WriteMentor Novel Award

2023 Novel-in-Development Award

Gain valuable feedback on your opening pages and synopsis, with the potential to win a year’s worth of one-to-one mentoring from a leading author

Writing a children’s book? Want to receive feedback on your opening pages with the chance to win a year’s worth of mentoring from a published author?

The 2023 Novel-in-Development Award, judged by a leading literary agent, is now open for entries of both unfinished and completed manuscripts

Meet our judge…Becky Bagnell, literary agent

The Lindsay Literary Agency was founded in 2008 by Becky Bagnell, who has been in publishing for over 25 years. She worked as a commissioning editor at Macmillan before becoming a literary agent in 2008. Becky’s clients have been published in over 30 languages across the world and include multi-award winning authors such as, Pamela Butchart, Sue Wallman, Sam Gayton, Josh Silver, Larry Hayes and Louise Finch. 

Gain feedback from adult and kid readers

We don’t offer feedback on our other novel award, so this will be the place to come for feedback, as well as a chance of winning the main prize and impressing a literary agent with your work. Everyone who enters will receive feedback from 1 adult reader and 1 kid reader. This feedback will cover 5 key areas:

  • Opening lines
  • The set up (incl. the promise of the premise/hook)
  • Character
  • Synopsis
  • Narrative voice

Supporting writers to finish a children’s novel

With this feedback and mentoring, work through the rest of your novel, refine your work, and get it ready for submission to agents. While this award is primarily designed to support writers working on an unfinished manuscript, we also encourage those who have completed novels to enter, as the feedback is still useful and the prize transferrable to a full manuscript developmental report.

In summary…

OPEN FOR NOVEL ENTRIES: Chapter Book, Middle Grade and Young Adult

Judge: Becky Bagnell,  Lindsay Literary Agency agent & founder

Entry: £10 (+£10 for feedback)

Winner prize: 1 year of Spark Mentoring at Level 3, 5000 words a month (worth over £800)

Runners-up prize: 1 year of Hub Membership (worth £250)

Awards closes: Sunday 14th May, 11.59pm

Who can enter? Any unagented and unpublished writer of Chapter Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult fiction of any genre.

Submit: First 1,500 words of your novel and a 1-page synopsis (at the start of the document).

Keep up-to-date: The longlist, shortlist, and winner announcements will be published via our website, Twitter, and newsletter.

“WriteMentor is such an encouraging environment I had no hesitation in entering. I loved that the novel did not have to be complete.”

Amanda Thomas, winner of WriteMentor’s 2021 Novel-in-Development Award

WriteMentor Awards


WriteMentor Spark is a monthly, online one-to-one mentoring service. Working with a children’s author, receive ongoing developmental editing, writing advice, publishing insights, and direct feedback on your manuscript to help you elevate your writing craft to the next level. With a choice of over 15 mentors from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences, get the tailored support you need to finish and polish your manuscript. 

The WriteMentor Hub is an online community of children’s writers at all stages of their writing and publishing journey. As a member, develop writing craft, receive critique on your work from peers and kid readers, pitch your manuscript to agents, and learn from and network with industry experts through monthly workshops, webinars, and chats. Most importantly, foster life-long friendships with fellow writers. 

Thanks to both WriteMentor Spark and the WriteMentor Hub, writers have completed novels and gone on to receive agent representation and even publishing deals. Read more about our success stories.

Could you our next success story? Our awards are designed to find the best talent in children’s publishing.

Entry Rules

  • Entries do not need to be complete but you should have minimum 1500 words and a synopsis to enter.
  • Open worldwide but entries must be in English.
  • You can also enter, even if your novel is complete.
  • We are accepting only CB/MG/YA entries of any genre.
  • You cannot be agented or traditionally published.
  • To clarify, self-published novels are eligible.
  • Independently published writers, who have not received an advance may enter, but not with the published novel.
  • Submit a 1-page synopsis (single-spaced) and then first 1,500 words (1.5 or double-spaced) in the same word document.
  • The word limit is not negotiable and if you exceed this, your entry will not be read. We suggest finishing at a suitable point before 1500 rather than mid-sentence. A great 1000 word entry, that finishing on a great cliffhanger is probably more effective than a 1497 word entry that stops in the middle of a scene.
  • Use 12″ and a plain font like TNR. Put page numbers in the footer.
  • Please DO NOT have your name in the name of the document you upload. We are reading and judging anonymously. The ONLY place your name should be is in the name field on the form.
  • Name your document in the format of ‘TITLE.docx’ – i.e. ‘THEHOBBIT.docx’.
  • The manuscript titles will be able to be matched with names based on your entry form alone. We want all entries to be read blind.
  • Those under the age of 18 are ineligible due to safeguarding reasons. If you are younger than 18 and wish to enter, please ask an adult to do this on your behalf.
  • You may enter as many novels as you wish, but will need to enter and pay for them separately.
  • All entries will be sent digitally. We are committed to being green and want to keep costs for writers down, so mail entries will not be allowed.


Enter the award

You don’t have to be great to get started but you have to get started to be great.

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