Archive for November, 2017

Budding writers become published authors with the Short Story Prize

Sunday, November 26th, 2017

The National Literacy Trust and Bloomsbury Publishing have announced the winners of the Short Story Prize.

The competition, which launched in March, challenged budding authors to capture children’s imaginations by recreating a classic fairy tale with a modern twist, aimed at an audience of eight to 12-year-olds.

 

Hundreds of 2,000 – 4,000 word entries were received and judged by a panel including award winning children’s author Chris Priestley, members of the Bloomsbury Editorial team and Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust.

 

The eight winning stories will all be included in an eBook anthology by Bloomsbury and the newly-published authors will also receive £200 each.

 

  • Beardunzel by Annie Edge
  • The Perfect Child by Charlotte Goddard
  • VANISHED by Frances Stickley
  • The Mysterious Transformation of the Prince of Amphibia by Stephanie Aslan
  • Sarah Snow and the Seven Spacecraft Engineers               by Mirandy Luby
  • Rapunzel’s Reunion by Emma Young
  • The Giant’s Child by Vicky McFarland
  • The Problem with Mr Woolf by Kelly Archer

 

The money raised from entrance fees to the competition will help the National Literacy Trust to continue its work helping to give disadvantaged children the literacy skills they need to succeed.

 

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust and Short Story Prize Judge Panellist said:

 

“Exciting and inspiring literature is vital to our work and we are delighted that the Short Story Prize has helped up to uncover such brilliant new children’s writing talent. A huge congratulations to our winners, who can now say they are published authors thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing.

 

“A huge thank you to everyone who entered the competition – the money raised will help us to inspire more children to enjoy reading, which has an important impact on how well they do at school and in the future.”

 

Ian Lamb, Head of Children’s Marketing and Publicity at Bloomsbury Publishing Plc said:

 

“We were blown away by the many wonderfully twisted Short Story Prize entries and are delighted to have discovered fantastic new writing talent with the National Literacy Trust.

 

“We hope that the published eBook will inspire young people across the country to enjoy reading… and perhaps even write a short story of their own.”

 

Find out more at www.literacytrust.org.uk/shortstories

CHICKEN HOUSE EXTENDS CHILDREN’S FICTION COMPETITION DEADLINE

Sunday, November 26th, 2017

As an early Christmas treat to aspiring writers and to celebrate its tenth year, Chicken House are extending the deadline for this year’s Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition to Wednesday 20th December 2017.
The annual competition – the UK’s most valuable for children’s writers – offers unpublished and unagented writers all over the world the chance to submit their work to Chicken House’s team of readers. One talented writer will win a worldwide publishing contract with Chicken House with a royalty advance of £10,000. We are on the lookout for original ideas, a fresh voice and a story that children will love!
To enter, writers must have written a completed full-length novel suitable for children or young adults aged somewhere between 7 and 18 years. We ask that manuscripts are a minimum of 30,000 and maximum of 80,000 words in length. Entrants can submit either online or via post.
The competition has sparked the careers of many successful children’s authors, such as Sophia Bennett (author of eight children’s books, including her 2009 winning novel Threads), Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison (authors of Lobsters, shortlisted for the inaugural YA book prize and a 2013 competition shortlistee), and Anna Day (author of The Fandom, Chicken House’s fastest-ever-selling foreign rights title and a version of which was shortlisted for the 2014 competition).
Judges last year included Chicken House’s MD Barry Cunningham (known for discovering J.K. Rowling), Times Arts Editor Alex O’Connell, Waterstones children’s buyer Florentyna Martin, and children’s authors Kate Saunders and Katherine Woodfine.
‘Since 2014, we’ve had three books published, seen them translated into more than ten languages, and spoken at literary events from Hay-on-Wye to Utrecht, and it is basically all thanks to the Times/Chicken House competition.’ – Tom Ellen, co-author of Lobsters and Freshers
‘Entering this competition is one of the best decisions I ever made. I was unpublished, unagented, unheard of, and now I’ve just sold my 25th licence … and I didn’t even win!’ – Anna Day, author of The Fandom
FAQs and full terms and conditions of the competition can be found at www.chickenhousebooks.com/submissions
For more information, please contact Jazz Bartlett: jasmine@chickenhousebooks.com

The Sleighmaker: A Christmas Story That’s Never Been Told By Ian Shepherd

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

As warming as a hot minced pie and mulled wine, this unashamedly traditional Christmas story will delight children and adults alike.

Set in the late 1800s, it’s a bitter-sweet tale that harks back to the traditional yuletide tales of the Victorian era.

An impressive debut novel by Ian Shepherd, The Sleighmaker is ostensibly aimed at children aged seven and up, though it will certainly appeal to kids in a higher age bracket. While it might be a little challenging for seven-year-olds to read by themselves, grown-ups are sure to enjoy reading it to younger children.

The main character is Drummond, a master-craftsman once known as the most talented sleighmaker in the land.

After a tragic event, Drummond turns his back on his trade and leads a lonely life, shunning the company of others, before an old friend manages to get him to agree to work on the estate of the local gentry, Lord and Lady Harrington.Here he labours alone, embracing the solitude his new work gives him, until his life is changed by the arrival of a cheerful young boy known only as William, whose way with animals manages to prevent a riding accident involving the Harrington’s young son, Henry.

Wise beyond his years, William comes to work as Drummond’s apprentice and, along with his close companion, kitchen maid Marny, manages slowly but surely to bring a warmth back to the sleighmaker’s life.

William discovers a magnificent sleigh that Drummond had once built, now mothballed in his workshop, and eventually convinces his master to restore it for the coming winter parade.

Filled with a real sense of purpose for the first time since the tragedy, Drummond gets to work on the sleigh, enlisting the help of his friend and artist, Auguste.

It’s not easy for Drummond to continue, given his traumatic experiences, but with the loving support of William and Marny he fashions a sleigh fit for a king.

There’s a magical twist to the tale that I won’t spoil, but it’s enough to say that Drummond’s sleigh gets to serve its purpose with aplomb and is finally rekindled with the Christmas spirit and the promise of a bright future.

The Sleighmaker is an unashamedly traditional Christmas tale a million miles away from the typical modern children’s books, and is all the better for it.

The sad but ultimately uplifting story of Drummond is rich with description and nuance, presents engaging characters with depth, and though dealing with some dark issues, does so in a sensitive way.

Ian Shepherd revels in the sights, sounds and tastes of a Victorian Christmas, with readers almost able to taste the rich cakes and chocolates, fresh-baked bread and hot soups that the author so evocatively describes.

And he is confident to take his time with the narrative, building up to the wonderful and memorable ending without ever rushing and forcing things.

It’s a charming, classic Christmas story that celebrates all that is good and true about this most special time of year and it would no doubt work very well on the big screen.

For anyone who yearns to return to a simpler, less commercial time; when Christmas was still a magical occasion about family and enjoying your time together as opposed to staring zombified into digital devices; this novel will be sure to delight.
The Sleighmaker by Ian Shepherd is out now through Raj Joshi Publishing and priced £11.99 in hardback, £6.99 paperback and £4.60 as a Kindle eBook. Visit Amazon UK.


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