When The Times went behind a paywall I did think this competition would suffer, but I'm pleased to see it is still running despite the difficulties in finding the info.
The entry cost is high- £15, to cover the administration costs for the large number of entries received- but if you do get into the longlist you will get an editorial report on your entry.
"Your full-length manuscript (no more than 80,000 words, with a suggested minimum of 30,000 words), suitable for children aged between 7 and 18, must be received by the closing date of November 1, 2013."
But you will also need to include: a brief synopsis- no more than one page and it should give an overview of the whole story etc. A submission letter explaining the book's appeal to children, and a plot plan. (see the requirements in the terms and conditions).
There will be a longlist of 20 authors announced in January 2014. Then in March 2014 the shortlist of 5 entries will be announced. The revelation of who has won is just listed as spring 2014, but t&c's state expected result about the 29th March 2014.
"The winner will be the entrant whose story, in the opinion of the judges, demonstrates the greatest entertainment value, quality and originality.
The prize is the offer of a worldwide publishing contract with Chicken House, with a royalty advance of £10,000, subject to a signed contract."
And these terms are really important; but it's good to see self-published books aren't excluded.
"Entrants must be aged 18 or over. One entry per person. Entries must be submitted by the author, not an agent. Entries must be the original work of the entrant and not previously commercially published and distributed, however, self-published works are allowed. The entrant must not have previously commercially published any whole children’s novel in any country. Resubmission of previous entries (excluding previous winners) is accepted. Entries must be written in English, picture books and graphic novels will not be accepted and illustrations will not be considered. " (Details from The Times here.)
But do read all the detailed terms and conditions here on the Chicken House web pages. (And note number 11.)
You can't enter by e-mail, entries have to be received by post, so don't leave it to the last few days before the deadline...
The instructions on the Chicken House terms and condition pages are very precise, even down to how your manuscript should be presented.
There's an alternative prize for the best entry if the judges decide that none of the finalists are of a standard to be offered the stated contract.
This is a serious competition to enter, so double-check you are fulfilling the terms and conditions to the letter before sending your entry... And good luck.
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But if you aren't ready for the Chicken House competition yet, or just starting out, then you might want to consider a workshop.
11th May, 10am to 4pm, Writing for Children- is it kids stuff? With Coventry based author, and Raring2Read winner, Ann Evans.
The cost is subsidised, so you will only be paying £20 for the day, including tea and coffee.
If you're interested download the booking form here and follow the instructions on the bottom of the sheet.