE POUKA KING

And the winner of the Lime Picture’s prize is …

Asli Jensen with LOVE ON SIGHT

Many congratulations to you both – we can’t wait to start working with you on your stories!

Congratulations, too, to the rest of our shortlist for reaching the final seven – any two of you were capable of winning and debate among the judges was very healthy! We’ll be providing all of you with detailed feedback based on the panel’s thoughts.

Watch this space for details of the 2024 competition, which we’re planning to open in December.

Meet the Judges for the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition 2023!

Posted by Olivia Jeggo on Friday April 7th, 2023

It's time to reveal our all-star lineup of judges for the 2023 competition ...


The 2023 Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition is now open!

Posted by Olivia Jeggo on Thursday December 1st, 2022

Hot on the heels of our 2022 winner's announcement, we’re so excited to share that the submissions portal for the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition 2023 is OPEN!


Times/Chicken House Competition 2022 Shortlist Reveal!

Posted by Olivia Jeggo on Friday September 30th, 2022

The Times/Chicken House shortlist is here!


Times/Chicken House Competition 2022 Longlist Reveal!

Posted by Kesia on Tuesday September 13th, 2022

The Times/Chicken House long list is here!


A post-apocalyptic rom-com? Sign us up

Posted by Jazz on Monday September 12th, 2022

Chicken House is thrilled to announce acquisition of MY LOVE LIFE AND THE APOCALYPSE by Melissa Welliver: a post-apocalyptic rom-com, perfect for fans of Adam Silvera! 


Introducing: My Friend the Octopus by Lindsay Galvin

Posted by Jazz on Thursday January 27th, 2022

We're very excited to announce a new middle-grade novel from the bestselling author of Darwin's Dragons, Lindsay Galvin: My Friend the Octopus!


The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2022

Posted by Olivia Jeggo on Wednesday December 1st, 2021

With the dust finally settling from our 2021 winner's announcement, we’re so excited to share that the submissions portal for The Times/Chicken House Competition 2022 is OPEN!


Calling all Kiran Millwood Hargrave Fans - NEW COVER ALERT!

Posted by Olivia Jeggo on Thursday November 25th, 2021

Yes, you heard us right - The Way Past Winter by bestselling author Kiran Millwood Hargrave is now sporting a brand new cover!

With winter well underway, and the season of goodwill fast approaching, this new edition of The Way Past Winter would look perfect under anyone's tree, with a cover to match the other epic books in the Kiran Millwood Hargrave universe.

THE WAY PAST WINTER by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Mila and her sisters live with their brother Oskar in a small forest cabin in the snow.

One night, a fur-clad stranger arrives seeking shelter for himself and his men. But by the next morning, they’ve gone – taking Oskar with them. Fearful for his safety, Mila and her sisters set out to bring Oskar back – even it means going north, crossing frozen wild-lands to find a way past an eternal winter.

The gorgeous novel from the bestselling author of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize-winning The Girl of Ink & Stars and the Costa and Blue Peter Award-shortlisted The Island at the End of Everything

And the winner is ...

Posted by Olivia Jeggo on Thursday October 14th, 2021

There's been lots of lively discussion this week as our panel of judges gathered to discuss this year’s incredible Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition and IET 150 Award shortlists. The journey to choosing our winners was no easy task ... (more…)

It's shortlist time!

Posted by Jazz on Tuesday August 17th, 2021

The IET and Times/Chicken House Shortlists 2021

We are so very excited to announce the shortlists for the Times/Chicken House Award and the IET 150 Prize! Whittling down our longlists was a tough challenge and we’d like to say another huge congratulations to everyone who found their way to the final 24 out of nearly 1,000 submissions. We salute you!

Unfortunately, we had to choose our shortlists and we can honestly say the following eight titles are diverse, original and totally stand-out – they run the gamut of middle-grade to top YA and feature authors who submitted from Egypt, Australia and Belgium as well as the UK. Our shortlisted stories whisked us through a number of gorgeous settings, including an Egyptian time-travel school, a neo-noir urban-fantasy London, a Wicker Man-esque island and a quasi-Caribbean archipelago. We’ve been charmed by a host of incredible characters: an enigmatic crow, a friendly robot, a very determined Victorian inventress and an asexual teen who is cursed never to tell the truth. Congratulations to all the authors of these wonderful novels!

So (drumroll please …) our Times/Chicken House Award and IET 150 Prize shortlists!


