Culture & Creative IndustriesNews

The Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival and the Salariya Book Company have opened their 2021 Children’s Picture Book Prize for submissions.

The competition, which launched in 2017 and celebrates its 5th year in 2021, is open to unpublished and unrepresented writers and illustrators, with a prize value of £1000. The winner will receive career advice from a leading literary agent and publicity through the Stratford Literary Festival, and the winning entry could also be published by independent publishers Salariya’s imprint, Scribblers.

The final date for entries is 31st January 2021 and the winner will be announced in late February.

The competition is designed to champion writers and illustrators who have struggled to break through in a crowded market, and all previous winners have received a publishing contract or found agent representation. The 2020 prize was shared by two entrants, Jo Surman and Kael Tudor, and Jo Surman’s book, Snow, will be published by Salariya in spring 2021 to coincide with the Literary Festival.

Says author/illustrator, Kael Tudor: ‘Winning the 2020 Stratford/Salariya Picture Book Prize was not only an amazingly exciting experience, but it was also a life changing one. Thanks to the competition I now have a literary agent and have begun my journey to becoming a published author.’

Joint winner Jo Surman added: ‘Winning the 2020 children’s book prize has been extraordinary. The validation has boosted my confidence enormously and has given me the confidence to pursue a career in illustration knowing that big names in the industry believe in me.’

This year’s judges include David Salariya, Founder and MD of The Salariya Book Company , Annie Ashworth, Director of the Stratford Literary Festival, Smriti Prasadam-Halls, internationally best-selling author of titles including I Love You Night and Day, Jodie Hodges of United Agents, literary agent for children’s books, Jane Churchill, children’s literary events programmer, and Tamsin Rosewell, bookseller at the independent Kenilworth Books.

‘It is very exciting to be launching our fifth year of the book prize,’ said Annie Ashworth, Stratford Upon Avon Literary Festival Director. ‘Sharing stories with children has never been more important when many children have missed out on the opportunity to access books with libraries and bookshops closed for so long during lockdown, and we are delighted to be offering authors and illustrators the chance to get their work seen and possibly published.’

‘We’re very pleased to be partnering once again with the Festival on the prize,’ said David Salariya, ‘Every year we get more and more excellent entries, and we are very excited to be publishing Jo’s charming book. Hopefully the 2021 entries will be as strong as 2020 and we look forward to seeing them.’

For details of how to apply go to