The Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing

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 www.scholastic.co.uk/montegrappaprize for more details.

About Montegrappa:
Montegrappa, Italy’s oldest manufacturer of luxury writing instruments, was founded in 1912 and operates, to this day, from the same historic building at the foot of the Monte Grappa mountain in North East Italy where Italians heroically defended their country during two world wars. Today, Montegrappa continues a long tradition of craftsmanship in producing exquisite hand-made masterpieces that celebrate mankind’s mastery of the written word. Appreciated by pen collectors, writers, statesmen and celebrities, as well as anyone with an appreciation of the finer things in life, Montegrappa’s products embody the pride, passion, style and sophistication that make up the ‘soul of Italy’. www.montegrappa.com

Montegrappa contact: Zeina Dakak Finch & Partners T: +44 (0) 20 7851 7153 M: +44(0)7788 161 438 E: Zeina@finchandpartners.com

About Scholastic:
Scholastic is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and a leader in educational technology and related services and children’s media. The Bookseller’s Children’s Publisher of the Year 2013, Scholastic is home to bestselling, prize-winning and much-loved authors, including: Julia Donaldson (the UK’s number one bestselling author in 2013), Liz Pichon (author of the multi-award-winning Tom Gates series), Terry Deary (author of the world’s bestselling children’s history series, Horrible Histories) and Suzanne Collins (author of the international teen young adult phenomenon, The Hunger Games).

Scholastic is committed to launching debut talent, as well as growing established authors and brands. www.scholastic.co.uk.

Scholastic contact: Penelope Beech Head of Trade Marketing & PR T: +44 (0) 20 7756 7777 E: pbeech@scholastic.co.uk

About LBA Books:
Founded in 2005 by Luigi Bonomi and Amanda Preston, LBA Books has quickly established itself as a home for hugely commercial authors and well-known names from Alan Titchmarsh, Fern Britton, Richard Hammond and Kirstie Allsop to Josephine Cox, Simon Kernick and Karen Swan.

In 2013, Louise Lamont joined the agency to help build its children’s department. www.lbabooks.com

LBA contact: Louise Lamont Agent T: (0) 20 7637 1234 E: louise@lbabooks.com

About The London Book Fair (LBF):
The London Book Fair (LBF) is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels. Taking place every Spring in the world’s premier publishing and cultural capital, it is a unique opportunity to explore, understand and capitalise on the innovations shaping the publishing world of the future. LBF brings you direct access to customers, content and emerging markets. LBF 2015, the 44th Fair, will take place from Tuesday 14-Thursday 16 April 2015, Olympia London. LBF’s London Book and Screen Week will run for the second year, with the book fair as the pivotal three day event within a five day programme. London Book and Screen Week will open with LBF’s Publishing for Digital Minds Conference on Monday 13 April, the day before LBF opens. Mexico is Market Focus country in 2015, following Korea in 2014. In 2014 LBF’s charity of the year was Book Aid International.

For further information, please visit: www.londonbookfair.co.uk.

The London Book Fair contact: Tracey Jennings Midas PR T: (0) 20 7361 7860 E: tracey.jennings@midaspr.co.uk

About The Independent:
Independent contact: Arifa Akbar Literary Editor T: (0) 203 615 2090 E: a.akbar@independent.co.uk

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