We no longer accept unsolicited manuscripts, but we do offer unpublished writers of fiction (for children aged 7-18) the chance to submit their work to the annual Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition.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 2016 competition is now closed – keep an eye on this page for details of the 2017 competition. For further information and details on how to enter, scroll down to the section below … and check out the video of Chicken House MD Barry Cunningham crowning the winner of the 2015 Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition!

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

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Barry's tips...

... for entering the competition!

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? Former Chicken House editor, Imogen Cooper, has set up an exciting venture offering support services to promising writers.

Visit for more info.

The Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition

The Times Children's Fiction Competition

The 2016 Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition is now closed. Keep an eye out for details of the 2017 competition! 

Are you a writer with an original and exciting story for 7-to-18-year-olds? If so, we run an annual competition. Every entry will be read by our team of experienced readers in order to draw up a longlist of the very best submissions. Barry Cunningham and the Chicken House editorial team will then narrow these down to a shortlist of five.

Our prestigious panel of judges will then pore over the shortlist to choose the winner. The prize will be a worldwide publishing deal with Chicken House, with an advance of £10,000 (subject to contract).

Times Fiction Competition Judging Day

Barry Cunningham and the shortlistees at the 2015 Times Fiction Competition judging day.

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/young adults 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 and how to enter

Details of the 2017 competition will be announced soon.






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 still 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. 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.

Times Competition 1I have entered my manuscript into 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.

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

Can I pay with cash/postal orders/Paypal?

No. We cannot process cash, postal orders or Paypal payments. If you are a UK resident, please send a cheque made payable to Chicken House Publishing Ltd with your name, address, phone number and email address clearly written in capitals on the reverse of the cheque. If you are an overseas entrant, please email for information on how to pay.

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. 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!

Does my entry have to arrive by the closing date, or just be postmarked by that date?

Please ensure your entry arrives with us by the closing date by posting it in plenty of time. Any entries that arrive after the closing date will not be entered into the competition.

* 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 2017 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

Terms & Conditions