Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition Extended For 2021

  • Chicken House extends deadline to 14 May 2021
  • New IET 150 Award, in partnership with the Institution of Engineering and Technology, introduced for 2021
  • TWO £10,000 publishing deals up for grabs
  • 60% of previous shortlistees now published


Chicken House Publisher Barry Cunningham says, ‘When we first planned this year’s competition, we’d hoped for a 2021 which felt a little more normal. But the extraordinary times we’re living in continue – presenting extraordinary challenges to writers everywhere. We recognise our potential entrants are juggling varying but ever-changing landscapes of work, childcare, health and mental wellbeing. As such, we’ve decided to extend the deadline by several months in the hope of offering fresh motivation to new writers the world over – and allow as many as possible a chance to submit.’

The Times/Chicken House Competition is open now and will close on 14 May 2021. As well as the top prize of a publishing contract with Chicken House with an advance of £10,000 – picked by a panel of expert judges from across the industry – a second prize, sponsored by the IET, has been introduced for 2021.

The IET 150 Prize, introduced to celebrate the IET’s 150th anniversary and offering a £10,000 publishing contract, will be awarded to a manuscript which broadly explores or celebrates STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). The prize will have a separate judging panel, including Chicken House’s Barry Cunningham, the IET’s President, Professor Danielle George MBE, and a star author, to be announced. IET President, Professor Danielle George MBE, said: ‘The IET 150 Award celebrates the endless possibilities Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths present. Coupled with the creative minds of some of the very best undiscovered writing talent in the UK, I think we are going to have some exceptional stories that push the boundaries of innovation and adventure.’

Last year’s Overall Winner was Varsha Shah with her novel Adjay and the Mumbai Rail Times. The winner of the Chairman’s Choice Award (replaced with the IET 150 Award for 2021), chosen by Chicken House Publisher Barry Cunningham, was awarded to Fran Hart and her novel The Other Ones. Chicken House plans to publish both novels in 2022.

The competition is now open and the judges are looking for original ideas, a fresh voice, a diverse range of entries and stories that children will love. Entrants must have written a completed full-length novel suitable for children/young adults aged somewhere between seven and 18 years with a suggested length of between 30,000-80,000 words. Entry costs £18 and is open to writers from all over the world, as long as they write in English, are unagented and have not had a children’s book published before.

For more details on the competition and instructions on how to enter, please visit the Chicken House website: www.chickenhousebooks.com/submissions

For more information please contact Jazz Bartlett Love: jasmine@chickenhousebooks.com

About Chicken House

Chicken House is an independent-minded children's book publishing company that loves new writers, brilliant artists and fresh ideas. Founded in 2000 by Barry Cunningham, the original publisher of Harry Potter, over the last 20 years Chicken House has demonstrated that a small, creative publishing team based in Somerset can make an impact on an international scale.

In 2007, in association with The Times newspaper, the company proudly launched The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition for undiscovered talent. This has since grown into a well-established annual event, recognised for having produced a clutch of successful new authors. Every submission is read by a team of expert readers, and many previous shortlistees and longlistees have gone on to be published. In January 2020, 2017 competition winner Jasbinder Bilan won the Costa Children’s Book Award with her Times/Chicken House winning novel, Asha & the Spirit Bird.

For more information, visit www.chickenhousebooks.com or follow Chicken House on Twitter: @chickenhsebooks


About the IET

We inspire, inform and influence the global engineering community to engineer a better world.

We are a diverse home for engineering and technology intelligence throughout the world. This breadth and depth means we are uniquely placed to help the sector progress society.

We want to build the profile of engineering and technology to change outdated perceptions and tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.

Interview opportunities are available with our spokespeople from a range of engineering and technology disciplines including cyber-security, energy, engineering skills, innovation, manufacturing, technology, transport and diversity in engineering.

For more information, visit www.theiet.org

Follow the IET on Twitter.

Media enquiries to:

Hannah Kellett

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T: +44 (0)7725 498 129

E: hkellett@theiet.org

Sophie Lockhart

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