Fatima and the Invisible Necklace by Laila Rifaat 

The Flood Child by Emily Randall 

Obsidian Heart by Philippa Peall 

The Portland Place Mystery by Nicola Whyte 

The Vengeful Son by Amie Jordan 


The Cipher Engines by Henry Coles

Jeremy Gill is Not the Chosen One by Jackie Jones 

The Remarkables by Ali Stegert


Congratulations again to everyone on the shortlists! Now, these are off to our two separate panels of judges who will help us decide the winners, to be announced in October … watch this space!

Want to enter next year? Find out more about the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition.

New Reads: June 2021

Posted by Jazz on Thursday June 24th, 2021

From pirates to quicksand ...

Now it’s finally starting to feel a little like summer, here at the coop we’re very excited at the prospect of reading out in the sunshine again! 

And what better reads to enjoy in the warmth than the swash-buckling and fierce female-led adventure of Antigua de Fortune of the High Seas, and an absorbing mystery set in rural Nigeria and inspired by Yoruba mythology in Children of the Quicksands.

Intrigued? Read on to discover a little more about both of our new June books ...

Children of the Quicksands by Efua Traore

City girl Simi is sent to stay with her long-lost grandmother in a remote Nigerian village. There’s no TV, internet or phone. Not a single human-made sound can be heard at night, just the noise of birds and animals rustling in the dark forest outside.

Her witchlike grandmother dispenses advice and herbal medicine to the village, but she’s tight lipped about their family history. Something must have happened, but what? Determined to find out, Simi disobeys her grandmother and goes exploring.

Caught in the sinking red quicksand of a forbidden lake, her fantastical journey begins …

Children of the Quicksands is the winning novel from the 2019 Times Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition, and is Efua Traore’s first published book for children. Set in West Africa, this magical realist adventure is ideal for readers aged 9 and above.

Find out more here.

Order your copy now.

Antigua de Fortune of the High Seas by Anna Rainbow and Oli Hyatt

Antigua de Fortune has always had the ocean in her blood, but as the high-born daughter of an officer, she’s expected to wear dresses, stay on land – and fear the sea.

But then the Pirate King strikes, wielding his deadly turquoise magic, and kidnaps her beloved younger brother, along with every boy on the island. It’s time for Antigua to take to the high seas to rescue the stolen boys of Haven ...

Antigua de Fortune of the High Seas is a magical, thrilling pirate adventure that’s jam-packed with fun and feminist vibes with a classic feel – ideal for readers aged 9 and above!

Find out more here.

Order your copy now.

New Reads: May 2021

Posted by Jazz on Friday May 7th, 2021

Three books we know you’ll love to read ...

Happy May everyone – and what a jolly start to the month it is. Bookshops in the UK are once again OPEN, and we’ve got three brand-new books to share with you all!

All of them different from each other, but all equally exciting – the latest three Chicken House books really do offer something for everyone. Find out all you need to know about them below ...


By Ash, Oak and Thorn by Melissa Harrison

Three tiny, ancient beings – Moss, Burnet and Cumulus, once revered as Guardians and caretakers of the Wild World – wake from winter hibernation in their beloved ash tree home. 

But when it is destroyed, they set off on an adventure to find more of their kind, a journey which takes them first into the deep countryside and then the heart of a city. Helped along the way by birds and animals, the trio search for a way to survive and thrive in a precious yet disappearing world …

By Ash, Oak and Thorn, Melissa Harrison, Chicken House BooksBy Ash, Oak and Thorn is the debut children's novel from Costa Award-shortlisted nature writer, Melissa Harrison – a fantastic, environmentally-aware nature adventure for readers aged 9 and above.

Find out more here.

Order your copy now.


Panda at the Door by Sarah Horne

Callum misses his Dad. He doesn’t call on his birthday, and worse, the present he chooses for Cal is ... weird. It’s a panda at Edinburgh Zoo. 

How can Cal ‘adopt’ a wild animal with the muddle his family is in? And what he doesn’t expect is for the bear to take charge. Tired of doing roly-polys for the public, Pudding wants to help a child who needs her ...

Panda at the Door, Sarah Horne, Chicken House Books

Panda at the Door is the first in a new fully-illustrated series by author Sarah Horne ( illustrator of the bestselling Charlie Changes into a Chicken), exploring themes of childhood anxiety, family break-up, bullying, friendship and love. Ideal for readers aged 7 and above.

Find out more here.

Order your copy now.


Boy in a White Room by Karl Olsberg

A boy wakes to find himself locked in a white room. He has no memories, no idea who he is and no idea how he got here.

A computer-generated voice named Alice responds to his questions – through her, he is able to access the internet. He gradually pieces together his story – an abduction, a critical injury, snippets of his past … But how can the boy tell what’s real and what’s not? Who is he really?

