Here’s something pretty snazzy —


A.M. Heath and Lizza Aiken, Joan’s daughter, are launching a competition to find a standout new voice in middle grade children’s fiction…. “We are looking for a standout junior novel. 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.”

It was from a commenter here that I found out that Aiken had written more than The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. I’m slowly reading others by her and I guess it will be quite some time before I run out, since she wrote a ton of books.

So, all of you out there who are more widely-read in Middle Grade than I am, this might be something to keep an eye on. However, right at the moment the criteria for entry seem extremely strict:

The Joan Aiken Future Classics Prize is open to un-agented children’s book writers resident in the UK or Ireland … we’d like to see the first 10,000 words PLUS a short description of the book (a few lines) AND a one page outline that shows the spine of the story. Please send this as a Word doc attachment to

Unagented writers only? Residents of the UK only? Ooookay, doesn’t look to me that they’re really interested in casting a wide net. Perhaps the prize will morph into something more inclusive in the future.

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