Submissions Policy


We no longer accept unsolicited manuscripts, but we do offer unpublished writers of fiction (for children aged 7-18) the chance to submit their work to the annual Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition.

The 2015 competition has now closed. 

For more details about the competition take a look at the section below …

Please note, as we have recently suspended our picture book list we no longer accept submissions of picture book texts/illustrations.

Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition




In January 2015 we will announce the longlist here on our website and will be sharing extracts from the longlisted entries on the Times website. A shortlist will be drawn up in February 2015, with the winner chosen and announced at the end of March 2015. 


Read on for details of what we're looking for ...

What Chicken House are looking for:

Original ideas, a fresh voice and a story that children will love! To enter, you must have written a completed full-length novel suitable for children aged somewhere between 7 and 18 years. By full-length we suggest a minimum of 30,000 words and ask that manuscripts entered do not exceed 80,000 words in length.

What you can win:

First prize is a worldwide publishing contract with Chicken House with a royalty advance of £10,000, plus representation from a top children’s literary agent*. All longlisted entrants will receive a reader’s report of their work.

When to enter:

The competition is open from 12 June, 2014 and will close 31 October, 2014

Your Entry:

Once we start accepting entries, you will need to send us a hard copy of the full manuscript (double-spaced; font size 12pt), a 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 and a chapter-by-chapter plot plan outlining the major events of each chapter. Please secure your manuscript with an elastic band and place it inside a cardboard wallet/folder. You will also need to enclose a cheque for £15 made payable to Chicken House Publishing Ltd. Please 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**. We cannot accept entries by email.


The winner:

A longlist of approximately 20 entries will be selected by the Chicken House readers and will be announced in January 2015. Barry Cunningham will then select a shortlist of five manuscripts, announced in February 2015. The winner will be selected by the panel of judges (including Barry Cunningham of Chicken House, Amanda Craig of The Times, and a top children's author) from the shortlist of five manuscripts. The winner will be announced at the end of March 2015.


Where should I send my entry?

Send your full entry in an envelope marked CHILDREN'S FICTION COMPETITION to:

Chicken House

2 Palmer Street



BA11 1DS

Can I enter my picture book into the competition?

No. The competition is for full-length novels only.

I have already self-published my novel. Can I still enter it into the competition?

Yes. You may submit a novel if it has been self-published. You may send the self-published copy if you wish to.

I have previously had published a short story/poem/picture book for children. Can I still enter?

Yes. This year we have extended the opportunity to enter to those authors who may have already had published a children’s picture book. Writers who have had short stories or poetry published are also eligible to enter.

I have entered my manuscript to the competition before, but wish to submit it again. Can I?

Yes. We understand that manuscripts can change significantly between drafts and we encourage writers to continue to improve their work. Therefore, this year we have changed the rules so that previously submitted manuscripts can be re-entered into the competition.

I am under 18. Can I enter?

No. The competition is open to writers over the age of 18 only. If you are under 18 and would like to receive an email with advice for young writers, please email

Is the competition open to international entrants?

Yes. For information on how to make your payment from overseas, please contact

I've entered the competition, but my payment hasn't been processed. Does this mean my entry was not accepted?

Due to the huge number of submissions, it can take a while for all payments to be processed. We aim to have all payments processed by mid-December. Your entry will still have been submitted into the competition - we'll only be in touch if there's a problem, so don't worry! 


* Subject to contract. For full terms and conditions of the prize please read the Competition T&Cs. Terms and Conditions may be subject to change before the 2016 competition opens. Please check you are submitting in accordance to the most up-to-date T&CS.
** International entrants may request confirmation by email but must include a slip with their entry expressing their wish for confirmation along with their full email address. For details on how to make payment from overseas, please contact

Need Advice?

Take a look at our Writers' Guide,

Packed with useful hints and tips, plus a list of invaluable resources & links to useful organisations, it’s a great place to start.


Want some professional advice on your work? Chicken House editor, Imogen Cooper, has set up an exciting new venture offering support services to promising writers. Visit for more info ...