Boy in a White Room, Karl Olsberg, Chicken House Books

Boy in a White Room is a gripping YA sci-fi thriller from German and Spiegel-bestselling author Karl Olsberg, and needs to be read to be believed … ideal for readers aged 13 and above.

Find out more here.

Order your copy now.

A Guide to READING SPIES – the VI SPY: LICENCE TO CHILL educational resources

Posted by Jazz on Monday February 8th, 2021

Did someone say VI SPY lesson content?

To celebrate the arrival of Maz Evans’ latest masterpiece, VI SPY: LICENCE TO CHILL, and to maybe lend a helping hand to all of you teaching at the moment (both professionally and other!), we’ve put together a whole host of VI SPY-themed educational materials and they’re completely free to access! (more…)

New Reads: February 2021

Posted by Jazz on Friday February 5th, 2021

The joy of all things February

Well hello, and happy February! It would be very easy to post an introduction that laments all things January, so instead we’re choosing to focus on the joyful things to be found in the month ahead.

With the arrival of February, we’re going to see the daylight last a bit longer, we get to celebrate all things Galentines and Valentines, AND there are two new Chicken House books out in the world as of today!

For the scoop on our new reads for February, read on …


Divorce is tough for any kid. But when – like Vi's parents – your mum is ex-secret service and your dad is a retired bad guy, 'till death do us part' takes on a whole new meaning. And with her parents' focus on each other, the real super-villains are having a field day. To save her family – and the world – from evil domination, Vi must turn spy …

VI SPY: LICENCE TO CHILL, Maz Evans, Chicken House books

VI SPY: LICENCE TO CHILL is the first book in a brand-new series from Maz Evans, bestselling author of the WHO LET THE GODS OUT? series! For teachers (and those of you homeschooling!), we’ve a whole host of fantastic learning materials and videos for you to use in our Schools’ Hub.

Read the first chapter here.

Buy your copy now.


Cat Sparrow isn’t like other people. She loves music, and playing her bird-flute. She thinks differently too – and for a girl like her, the world can be an unsettling place. When Cat’s beloved sister, Meg, is snatched from their convent home, Cat sets out to find her. With the help of a young actor, Jacques, she follows Meg’s trail to the palace of Henry VIII and his queen, Katherine, and then over the sea to the strange and wondrous pageant of the ‘Field of Cloth of Gold’.

But in among the tents, feasts and tournaments, traitors are lurking. And Cat and Jacques must use all their wits if they’re to foil a plot that threatens them all ...

The Queen's Fool, Ally Sherrick, Chicken House Books

THE QUEEN’S FOOL is the latest novel from award-winning historical novelist Ally Sherrick. Keep an eye on our Twitter page for a little book giveaway landing later this month ...

Read the first chapter here.

Buy your copy now.

*UPDATED* Online reading and COVID-19: the low down

Posted by Jazz on Tuesday January 12th, 2021


These are challenging times for all of us and we are particularly sensitive to the needs of children to continue their learning and to reap the many benefits that literature brings them.

Chicken House have a range of resources to support home learning use by educators, administrators, and families listed below.

Chicken House Resources

  • The Schools’ Hub – a vast collection of teaching notes, chapter-by-chapter resources and videos, all relating to our books. This includes: WHO LET THE GODS OUT, BEETLE BOY and DARWIN’S DRAGONS.

  • #CoopedUpKids – a video-based resource that’s full of reading and creative writing inspiration from many of our favourite authors.

  • First chapters for all Chicken House books are available on our website. Simply search for the required title, or explore through the ‘Books’ page, and you’ll find the first chapter available as a PDF download.

Having reviewed the resources we are providing and taking account of the need to protect the copyright in our books we can confirm that online readings of books published by Chicken House are subject to the following conditions which apply throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. 

Online learning through schools

Whilst schools are continuing to teach remotely, online readings can take place through a password protected area of a school’s website or through platforms such as Google Classrooms or similar.  Online readings should not be made publicly available online and only accessible by the students of the school.  The readings must be removed from the platform as from 1st April 2021.

Photocopies of books should continue to be carried out as per the terms of your CLA licence.

Should you have any queries regarding the use of our books by schools please contact

Online readings by public libraries and bookshops


– A maximum of two books may be read for each of January, February and March 2021. 

– All videos are to be live or pre-recorded live readings and can be shown on the relevant library’s official website or Facebook channel at the time of the reading only. 

– Videos are not to be made available for download or publicly available on any other social medial or digital platforms.

– The author and the illustrator (if any) are both fully credited together in the video.

– Chicken House is mentioned either in the video or in the description.

– No charge is allowed for these reading sessions.


