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Free Children's Fiction Competition with Kickback Media

This competition has now closed. No further entries will be considered. The winning entry will be announced via the W&A blog pages on 20th November, 2018.

Win £200 and a chance to engage with industry professionals on your own writing project!

Are you a great new writing talent waiting to be discovered? Writers & Artists have teamed up with Kickback Media to offer a slightly different type of free children's fiction competition.

The Creative Writing Challenge

The competition writing challenge is about bringing to life a scenario that Kickback Media have created. 

The creative task is to, figuratively speaking, open the door into a unique world, maybe surprising, exciting, threatening, unnerving or even scary. Wherever you decide to take us and however you decide to make us feel, your words should create emotional echoes and leave us wanting to read more. 

This isn’t a traditional beginning, middle and end type story competition. This is simply your chance to show us how you can bring characters and scenes to life, how you can paint pictures with words, how you can engage a potential target reader. 

You have 2,000 words maximum in which to achieve this.

Your target audience is a 10-year old confident reader.

The Scenario Brief

Your central character is a 12-year old child. 

In 2,000 words you must establish your character and the world in which they live/operate. The world must be either Magical/Fantasy, Dystopian, Futuristic or Exaggerated Reality Comedy. Please avoid purely naturalistic, real world settings. 

In the 2,000 words your character must be presented with or confronted by a challenge, a significant challenge. There is a great deal at stake and your character knows that the challenge brings with it a heavy burden of responsibility: and there is much they do not fully understand.

Within the 2,000 words there must be at least two dialogue sequences. Your character must engage and speak with at least two other characters, one of whom is a partner, sidekick, companion type character.  

The what, why, where, who and how are entirely your choice; but you will need to keep the target readership in mind.

Creative Writing Challenge: Notes

We are looking for ‘high concept’ scenarios as opposed to domestic, social realism, naturalistic, situations/worlds. Thus Artemis Fowl as opposed to Tracy Beaker. 

The level of jeopardy and what is at stake, emotionally and physically, is your choice. 

There is no requirement to have worked out or decided what has led up to the situation your character is in or what happens next to your character – unless it helps you create the scene. Remember the wider plot / story is not the focus of this creative writing challenge. This is about creative writing skills not story plotting skills.

Your submission can read as if we have opened a book at a random page and begun reading. Or, it could be the first 2,000 words of a story, or the start of a new chapter…it is entirely your choice. Either way, as readers, we do not need to know what has gone before the 2,000 words, nor know what happens after the 2000 words. 

The more you intrigue and excite our imaginations the stronger your piece of writing will inevitably be. What is most important is that that we are left desperately wanting to read and know more. 

Based on our experience, we strongly advise you not to cut and paste your entry from an existing piece of work

So, think big, not small. Be as imaginative as you can. Make us feel for your character.  Excite us with your world.

Good luck!

Judging Panel

The judging panel will be made up of:

Annie Eaton

Annie Eaton started her career at Puffin Books and went on to become Fiction Publisher at Random House Children's Books, latterly Penguin Random House Children's Books. As a former editor and book publisher Annie has worked with some of the most exciting voices in children's books over the last three decades, including Malorie Blackman, Philip Pullman, Susan Cooper, Jonathan Stroud, John Boyne, Siobhan Dowd and Helen Cooper. Annie is now a freelance editorial consultant. She believes passionately in the power, value and pleasure of reading - for all ages! 

Gill Evans

Gill Evans has been an editor and publisher of children's fiction for over 30 years, launching the Mammoth (now Egmont) picture book and fiction list in 1989, moving on to become Head of Children's Books at Random House and most recently acting as Editorial Director and Fiction Publisher with Walker Books where she commissioned Michael Morpurgo, Cassandra Clare and Angie Thomas and edited prize-winning books by Mal Peet and Frank Cottrell Boyce.  While overseeing the Mammoth imprint Gill was shortlisted as British Book Awards Editor of the Year and currently is longlisted with Jacob Sager Weinstein for the author/editor Branford Boase award. Gill is currently working as a freelance editor and children’s publishing consultant.

Ingrid Selberg

Ingrid Selberg has been a leading publisher of children’s books for over 30 years. As MD of Reed Children’s Books ( now Egmont) and most recently Simon & Schuster,  she has published many fiction prizewinners (Waterstones Prize, Guardian Fiction Prize, Branford Boase) and bestselling authors such as Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, Scott Westerfeld, Darren Shan, LJ Smith, Michael Morpurgo and Philippa Gregory. Recently Ingrid has created and co-written a teen series Girls Can Vlog, under the pseudonym Emma Moss, which is published by Macmillan Children’s Books and has been sold into 13 languages and optioned for TV. The fifth title Festival Frenzy is to be published in 2018.

John Lomas-Bullivant

John Lomas-Bullivant is the Founder of Kickback Media and has over 30 years' experience working in children's media with experience gained at Senior Executive level at Bloomsbury Publishing, Fireback Entertainment, Loonland, Pearson Television and HiT Entertainment. John was one of the first European media executives to espouse a 360-Transmedia approach to content creation and exploitation as far back as 2002. John is one of the co-creators of Project FX.  


The competition winner will receive:

  • A cash prize of £200
  • The opportunity to submit one of their own writing projects to the judges and receive a 2/3-page critical report of their submission
  • A one-to-one meeting with Annie Eaton and John Lomas-Bullivant to discuss their writing project and the report
  • The opportunity to discuss collaborating with Kickback Media as a potential writer-author on one of the projects they are developing
  • The judges will offer Commendations to 9 other entries

Terms & Conditions

By entering the competition you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions below:

This competition closed at midnight on 30th September, 2018

• Only entries submitted as PDF or Words Documents will be considered.

• Only ONE submission will be read per writer. No multiple submissions.

• All submissions should be sent by email to Please write Project Argo Submission in the subject line.

• Please give your submission document a Unique Title, include Your Name and state which world you have chosen to set the extract in - Magical/Fantasy, Dystopian, Futuristic or Exaggerated Reality Comedy. E.G 'Element 6' - John Smith, Dystopian.

• Please provide your contact details in your email to us. 

• The winner will be announced on 20th November 2018 with the winning entry published online at and

• The judges will also draw up a list of 9 Commended Submissions which will be acknowledged alongside the overall winner.

• Copyright and ownership of all submitted material is acknowledged as belonging to you. In the event of us wishing to discuss developing any material you have created for the competition we will contact you after the competition has closed. 

• Due to the volume of entries we are unable to enter into dialogue about your submissions during or after the competition. 

• The Judges’ decision is final.  

• The winner will be invited to discuss co-developing and potentially writing a book, currently entitled Project Argo, on terms to be mutually agreed with Kickback Media Ltd. We do not guarantee that the winner of the competition will be contracted to write a book by Kickback Media Ltd. 

• The winner will receive payment by bank transfer within 14 days of being announced.

About Kickback Media

The competition is being organised by Kickback Media. Kickback Media has over 15 years' experience working in children's media, creating and developing story based content for across children's television & distribution and publishing.

Kickback Media is currently developing a new collaborative approach to creating original and stand out children's publishing IP targeting the Children's Middle Grade and Young Adult publishing market.

They are actively looking for...

1. New writers to work with them on a slate of exciting new children's novels that they are developing targeting an 8+ readership.

2. New ideas from unpublished writers that they can help you develop and secure publishing deals for.