Writing for children: The Joan Aiken Future Classics Prize

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08 May 2017
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wolves-66145.jpg The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
The new £1,000 prize from A.M. Heath and Lizza Aiken is to find a standout new writer of middle grade children's fiction

 

The new £1,000 prize from A.M. Heath and Lizza Aiken is to find a standout new writer of middle grade children's fiction

Joan Aiken was an outstanding, prize-winning children's author whose books included The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, the first title in her Wolves Chronicles series.

Launched today, the competition is for an outstanding junior novel by an unpublished children's writer. It will be judged by literary agent Julia Churchill of A.M. Heath and Lizza Aiken, Joan Aiken's daughter. The winner will receive £1,000 and a full set of the Wolves Chronicles. Shortlisted writers will be invited to meet Julia and discuss their work. There is the possibility that a writer, or writers, may be offered representation.

'We are looking for a standout junior novel,' said Julia. 'It could be contemporary or magical, it could have the makings of a series, or be one crystalline stand-alone. We know we’re setting the bar high. We hope to find a book that will be in print in fifty years, as Joan achieved with the Wolves series – and many other books.'

'Joan Aiken, if asked to come up with a winning formula for a children’s book, would say it must have three important elements: movement – a really taut narrative to pull the reader away from other distractions, mystery – to increase a sense of wonder, and a marvellous ending that surprises and also satisfies,' said Lizza.

To enter, writers should be unagented and resident in the UK/Ireland. Send the first 10,000 words, a short description of the book and a one-page outline.

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The closing date to enter the Joan Aiken Future Classics Prize is 31 July.

 

 

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