Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 23, 2023

Enter The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition – unpublished – unagented writers

THIS IS A UK PUBLISHER, so you will need to pay £20 to submit, which is around $23.74 dollars. That is why they point you towards PayPal, since you can send it through them and they will convert it so Chicken House receives the correct amount. You do not have to be from the UK to submit, but you will also need to submit your manuscript online, using the link in the pink box.

Chicken House doesn’t accept unsolicited manuscripts, but they do offer unpublished and unagented writers of children’s fiction the chance to submit their work to the annual Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition. They’re looking for original ideas, a fresh voices, a diverse range of entries and stories that children will love! They’d particularly like to encourage entry from writers from underrepresented backgrounds.

First prize is a worldwide publishing contract with Chicken House with a royalty advance of £10,000, plus an offer of representation by this year’s agent judge, Davinia Andrew-Lynch of Andlyn literary agency.

The second prize, the Lime Pictures New Storyteller Award, is a publishing contract with a royalty advance of £7,500 plus an offer of representation by Davinia Andrew-Lynch. The prize will be awarded to a manuscript that shows great potential for film and TV development.

To enter, you must have written a completed full-length novel suitable for children/young adults aged somewhere between 7 and 18 years. By full-length we suggest a minimum of 30,000 words and a maximum of 80,000 words.

Entry to the 2023 competition is now open!

Are you an unpublished and unagented writer with an original and exciting story for 7-to-18-year-olds? If so, why not enter our competition? We’re offering not one but TWO fantastic prizes:

The Overall Winner
The main prize is a worldwide publishing contract with Chicken House with a £10,000 advance (subject to contract). Our esteemed panel of judges will select the overall winner, who will also receive an offer of representation from a top literary agent, Davinia Andrew-Lynch. The winner will be the entrant whose story, in the opinion of the judges, demonstrates the greatest entertainment value, quality, originality and suitability for children.

The Lime Pictures New Storyteller Award
Our bonus prize, sponsored by Lime Pictures, will be awarded by Barry Cunningham (Chicken House MD and Chairman of the Panel) and Tim Compton (Co-Head of Kids & Family at Lime Pictures) to a complete fiction manuscript for children aged 7 up to Young Adult that in their view shows great potential for film and TV development.

Lime also has a ‘first look deal’ for the shortlist and winning submissions, meaning the exclusive right to consider all shortlisted entries for film/TV development for a defined period of 45 days after the winners’ announcement. Any subsequent offer from Lime for TV/film rights is not part of the Lime Pictures New Storyteller Award, nor is the author or their agent required to accept any such offer. Please see the terms and conditions for more details.

Shortlisted entrants who don’t win will receive a letter summarising their reader’s, the Chicken House editorial team’s and the judges’ comments on their submission. All longlisted entrants will receive a reader’s report of their work.

Submission Dates and Fees
Our annual competition opens on 1 December 2022. The deadline for entries will be at 23:59 UK time on 1 June 2023. Any entries received after the deadline will be disqualified, unless you have experienced technical difficulties which prevented you from submitting successfully before the deadline. Please ensure you enter in good time!

The standard submission fee has risen to £20 – however, if you are in financial hardship, please email by midday (UK time) on 29 May to request a reduced fee of £15. You do not need to provide proof or justification when requesting the reduced fee.

How to enter

There are two ways to enter the competition, online OR (for UK entrants only) by post. Please choose one of these options and follow the instructions below.

1. Enter online

You will need to create a single Word document containing the following submission materials:

  • A page-long covering letter explaining why you believe your novel would appeal to children and telling us a bit about yourself.
  • A page-long synopsis of your story. Please include all the main points of your plot in your synopsis, including ‘spoilers’ – we need to know what happens at the end!
  • The full manuscript.

Please note that all materials submitted online will be read digitally on e-readers so exact formatting will not be retained.

If you have any questions regarding entry to the competition, please see our Competition FAQs or, if you can’t find your answer, email

2. Postal entry

This method of submission is for UK entrants only. If you would prefer to enter a hard copy of your manuscript, please print out the submission materials outlined above. The covering letter and synopsis should be single spaced, but please double space the full manuscript and print on both sides. Secure the submission with an elastic band and place it inside a cardboard wallet/folder. Please enclose a cheque payable to Chicken House Ltd for £20, and write your name, address, phone number and email address on the reverse of the cheque. Post your submission and cheque to:

Chicken House
2 Palmer Street, Frome
Somerset, BA11 1DS

Please send one copy only and mark your envelope CHILDREN’S FICTION COMPETITION. If you wish us to acknowledge receipt of your entry, you must enclose a self-addressed postcard with sufficient postage attached.

If you have any questions regarding entry to the competition, please see our Competition FAQs or, if you can’t find your answer, email

Good Luck!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Thanks, Kathy. Great information.


  2. Thanks, Kathy!


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