The Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing: In association with The London Book Fair, LBA Books and The Independent

Six exciting new voices  have emerged in children’s literature as the shortlisted writers are announced in a groundbreaking new venture between a major leading children’s publisher, a luxury pen manufacturer, a national newspaper, an international literary agency and The London Book Fair.

The Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing, will give the winner a publishing deal, agent representation and a trip to Italy to the home of the world famous Montegrappa pens with the opportunity to immerse themselves in a weekend of writing in an historic and  creative environment.

Montegrappa, Scholastic, The Independent Newspaper, LBA Books and The London Book Fair have collaborated in the creation of a new writing prize designed to encourage dazzling fiction-writing talent for children within the age range of 7 – 12 years.  The competition, launched at this year’s London Book Fair in April, attracted nearly 1000 entries.

The Prize Judging Panel — 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, Books Editor at the Independent —  selected six entries that range from tales of circus troupes, young space pilots and lost monsters to stories of dethroned princesses, trainee evil geniuses and exploding grandmothers.  Commenting on the selection, Samantha Smith, Fiction Publisher at Scholastic, said: ‘We have been tremendously excited at the quality of the submissions we’ve received for the first ever Montegrappa Scholastic Prize. The imagination, creativity and breadth of storytelling from our shortlisted authors is truly outstanding.’

The Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing Shortlist 2014:

The Monster Orphanage: when Odel discovers he has a twin at the Monster Orphanage, he smuggles himself in to track them down. But the orphanage is gearing up for its annual Stomach Of Doom contest, and time is not on Odel’s side – and neither are the monsters. A story of friendship, rampaging, and hungry yetis called Shetland, The Monter Orphanage is by award-winning stand-up comedian Rohan Agalawatta.

Tin Jimmy: Megan has a secret, a big secret that only her recently-exploded grandmother knows. In seeking the truth about her family’s past, Megan uncovers a sinister magic lurking beneath her town – and with the guidance of the local bogeyman, Megan and her best friend Cam must take up their roles as unlikely superheroes to protect all they hold dear. Tin Jimmy is by PJ Bristow, who works with Inverclyde Community Development Trust and has also been a comedy script-writer and radio presenter.

The Flora Chronicles: Twelve year old Flora has spent all her life cooped up under the watchful eye of Dr Runcible and Miss Sapphire, little suspecting that she is the late king’s only heir. But rebellion is in the air across the land, and Flora is their only hope – but will Flora and her loyal friends be able to elude the murderous Vicereine? Author Nicola Sangster is an actress who has toured with the National Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe.

Elena Starfire: Elena has always dreamed of becoming a space pilot, and defies her family’s wishes by escaping their planet to join the Interstellar Flight Academy. But cadets are going missing from the Academy, and soon Elena is in possession of the biggest secret in the known universe. She may have her wings, but she will need them to navigate the storm ahead. Elena Starfire is by Nicola Teasdale, a Norwich-based primary school teacher.

Milly Delane Plots To Destroy The Moon: the Blackguard’s School For Tomorrow’s Tyrants is not used to such failure, but Milly and her friend Charlie are a disgrace to their families of criminal masterminds. When an asteroid threatenes to crash into the moon, this could be the chance Milly and Charlie have been waiting for to show exactly what they can do. Author Katherine Wiseman works as a freelance English tutor and owns three neurotic cats.

Poppy Pym And The Pharaoh’s Curse: abandoned as a baby at a travelling circus, Poppy Pym has grown up with acrobats, trapeze artists and jugglers as her family. Now she must leave them for the prestigious (though equally eccentric) St Smithen’s boarding school, but when a priceless Egyptian artefact is stolen from the school, Poppy summons her circus family to solve the crime – before the Pharaoh’s curse falls upon them all. Poppy Pym is by Laura Wood, currently in the final year of a PhD in English Literature at the University of Warwick.

Louise Lamont, Children’s Agent at LBA Books said: ‘We’ve had a wonderful summer reading through the hundreds of stories submitted to the prize, and I’m delighted with the diversity and imagination on display in our shortlist. My hope is that the competition has given a boost even to those who haven’t made it onto the shortlist, and I very much look forward to working with our fantastic prize partners to find our winner.’

Notes for Editors

The Prize:

The competition was open to unpublished authors in the UK and Ireland over the age of 18. The winner will be decided by the Montegrappa Scholastic judging panel and announced in October 2014, with their winning novel to be published by Scholastic for The London Book Fair 2015. The winner will also receive literary agent representation with LBA and a weekend for two in Italy to visit the home of Montegrappa where they will be presented with one of the company’s world-famous handmade pens.

The Montegrappa Scholastic 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, Books Editor at the Independent.

Each shortlistee will be profiled in a weekly spotlight between now and the announcement of the winner: visit for more details.

The London Book Fair contact: Tracey Jennings, Midas PR T: (0) 20 7361 7860

E: [email protected]


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