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 … (more…)

Kieran Larwood

Kieran Larwood, author of The Peculiars, was the winner of the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2011. He graduated from Southampton University with a degree in English, and also did a foundation year at Falmouth College of Art. He has been passionate about stories ever since he first read The Hobbit at age six.

His second book for children, Podkin One-Ear, won the Blue Peter Award in 2017.

Kieran is one of only two male reception class teachers on the Isle of Wight. His days mainly consist of singing nursery rhymes, tying shoelaces, trying to work out who has had an ‘accident’ by sense of smell alone, and vast, endless mountains of paperwork.


The Peculiars are a band of misfits, trapped in a nightly Victorian sideshow.

There’s Wolfgirl, Sheba; Sister Moon, who can move at the speed of light; and Monkey Boy, ace climber and human stink bomb. But during the day, in a world of childsnatchers, grave robbers and dastardly doctors, they solve the mysteries no one else cares about – including why London’s poorest children are being snatched from the banks of the Thames …

Winner of the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition 2011, The Peculiars (formerly known as Freaks) is a richly imagined gothic mystery set in the grimy world of Victorian London from the author of the Blue Peter Award-winning Podkin One-Ear