EXCLUSIVE: New children's writer competition


17 January 2018
kickback-logo-58283.jpg Kickback
Kickback Media and Writing Magazine have teamed up to find a new writer to develop a new novel for ages 8+
EXCLUSIVE: New children's writer competition Images

Are you a great new writing talent waiting to be discovered?

Kickback Media have enlisted Writing Magazine and Writers Online to try to find a new writer to work with on a magical new children’s novel targeting an 8+ readership.


The Opportunity
We are convinced there are many talented UK writers who have yet to find the right story vehicle to show off their abilities to the world of children’s publishing. We believe we have exciting story ideas that could help you turn your writing ambitions into a writing career.
If you like the idea of working collaboratively and helping us bring new story ideas to life - in your style and with your flair - then this is the competition for you.

Company Background
The competition is being organised by Kickback Media. Kickback Media has over 15 years’ experience working in children’s media, creating and developing story-based content for across children’s television & distribution and publishing.
Kickback Media is currently developing a new collaborative approach to creating original and stand-out children’s publishing IP, targeting the Children’s Middle Grade and Young Adult market.
We are looking for a new writer to work with us on our first, magical new children’s novel targeting an 8+ readership.
The Prize

  • The competition winner will receive a cash prize of £250.
  • The competition winner will have the first opportunity to discuss collaborating with us as the writer-author on our first idea, ‘Project FX’, which we will be taking to London Book Fair in 2018.
  • The competition winner will have the opportunity to submit one of their own projects to the judges and receive a critical assessment followed by a chance to meet and discuss their project with judges Annie Eaton and John Lomas-Bullivant.
  • The judges will offer ‘Commendations’ to nine other entries.


The Judging Panel will be made up of:
Annie Eaton
Annie Eaton started her career at Puffin Books and went on to become Fiction Publisher at Random House Children’s Books, latterly Penguin Random House Children’s Books. As a former editor and book publisher Annie has worked with some of the most exciting voices in children’s books over the last three decades, including Malorie Blackman, Philip Pullman, Jacqueline Wilson, Jonathan Stroud, John Boyne, Siobhan Dowd, and Helen Cooper. Annie is now a freelance editorial consultant. She believes passionately in the power, value and pleasure of reading - for all ages!

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John Lomas-Bullivant
John Lomas-Bullivant is the Founder of Kickback Media and has over 30 years’ experience working in children’s media with experience gained at Senior Executive level at Bloomsbury Publishing plc, Fireback Entertainment, TV- Loonland, Pearson Television and HiT Entertainment. John was one of the first European media executives to espouse a 360-Transmedia approach to content creation and exploitation as far back as 2002. John is one of the co-creators of Project FX.
Henry Coate
Henry Coate is a creative director and designer with over 20 years’ experience. His esoteric back catalogue of projects include the set and prop design for the Monty Python reunion, a T-Rex autopsy and a range of bespoke designs for Swatch. He also develops content and concepts for children’s media and currently has 3 animated TV projects in development. Over the years he has worked with many well-known brands including Mattel, CBeebies, Technicolor, Disney, Google, Sky Kids and Nat Geo. Henry is one of the co-creators of Project FX.

Leighton Johns
Leighton Johns is an experienced and award-winning illustrator and storyboard artist, passionate about visual storytelling. He is one of the co-creators of Project FX. Leighton has created storyboards, concept art and character designs for the entertainment industry and helped creative agencies to visualise campaigns for renowned brands including ‘Coca-Cola’, ’BMW’, and ‘Kellogg’s. His artwork adorns the covers of authors like Eoin Colfer and China Miéville, and he has produced interior illustrations for international publishers such as Hodder & Stoughton and Pan Macmillan.



The Creative Writing Challenge
This competition is NOT about creating a story.
The writing challenge is about bringing to life a scenario that we have created: showing us how you can bring characters and scenes to life, painting pictures with your words in a way that will instantly engage a potential target reader.
The creative task is to, figuratively speaking, open the door into a unique world, maybe surprising, exciting, threatening, unnerving or even scary. Wherever you decide to take us and however you decide to make us feel your words should create emotional echoes and leave us wanting to read more.
You have 2,000 words maximum in which to achieve this. Your target audience is an 8+ avid reader.

The Scenario Brief
Your central character is a 10 year old child.
In 2,000 words you must take your central character from a known situation / world into an unknown and fantastical situation / world.
In the situation or world you create your character must encounter a new character or creature that is in some way magical.
Within the 2,000 words there must be at least two dialogue sequences.
The how, why, where, who and what are entirely your choice; but you will need to keep the target readership in mind.

Creative Briefing Notes
We are looking for ‘high concept’ scenarios as opposed to domestic, social realism, naturalistic, situations. Thus Artemis Fowl as opposed to Tracy Beaker.
The level of jeopardy and what is at stake emotionally and physically is your choice. It simply needs to be age appropriate.
You do NOT need to have worked out or decided what has led up to the situation your character is in or what happens next to your character – unless it helps you create the scene. Remember the wider plot / story is not the focus of this particular creative challenge.
Your submission can read as if we have opened a book at a random page and begun reading. Or, it could be the first 2,000 words of a story...it is entirely as you wish. Either way, as the reader, we do not need to know what has gone before the 2,000 words, nor know what happens after the 2000 words.
What is MOST important is that our imaginations are inspired by your words and that we are left wanting to read and know more.
Think Big, not small. Be as imaginative as you can. Make us feel for your character. Excite us with your world.
Good Luck!

Submission Details / Terms and Conditions
• By entering the competition you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions below.
• Submission Deadline is midnight, 23 February, 2018.
• All submissions should be sent by email to [email protected] and titled Project FX Submission.
• The winner will be announced – by email to all entrants – on 13 March, 2018, and published online at www.writers-online.co.uk.
• The judges will also draw up a list of 9 Commended Submissions who will be acknowledged.
• Only entries submitted as PDF or Word documents will be considered.
• Copyright and ownership of all submitted material is acknowledged as belonging to you. In the event of us wishing to discuss developing any material you have created for the competition we will contact you after the competition has closed.
• Due to the volume of entries we are unable to enter into dialogue about your submissions during or after the competition.
• The Judges’ decision is final.
• The winner will automatically have the right of first negotiation to co-develop and write a book, currently entitled ‘Project FX’, on terms to be mutually agreed, with Kickback Media Ltd. We do not guarantee that the winner of the competition will be contracted to write a book by Kickback Media Ltd.
• The winner will receive payment by Bank Transfer within 14 days of being announced.

To enter, send your pdf or doc file by email to: [email protected] by midnight on 23 February 2018.