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Are you the next JK Rowling? Scholastic has a new book prize just for you

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Scholastic, one of the world’s leading publisher of children’s and Young Adult books, is on the prowl for the next JK Rowling.

The Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing will be awarded to one “brilliant” new children’s author, and the winner shall be offered a publishing deal with mega book distributer Scholastic. Any unpublished writers or self-published writers who have a story which will appeal to children aged 7-12 years old are eligible to enter.

According to Adam Sherwin’s article for the UK’s The Independent, the newspaper and esteemed literary agency Luigi Bonomi Associates (LBA) are partners in the prize, which was launched at the April 2014 London Book Fair by Malorie Blackman, the Children’s Laureate.

Sherwin states that, “The judging panel includes Cerrie Burnell, children’s author, CBeebies presenter and patron of Booktrust; Samantha Smith, Fiction Publisher at Scholastic; Louise Lamont, Children’s Agent at LBA; and Arifa Akbar, Literary Editor at The Independent.

Entrants must submit the first 5,000 words of their book by 2 June 2014. The shortlist will be announced at Edinburgh International Book Festival in August.

The winner will be announced at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October and their debut novel published for The London Book Fair in April 2015.

The winning author must not have any current literary representation. The organisers are hoping to uncover a newcomer, who may be crafting their future best-seller in a café back-room, just as JK Rowling did when she began plotting the Harry Potter novels.

As well as a publishing deal, the winner will receive a £5,000 advance, literary agent representation with LBA and a trip to Venice to visit the home of luxury pen-maker Montegrappa.

Malorie Blackman, who has written acclaimed novels for young adults, including the Noughts & Crosses series, which examined racism, offered her tips to the authorial hopefuls.

“My advice is to read as much children’s literature, across as many genres as you can, to get a feel for the language and the vocabulary,” she said. “Then hone your story and write from the heart. It could be something that makes children laugh or it could be a scary book - but if it’s something that interests you first and foremost then hopefully children will want to read it as well. And don’t give up.”

Aspiring writers who have self-published novels may still participate. Entrants must be aged 18 or over, live in the UK or Ireland and must not be in possession of a criminal record.

Ready to enter? Follow this link to the official Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children's Writing website.

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