Danny studied English Literature at the University of East Anglia, where he also learned to fly with the RAF. He has lived in Austria, Kenya, Devon and Australia but always longed to return to the Lake District where he grew up messing about in boats and camping on islands, and where his first novel, Spylark, is set. He now lives in Lancaster with his family and works on the staff team of a city centre church. He loves exploring wide open spaces with an Ordnance Survey map, writes late at night, and firmly believes in the power of a good story.
Ever since the accident, Tom’s struggled with his mobility. But he has a secret escape: Skylark, his drone.
Through this technology, he can fly above his Lake District home, exploring his world from a totally different perspective. But when he stumbles upon a terrorist plot, he knows no one will believe him. Maggie and Joel, a sister and brother on holiday in his aunt’s cottage, are the only ones who can help … but can they stop the plot in time?
ONE MONTH to go ...
There is just one month left to enter the special tenth anniversary Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition, which closes on 28 February. Are you excited? (WE ARE!) (more…)
Why YOU should enter the Chicken House competition, by FROSTFIRE author Jamie Smith
Jamie Smith is the debut author of Frostfire, out this month! He was picked up via the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition, and here he outlines his journey to publication and explains why YOU should enter this year … (more…)
An ode to writing competitions ...
Nicki Thornton's debut novel The Last Chance Hotel won the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition in 2016 and is currently Waterstones' Children's Book of the Month. Nicki has dropped by the blog to share how the competition changed her life ...
THE LAST CHANCE HOTEL is Waterstones CBOTM!
IT'S HALLOWEEN TIME. Yup, for the entire month of October it's entirely acceptable to dress solely in costume and only communicate via songs from The Nightmare Before Christmas (Halloween or Christmas film? The eternal debate). AND, seeing as the weather has become properly autumny now, we have even more of an excuse to stay inside and read – and we've got you covered. (more…)
The 10th Times/Chicken House Competition is OPEN!
READY ... SET ... GO!
The summer holidays are over, but don’t worry, we have some fantastic news to brighten your day: the new Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition is now OPEN! What’s more, it’s the competition’s tenth birthday – yippee!
We’re still on a high from announcing this year’s winner, Trudi Tweedie, with The Lion and the Unicorn. And now we’re celebrating reaching double digits in four EXTREMELY exciting ways:
- 1. We’ve just bought rights to the fantastic Jelly by Clare Rees, which was shortlisted for the 2018 competition!
We’ve bought UK/German rights to the fabulous Jelly from Claire Wilson at RCW and we can’t wait to share this incredible, one-of-a-kind story with you all. Jelly is a highly original, hilarious and completely gripping account of a post-apocalyptic world in which a group of teenagers are trapped on a giant jellyfish - you’re going to love it!
- 2. We’re offering not one but TWO prizes this year!
Yup, that's right. Obvs we'll be offering our usual first prize of a publishing contract with a £10k advance, but there will be another publishing contract up for grabs: the 'Chairman's Choice', a book hand-picked by our very own Barry Cunningham, the author of which will get a £7.5k advance. It’s going to be awarded to a book that shows huge potential but perhaps needs a little more work than the winner.
- 3. We're closing the competition later than ever, on 28 February 2019.
This will give you more time to polish, edit or even WRITE your fabulous children’s book before the deadline! Go on, we dare you.
- 4. We’re coming to YOU!
We’re planning a host of promotional and outreach events across the UK – because we want the competitions to be more accessible than ever, and for EVERYONE to feel motivated to enter. In fact, we’re positively bursting to find the most diverse bunch of writers ever this year. Keep an eye on our social media for details. (And psst ... discounted entry might be a possibility for those who attend ... watch this space!)
And here’s a fun fact to motivate you even more: out of the writers who have been shortlisted or won the competition since 2008, a whopping 58% have now been published either by Chicken House or other traditional UK publishers. We’re so proud of them all!
The competition is open to writers from all over the world, as long as you write in English, are unagented and have not had a children’s book published before. For more details on the competition and instructions on how to enter, check out our submissions page.
Good luck – we can’t wait to see what stories you’ve got for us this year!
Asha & the Spirit Bird
Asha lives on the family farm with her mother in rural India.
Her father is away working in the city, and when the money he sends stops suddenly, a wicked debt collector arrives. She’s determined to seize the property – and the treasure rumoured to be hidden on the land. Guided by a majestic bird which Asha believes to be the spirit of her grandmother, she and her best friend Jeevan embark on a journey to the city, across the Himalayas, to find her father and save her home …
A gorgeously original magical-realist Indian adventure and the winner of the 2017 Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition.
According to family stories, Jasbinder was born in a stable in the foothills of the Himalayas. Until she was a year and a half, she lived on a farm inhabited by a grumpy camel and a monkey called Oma.
Jasbinder graduated from Bath Spa University where the seeds of her story were nurtured, but it was the incredible bond with her grandmother which was the inspiration for Asha & the Spirit Bird.
She lives with her husband, two teenage boys and dog Enzo in a man pad and splits her time between teaching and writing.
And the winner is ...
On Wednesday 20 June, at 10.30am, we welcomed a prestigious panel of judges to the Artist’s Residence in London Victoria for our 2018 judging day. (more…)
Meet the judges!
Sound the klaxon: the Times/Chicken House judging day is TOMORROW! We’d like to introduce the fabulous judging panel who – alongside our very own Barry Cunningham and Times Arts editor Alex O’Connell – are all set to help us pick the winner … (more…)
Meet our fifth shortlistee
Amy Bond is our fifth and final shortlistee - she's shortlisted for her magical middle grade story Morgana Mage in the Robotic Age! (more…)
Meet our fourth shortlistee
Meet shortlistee number four, Trudi Tweedie, who has been shortlisted for her YA mystery novel THE LION AND THE UNICORN ... (more…)
Meet our third shortlistee
Just over a week until we announce this year's Times/Chicken House comp winner! Today we're introducing shortlistee number 3: Alison Padley-Woods, shortlisted for her story The Firestone of Avisriel. (more…)
Meet our first shortlistee
It’s only TWO WEEKS until our panel of judges decides on the winner of this year’s Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition, and we’re super excited to find out who will win our publishing contract! (more…)
Jamie Smith is the debut author of Frostfire, shortlisted for the 2016 Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition. Between working as a retail software developer and dealing with the whims of cats, he has written more books than he should have and is always working on more. He lives near Stafford.
Chosen for the honour of bonding with a frostsliver – a fragment of the sentient glacier that crests her icy home – Sabira embarks on the dangerous pilgrimage to the top of the mountain. But when a huge avalanche traps her on the glacier and destroys the pass, Sabira is determined to find another way home. In order to survive, she must face up to the merciless mountain – but there are dark and fiery secrets hiding in its depths …
Memorable, original world-building and an icy, Tibetan-themed setting combine in a truly stand-out middle-grade adventure.
It was INCREDIBLY difficult to choose only five top manuscripts from this year’s excellent longlist. Huge congratulations to our longlisted authors on proving such a tough playing field! (more…)
We have a longlist!
First of all, we’d like to extend a massive thank you to everyone who entered this year’s Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition. The standard of entries was incredibly high and our team of readers had a virtually IMPOSSIBLE task in whittling them down to the final eighteen. But we did it, and the wait is finally over! (more…)
Nicki Thornton has run an independent bookshop with her husband for more than ten years and loves the wonderful alchemy that comes from bringing together authors and readers. Her favourite part of the job is hearing from children about the books they love, including from her own two boys, and this inspired her to start to write. Her dream of seeing her own name on the shelves has come closer with her magical murder mystery The Last Chance Hotel winning the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2016.