For any other required usage of any of our books whether in part or in full please contract Kesia Lupo on

Thanks for taking the time to read this update. Here's to staying happy and healthy!

New Reads: January 2021

Posted by Jazz on Friday January 8th, 2021

Silver linings

One day soon, we’ll stop beginning blog posts with mentions of lockdowns and homeschooling and bookshops closing. While it might not be the start of the year that we were all hoping for, it is a time for staying put and looking for the silver linings.

For us (and hopefully you) that means finding joy in NEW BOOKS!

This January, we’ve three incredible middle grade adventures to share with you all. Find out more below, and remember your local bookshops in these strange times – they need us now more than ever!

Darwin’s Dragons

It’s 1835. Cabin boy Syms Covington is on the voyage of a lifetime to the Galapagos Islands with the world-famous scientist Charles Darwin.

But when Syms falls overboard during a huge storm, he washes up on an unexplored island. Stranded there, he makes a discovery that could change the world ... Now it’s not just his own survival at stake – the future of an undiscovered species is in his hands.

Darwin's Dragons, Lindsay Galvin

DARWIN’S DRAGONS is a rip-roaring historical adventure which is perfect for use in the classroom. For teachers, we’ve a whole host of learning materials and videos for you to use in our Schools’ Hub.

Read the first chapter here.

Buy your copy now here.

Space Oddity

You might think that this story is going to be an intergalactic adventure filled with UFOs, black holes, killer robots and some very foul-smelling aliens. And you’d be right. But it’s mostly about a boy called Jake, his embarrassing dad, and the mind-boggling question . . . are we really alone in the universe?

Space Oddity, Christopher Edge

Inspired by the iconic Bowie song and from an original idea by Sarah Ryan, Christopher Edge combines science, comedy and adventure in SPACE ODDITY, featuring out-of-this-world illustrations from Ben Mantle! 

Read the first chapter here.

Buy your copy now here.

Morgana Mage in the Robotic Age

Morgana loves robots and longs to attend robotics school in the city.

But she’s a witch, living in a magical woodland community: the closest she comes to technology is petting her ancient mechanical familiar, Kitty. She simply doesn’t belong. But when she finally finds a way to the City, she learns of a troubling secret hiding beneath its gleaming surface: a secret that threatens the balance of civilisation.

Caught between two worlds, only Morgana has the power to find a solution …

Morgana Mage in the Robotic Age, Amy Bond

The debut novel from Amy Bond, MORGANA MAGE IN THE ROBOTIC AGE is an incredible unique and heartwarming middle-grade adventure, perfect for fans of both science and magic.

Read the first chapter here.

Buy your copy now here.

Welcome to the coop, Melissa Harrison!

Posted by Jazz on Friday November 13th, 2020


We’re saying hello to Costa Award-shortlisted author and acclaimed nature writer Melissa Harrison,  as she joins Chicken House with her debut children’s book, BY ASH, OAK AND THORN.

We love all things nature here at the Chicken House, and we couldn’t be more excited that we’re publishing Melissa Harrison’s first children’s book!

Launching in May 2021, BY ASH, OAK AND THORN is a tale of the rich, wild world and all its wonder. Three tiny, ancient beings – Moss, Burnet and Cumulus, once revered as guardians and caretakers of the Wild World – wake from their winter sleep. But when their ash tree home is destroyed, they set off on an adventure that takes them first into the deep countryside and then the heart of a city. Helped along the way by birds and animals, the trio search for a way to survive and thrive in a precious yet disappearing world ... 

By Ash, Oak and Thorn, Melissa Harrison, Chicken House Books


Full of natural history and seasonal observations, the story will introduce readers to real plants, birds, animals and folklore, including things that children can find in their own gardens, local parks, or on walks with their families. All, Melissa hopes, with the intention of inspiring a lifelong love of nature, and helping readers to see their own environments in a new light.

Melissa adds: ‘Stories were a crucial way in which I connected with nature as a little girl, imaginatively and emotionally. I'd love to see a new wave of children's nature writing follow these books and help today's kids do the same.

All of my writing has a common purpose: to try and connect readers to the natural world, because I think it is transformative. It’s vital both for us and for nature that more people are engaged with it, and can develop a deeply felt, experiential connection that is imaginative and emotional and will inspire us to change our behaviour. 

I wanted to write something that was accessible and inclusive, funny and magical – that didn’t prioritise the countryside over the city, and that allowed children to understand that other creatures are as real as they are – that humans are not the only actors on the stage.’

BY ASH, OAK AND THORN will be released in May 2021, and followed by a sequel called BY ROWAN AND YEW. Exciting!

Keep an eye on our Twitter page for more updates, and follow Melissa here.


Categories: Announcements Blog