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your chance to win an agent and a publishing deal!

Walker Books, PaperCuts Literary Consultancy Ltd and the Sunday Independent have teamed up to create a brand-new writing prize, exclusively open to writers of Irish nationality and those resident in the island of Ireland. The award will be open to submissions from 1 May 2023 only on and will close on Sunday 16th July 2023. The longlist, shortlist and winner will be announced in October 2023.

What Are We Looking For?

  • An unpublished, completed work of fiction (25,000 - 70,000 words) written in English and aimed at readers aged 7 to 13 years of age.

  • A one-page synopsis of the work, plus a brief covering letter.


What Will You Win?


One winner will receive a publishing deal – including an advance and royalties – with Walker Books, representation by Polly Nolan of PaperCuts Literary Consultancy Ltd and coverage in the Sunday Independent.


Two runners-up will receive a one-year mentorship from Gráinne Clear, Senior Commissioning Editor at Walker Books and Polly Nolan, founder and MD of PaperCuts Literary Consultancy Ltd. The mentorship will help them further develop their work.

Who Is Eligible?

  • Writers aged 18 or older with Irish nationality and/or resident on the island of Ireland.

  • Unpublished authors who are not represented by an agent.

  • Self-published authors, as long as the novel they enter for the competition hasn’t been published anywhere previously, including online.

  • Published authors of non-fiction, poetry or fiction for adults who do not have an agent.

How Do I Enter?

From noon on 1 May 2023 go to and please submit the following:

  • An unpublished, completed work of fiction (25,000 – 70,000 words) in English aimed at readers between 7 and 13 years of age.

  • A one-page synopsis and a brief covering letter. Please be sure to include your email address.


Closing Date For Entries:

Midnight on Sunday 16 July 2023. Entries received after this will not be considered.

Announcement of Winners

  • The longlist will be announced on Sunday 1 October 2023.

  • The shortlist will be announced on Sunday 15 October 2023.

  • The winner and two runners-up will be announced on Sunday 29 October.


Who will be judging the prize?

  • Denise Johnstone-Burt, Publishing Director, Walker Books

  • Gráinne Clear, Senior Commissioning Editor, Walker Books

  • Polly Nolan, founder and MD of PaperCuts Literary Consultancy Ltd

  • Madeleine Keane, Literary Editor, Sunday Independent


I don’t have an agent but my novel is currently out on submission to agencies. Am I still eligible to enter?

Yes. However if you accept representation at any stage during the competition, you will be required to withdraw your entry.

I have Irish nationality but do not live in Ireland. Can I enter the competition?


My novel isn’t yet finished. Can I enter it in the competition?

Only completed novels are eligible. This is to ensure that the winning novel can be published in a timely fashion. Happily, we intend to run the competition on an annual basis, so hopefully you will be able to finish your book in time to enter it next year.

I am confused about the age bracket. My novel appeals to 12-year-olds but would be too sophisticated for a 7-year-old.

Generally, children’s fiction is broken roughly into the following age groups: 7-9; 9-11; 11-13. As long as your novel fits into one of those categories, we would love to see it.

I have illustrated my book myself. Should I send the illustrations?

If your book is heavily illustrated and the illustrations are an integral part of the story telling (eg a graphic novel or something like, say, the Tom Gates or Wimpy Kids series), please send the whole illustrated manuscript. Otherwise, you are welcome to include a single piece of artwork with your submission.

My book isn’t illustrated. Is that OK?


Are graphic novels eligible


How many times can I enter?

One entry only per person per year.

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