Best Novel Opening for Children or Young Adults

Submissions from 20th August 2021 to 22nd November 2021

We invite submissions for the opening 1,200 words of a novel for children aged eight to eighteen. You don’t need to have finished writing your manuscript to enter.


Top 10 Shortlisted Entries

Your story included in The Winners’ Collection, which is sent to literary agents and publishers to help your work get noticed.

Your story and biography included in our Winners’ Gallery on the Searchlight Awards’ website, which agents, publishers, friends and family can access.

Your story included in our annual Searchlight Awards’ Anthology, which features the best entries from all our competitions in the last year.

First Prize

All the above, with your story recognised as the Competition Winner, plus a one-to-one call with literary agent Gill McLay and £500 in cash.

Key Information

Submissions from 20th August 2021 to 22nd November 2021, midnight UK time

Judge: Gill McLay of Bath Literary Agency

Word limit: 1,200 words, not including the title

Entry fee per story: £11

Results published: 21st March 2022

Please read the rules below before entering the competition

Enter Now

Shortlisted entries will be published on our website, in our Anthology and in the Winners’ Collection for UK literary agents and publishers. Please tick if you wish to opt out of being published in any of the following:
Please ensure that your uploaded document doesn't contain your name, as these files will be sent to the judges. Each upload will automatically be linked to your entry.
Accepted file types: doc, docx, pdf, Max. file size: 512 MB.
If you are shortlisted, we will contact you for a short biography and photo. These will be posted on our website alongside your story.
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Competition Information