About the competition What’s in a good idea? How to enter
Closing date
02 / 09 / 2014
The 2014 competition is now closed
Check back soon for details of this year’s winners and other Big Idea news
Open to everyone! From 13 to 113 years old!

Tell us in 500 words!

Win the chance of seeing your idea transformed into a book, TV, movie or theatre production!

Championed by a top publisher, writers and entertainment experts.

‘All you need is imagination ...’

Tess Daly, TV Presenter and Broadcaster

‘A great idea can come from anywhere.
It’s where the magic of storytelling begins ...’

Barry Cunningham, Children’s Publisher

What's in a great story idea?

Who’s in it?

We love characters who are ordinary but become extraordinary in some way. We also enjoy great villains. Remember, your characters don’t have to be human and they’ll probably need help from others. What are they called? What do they look like? What do they do?

Who’s it for?

Yes, it’s for children, but which age group? A romance for teens or a fantasy for 8-year-olds? How do you want your audience to feel along the way?

What happens?

An idea only becomes a story when something happens. A call to adventure. A personal discovery. A quest or journey. Where does your plot start and end?

When and where?

The best stories take us to places we might never go. What does your story setting look like? And when does your story happen? It could be past, present or future? Just down the road? Or in a fantastical land?

‘A mind-boggling opportunity for your big idea to become a reality, with help and advice from people with real know-how.’
Philip Ardagh, Bestselling Children’s Author

Let us show you!

Here’s an example...

If Peter Pan was an entry to The Big Idea
it would look like this!
View Peter Pan example

How to enter

1. Think of an original story that children will love.

2. Download and complete the entry form.

3. Send your entry to:

The Big Idea Competition,
c/o Chicken House Publishing,
The Chicken House,
2 Palmer Street, Frome
Somerset, BA11 1DS

Closing date: 2nd September 2014

Winners announced: November 2014

Terms and conditions of entry

The competition is now closed

What’s the prize?

1 Winner

will receive £1000 in cash
and the promise that their idea will become the inspiration for a complete story written by a successful children’s author, and be published as a book worldwide.

The winner will be named alongside the author and offered an agreed royalty on every book sold. Plus, their story will be presented for TV, film, theatre and more.

5 Runners-up

will also win a £1000 cash prize and the chance of seeing their idea turned into a book, TV, film or more.

The 6 winners will be announced in November 2014

The Judges

Tess Daly
Tess Daly

Tess started her career as a successful model and today is best known for her flagship-presenting role on BBC1’s celebrated show Strictly Come Dancing. Tess became a L’Oreal ambassador and spokesperson for UK and Ireland in 2013. Tess has written three books, including The Baby Diaries which was in the Sunday Times bestseller list for a number of weeks. Tess is a joint patron of Great Ormond Street Hospital and a Prince’s Trust Ambassador for the Prince of Wales.

Neil Blair
Neil Blair

Neil Blair is one of the most respected agents in the business, having managed J.K. Rowling from the earliest stages of her career to literary phenomenon and trans-media pioneer, and Harry Potter into one of the best-loved and most valuable entertainment brands of all time. Neil is interested in the business of creativity, innovation and brand. 

Barry Cunningham
Barry Cunningham

Barry Cunningham is the children’s publisher who first published J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. He now champions new writers and ideas at Chicken House, the publishing house he founded in 2000, now owned by Scholastic Inc. NY. In 2010, he received the OBE for services to children’s literature. He is a father of six and lives in Somerset.

Debra Hayward
Debra Hayward

Debra Hayward is an acclaimed British film producer. As Head of Film at Working Title Films, Debra has spearheaded countless hit movies including Les Misérables, Johnny English, Senna, Nanny McPhee and Bridget Jones. Debra recently founded her own Film and TV production company, Monumental Pictures.

Philip Ardagh
Philip Ardagh

Described by The Independent as ‘a national treasure’, award-winning children's author Philip Ardagh has written around 100 books translated into around 40 languages. He wrote BBC Radio's first truly interactive radio serial, co-wrote Sir Paul McCartney's only children's book, reviews books for The Guardian, and is currently developing a TV series with Ragdoll Productions. 

Sonia Friedman
Sonia Friedman

Sonia Friedman is a West End and Broadway producer responsible for some of the most successful theatre productions over the past few years. Recent productions include The Book of Mormon, Twelfth Night & Richard III, Chimerica and Jerusalem. Forthcoming productions include Shakespeare in Love, The River and Hamlet. Sonia will also collaborate with J. K. Rowling on a new stage play based on the Harry Potter stories.