Children’s Book and Illustration Prizes and Awards

Children’s book writers and illustrators, especially when they’re starting out, often need all the help – financial and moral – that they can get. To have your work recognised as showing promise and to be given a prize or an award is enormously encouraging, and a sum of cash can give an author or an artist some valuable creative breathing space.

There are many prizes and awards for unpublished and published works for children, and a few for individuals or organisations who have made important contributions to the development of children’s books – you can find a complete list in the Children’s Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook. We’ve tried to sift through them to find prizes and awards that might be interesting and relevant for new and emerging authors and illustrators…


Arts Council site Book Awards

For new children’s fiction writers. The Arts Council and publishers Orion and Random House collaborate each year to select the best three previously unpublished children’s authors, and reward them with a publishing deal and a sum of money.


Best New Illustrators Award

Organised by Booktrust UK, this award celebrates the best rising talent in the field of children’s illustration today. The prizes are awarded to ten emerging illustrators whose work shows special promise.


BolognaRagazzi Award

Prizes are awarded to encourage excellence in fiction, non-fiction, and by authors and illustrators being published for the first time.


The Branford Boase Award

To encourage new writing talent and to celebrate the role of the editor, an annual award of £1,000 is given to a first-time author of a novel for children or young adults (age 7+) published in the previous year. The editor of the novel is also recognised and awarded.


CBI Book of the Year Awards

These awards are made annually to authors and illustrators born or resident in Ireland, and include the Eilis Dillon Award for first children’s book.


Cheltenham Illustration Awards

Every year, students and new illustrators are awarded for showing outstanding promise. The winning entries and a selection of runners-up have their work exhibited and published in a full-colour annual. First prize for the new illustrator is £1,000, runners-up £500. Student winners are rewarded with an Apple Mac computer.


The Roald Dahl Funny Prize

This is such a lovely award that we wanted to mention it, although your title would need to be published before you enter. Founded by former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen, it awards the funniest books in two categories – for children aged 6 and under and for children aged 7–14. Prizes are £2,500 each, plus a bottle of wine from the Dahl family cellar.

NB. This prize is on pause and will be re-launched in 2016.



Organised by the publishers Floris Books, this competition awards new writers of fiction for 8–12 year olds. The novel must be previously unpublished, and set mainly or wholly in Scotland. The winner receives £2,000 and their book is published by Floris Books.


New Writers Award

Awarded to new Scottish writers. Last year two authors were awarded prizes in the children’s and young adult fiction category, and given £2,000 cash each to help them develop their writing.


The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition

For unpublished authors: every year a prize is awarded to the best children’s novel for readers of 7–18 years. The winner is announced in The Times and their novel published by Chicken House, together with an advance of £10,000.


Waterstones Children’s Book Prize

A prize to recognise and encourage new and emerging children’s book writers, with Waterstones’ booksellers voting for their favourites. There are three categories: picture books, children’s fiction 5–12 and teenage fiction. Category winners are awarded £2,000 each, and the overall winner £3,000, with all titles receiving lots of instore publicity!


Winchester Writers’ Festival Competitions

Organised by the prestigious Winchester Writers’ Festival, prizes are awarded in the following categories: children’s picture books, ages 4–7; children’s funny fiction, ages 8–14; and writing for children aged 8–12. As well as a cash prize, winners have their work published in the festival anthology, The Best of 2015.


Funding Awards

Arts Council England, London

Grants are available from the Arts Council England through the ‘Grants for the Arts’ scheme to award a variety of creative projects. See the website for an application form.


Creative Scotland

Support is offered to writers by this organisation, through various open funds. Have a look at their website to see if you’re eligible.


Arts Council of Wales

Grants are available for individuals undertaking creative endeavours. Look at the website for criteria and an application form.


Literature Wales

This organisation awards bursaries of up to £10,000 for unpublished, Welsh children’s books writers. Check the website to see if you’re eligible.