Woof, Woof: Write an animal story for the Mumsnet, Gransnet and Walker Books writing competition
Do you love making up stories for children? Why not enter the Mumsnet, Gransnet and Walker Books writing competition and see your story published in a beautifully illustrated gift book?
Last year, Mumsnet, Gransnet and Walker Books ran an incredibly successful writing competition to find 10 inspiring and original bedtime stories. Hundreds of people entered and the 10 winning stories were chosen by former Children's Laureate, Michael Rosen, and published in The Book of Bedtime Stories. The book was recently listed first in The Independent's top children's books for 2013, described as "beautifully produced ... could be a collector's item".
Mumsnet, Gransnet and Walker Books are now very excited to be launching the competition for its second year. This year, the theme will be animal stories.
So, if you're fed up of Old MacDonald and his farm and think your experience with children gives you a unique insight into what captures a child's imagination, we want you to enter our competition. Or, if you've always seen yourself as a writer, here's your chance to have a go. We are looking for prose stories (no poetry please) about animals, real or imaginary, big or small, for children between the ages of 4 and 7. We are looking for fresh, new voices, so no previous writing experience is necessary, just plenty of fun and original ideas.
Walker Books, Mumsnet and Gransnet will read every entry and select a shortlist of 20 stories. This shortlist will be announced on the website on 16th January 2014 and then passed to a panel of judges, including former Children's Laureate Anthony Browne, who will select the 10 winning stories to be published in the book. The other judges will be celebrities and public figures who all passionately believe in the importance of reading to children. Watch this space for more information on who is on the panel. It promises to be a very exciting mix! The winning stories will be announced on 10th February 2014.
The 10 winning authors will each receive a £500 prize and the winning stories will be illustrated and included in The Book of Animal Stories published by Walker Books in October 2014
This competition is now closed, see the list of winners here.
Show us your writing
Why not Tweet us a photo of you writing or reading your entry to a child? @MumsnetTowers or @WalkerBooksUK #storiescomp
Denise's Top Tips
As a Publisher at Walker Books, the largest independent children's publisher in the UK, Denise Johnstone-Burt has huge experience of reading submissions from new authors. Here are her top tips for writing a winning entry.
• Keep it different. We are looking for distinctive new voices, which are original and imaginative.
• Use your own experience. What excited you when you were young? What interests your child? What holds their attention?
• Children are discerning readers. Stories don't just have to be funny or silly to appeal to this age group; emotion and strong characters are important too. Never talk down to your reader.
• Don't forget to read your story aloud to a child. You will quickly see what is working and what could be improved.
For the best children's books, look for the bear: www.walker.co.uk
Words from last year's winners
• "If I could see the moon I'd be over it! To be chosen by such a respected children's author as Michael Rosen and Walker Books, my favourite children's publisher, is a major confidence boost to my writing journey." Philip Bell
• "As a child I promised myself and my parents I'd be a published writer one day, and then I got distracted for a couple of decades. So to have a story in a real book feels fantastic." Sophie Wills