#WriteMentor Children’s Novel Award

The #WriteMentor Children’s Novel Award is a competition for unagented and unpublished YA/MG fiction writers. In 2020, we are opening up the award to writers of PB and CB, too.

We aim to run the contest once a year with the entry window opening in December and closing at the end of January. 

#WriteMentor was set up to help novelists take their writing to the next level, so this competition is being run to help find the best and most exciting already well-crafted manuscripts and to give them a platform to help catapult them to the next level.

See the 2019 award details here:

#WriteMentor Children’s Novel Award 2020

2020 Shortlist Judge:

Alice Williams

Alice Williams of Alice Williams Literary.

Alice set up her agency after representing children’s books for over ten years at David Higham Associates. She’s a passionate champion of the writers and illustrators she works with, and she’s frequently in awe of the beauty and sense of wonder (or absurdity) that her clients create!

Alice focuses on sensitive editorial/portfolio development, submitting and showcasing clients’ work widely, tenacious contract negotiation, and considered rights management. 

She offers the personal support that gives her clients confidence to concentrate on their creative work, and the editorial and industry expertise that paves the way to commercial success.

Alice lives and works in London and has an extensive network of industry contacts in the UK and abroad. She attends the Bologna and London Book Fairs each Spring, as well as writers’ conferences throughout the year.

Alice actively scouts for talent, and is open to submissions.

She’s especially keen to consider playful, funny books for all ages, and is on the lookout for heart-warming, exciting and empowering stories, whether in a realistic, contemporary setting, or a wildly imaginative fantasy world – or somewhere in-between.

Mysteries, adventures, suspenseful thrillers, animal stories, science fiction, science fact, twisted fairytales, friendship stories, environmental issues, real-life heroes – these are just a few examples of the genres and themes that make Alice smile when they arrive in her inbox. Especially if they have an unexpected twist or a fresh perspective.

Children’s books should be inclusive, and Alice is keen to see submissions from writers and artists from communities currently under-represented.

2020 Prizes: 

Winner – £500 and trophy
Shortlist – a place on #WriteMentor programme
(if you’re not agented by June 2020)

We are also offering a 1 year mentorship with #WriteMentor Spark, at Level 3 worth £480, for the best placed entry featuring a BAME main character, written by a BAME author.

Who can enter?

Any unagented or unpublished writer of PB/CB/MG/YA fiction of any genre.

How much does it cost?

Entry fee is £10. If you are low-income and unable to pay this, you can enter for free. However, this is limited to 30 spots and 1 free entry per writer. (So enter early if you want a free spot).

Our aim is to give an opportunity to everyone in our society, particularly those who are less privileged. 

Why charge a fee at all?

We have some small expenses to cover and we want to award a cash prize to help the winner develop their writing in some capacity.
We are also going to pay our readers this year (last year everyone volunteered) and to ensure our child readers get a greater value book voucher (only £1.50 per reader last year and some of them read 20-30 extracts and novels).

What do I need to submit to enter?

We are looking for the first 3,000 words of your novel and a 1-page synopsis (at the start of your single document).

For PB, we will want the whole manuscript.

What are the important dates?

Entry window: December 1st 2019 to January 31st 2020.

Longlist announced: February 2020.

Shortlist announced March 2020.

Winner announced: April/May 2020.


  • All entries should be for completed manuscripts (or complete and polished by January 2020).
  • We are accepting only PB/CB/MG/YA entries of any genre.
  • You cannot be agented or traditionally published.
  • To clarify, self-published novels are eligible. 
  • Indie published writers, who have not received an advance may enter, but not with the published novel.
  • Submit the first 3,000 words (1.5 or double-spaced), preceeded by the synopsis (single-spaced) at the start, in the same word document. 
  • For PB writers, send us the whole manuscript, with a short synopsis at the start.
  • 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.
  • Use the PayPal /Stripe link or Bank Transfer to pay your entry fee.
  • If you are unable to pay this, simply type FREE in the box on the entry form. You do not need to provide any evidence or explanation for this.
  • However we are limiting the FREE entries this year to 30 and one FREE entry per person.
  • If you are long listed, we will contact you after the announcement to ask for your full manuscript. Please send this within 7 days. 
  • If you are shortlisted, we will forward your full manuscript onto our judge, Alice Williams.
  • All announcements will happen via the site, so do sign up to receive alerts of new blog posts and to our mailing list, as well as Twitter account.
  • Those under the age of 18 are ineligible due to safeguarding reasons.
  • You may enter as many novels as you wish, but they must be complete and unpublished.
  • 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.