2018 sees the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival and the Salariya Book Company hold the second annual Stratford-Salariya Children’s Book Prize, to find the next big children’s author/illustrator. The Prize will form part of the Festival’s ongoing Sharing Stories Project, to encourage reluctant readers and parents to read with their children, and the winner will be announced in April 2018 at the book launch for the 2017 title. The judges this year are:
David Salariya, Founder and MD of The Salariya Book Company, Annie Ashworth, Director of The Stratford Literary Festival, Nick Butterworth, the award winning author/illustrator, Smriti Prasadam-Halls, children’s author, Steven Lenton, children’s author/illustrator, Jodie Hodges of United Agents, literary agent for children’s books, and Vanessa Lewis, co-owner of the award-winning Book Nook Children’s Bookshop, Hove.
The prize is open to author/illustrators or author and illustrator teams aged 16 or over based in the UK who have not had a children’s picture book published and distributed online or in bookshops previously.
The winning story will be published in jacketed hardback in 2019 by Salariya imprint Scribblers, and be on sale in bookshops and via online book sale sites. The winner or winning team will also receive advice and guidance from the children’s literary agent Jodie Hodges of United Agents plus an advance of £5000 against royalties.
Right now, you might be thinking to yourself ‘I’d love to see my own picture book in shops! But what is it that makes for an entry that stands out from the crowd?’ Well, with 28 years of experience in publishing a wide range of children’s books, The Salariya Book Company has obviously developed some ideas about what makes for a successful picture book (and a potential prize winner…):
For one thing, the story needs to be simple but inventive and memorable. There are only really a limited number of simple stories and messages that can be communicated to young children via a picture book, so the trick is the presentation, which must be original and engaging so that the narrative is refreshed for a new generation of readers.
The language should be straightforward but fun and always add value to what is depicted in the illustrations; rather than merely repeat what is already shown in the pictures, the text should add descriptive colour and help bring the story to life. Rhythmic language can work well (but not rhyming text, please, which is very difficult to translate!) making the story fun to read and re-read aloud for parent and child and helping the early development of literacy and speech skills.
And, of course, the illustrations are highly important: whether they’re visually-beautiful or charming or humorous, they must ensure that the book catches the eye and offers something both inviting and different from the numerous other picture books available.
So don’t delay! If you think you’ve got a picture book in you just screaming for the opportunity to get out, enter the Stratford-Salariya Picture Book Prize 2018 and you might make your dream of being a published author a reality.
More information about entering the prize, as well as terms and conditions, can be found here.