guppy-single-mono copy

The Guppy Open Submission competition for middle-grade writers is back!

In April, we were over the moon that Nadia Mikail’s YA novel, The Cats We Meet Along the Way, won the Waterstones Overall Children’s Book Prize 2023 – it was a huge accolade for Nadia and shows the great love that booksellers have for her beautifully original book. And it came from the very first Open Submission Competition we ran here at Guppy Books in 2020. It is an extraordinary novel and was chosen from nearly 400 submissions.

The winner of the 2021 middle-grade competition was the incredible James Dixon with The Billow Maiden which we published in 2022, a critically acclaimed and beautifully evocative novel, and 2022’s worthy winner Olivia Collard’s YA novel will be published by Guppy in spring 2024. Not before a runner-up in the 2021 competition, Carrie Sellon, has her book Pizza Pete and the Perilous Potions, published in June this year by Guppy. All these talented writers submitted for this competition and we are very grateful that they did!

And now, we are throwing open the portholes again… Between 12th and 16th of June 2023, we ask all unpublished and unagented middle-grade writers to submit their novels for consideration in the competition. We strive to be as open as we can be with as few barriers to entry as possible, and encourage all aspiring writers to apply.

Please email your submission to between 9am GMT on Monday 12th June and 6pm GMT on Friday 16th June 2023.

To submit, please include the first 2000 words of your middle-grade novel (or thereabouts – if it’s a bit less or more due to chapter breaks, that’s fine), plus a synopsis. Please don’t worry too much/spend much time on the synopsis – we want to see it in order to get a sense of what happens in your story, but your writing itself is much more important.

Please email as a Word document. ONE SUBMISSION PER PERSON. Any enquiries, please email

A winner will be announced in the autumn of 2023, after whittling down to first a longlist and then a shortlist – please keep an eye on social media and the Guppy Books website for updates along the way.

All shortlisted authors will be offered an editorial meeting with Bella Pearson. The winner will be offered a contract with Guppy Books (with no obligation to accept).

We do not charge an entry fee, though we would invite all entrants to buy a book published by Guppy Books if they can (available from all bookshops and online retailers as well as the Guppy shop).