Announcing the Greenhouse Funny Prize

We are thrilled, delighted & tickled every shade of pink to announce that the Greenhouse Literary Agency, in conjunction with the Festival of Writing, has created the Greenhouse Funny Prize for children’s writers. Greenhouse’s Julia Churchill loves every kind and flavour of children’s writing, but she doesn’t get enough submissions that make her laugh. So help her out. Enter the prize. You could win representation from her and a ticket to the Festival of Writing besides. What’s not to like? Here’s Julia:


Julia Churchill, Greenhouse Literary Agency

I’m excited about something. The UK side of the Greenhouse is running a prize in conjunction with this year’s Writers’ Workshop Festival of Writing. It will be called the Greenhouse Funny Prize.

At Greenhouse we love all sorts of writing. We love edgy, wincingly close-to-the-bone YA fiction, we love thrilling, commercial concepts with big surprises, and beautiful and heartfelt younger stories. I could keep going, but in short, we love quality. And there’s something that Sarah and I agree that we don’t see enough of: Funny.

I had the idea for a prize because every time I sit down with an editor and ask what they’re looking for, they generally say, ‘Funny. We need humour’. When I was little, half of my reading was humour – Dahl, the Ahlbergs, JUST WILLIAM, MR MAJEIKA, WHAT-A-MESS, FUDGE, ASTERIX. And there is loads of great humour on the market today – WIMPY KID, Andy Stanton, Lauren Child, Dave Pilkey, David Walliams. Funny is selling in the shops, publishers are wide open to it, and yet we don’t see that represented in our submissions inbox. We want more laughs.

The Greenhouse Funny prize is open to un-agented writers who are currently resident in the UK and Ireland. Entries will be judged by me and guest judge Leah Thaxton, Publisher of Egmont Children’s Books (and discoverer of Andy Stanton).

The winner will get an offer of representation from the Greenhouse and a full weekend ticket to the wonderful Festival of Writing that runs 7-9 September ’12 (worth £525). The winner will also be presented with a bottle of champagne at the Festival’s gala dinner on the Saturday night. The runners up will each get five of my favourite funny books, and maybe even a comedy mug.

Our judging criteria is very simple. Funny, and we are wide open to all ages. The winner may be a picture book like OLIVIA or DON’T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS, or a young series à la HORRID HENRY, FLAT STANLEY, THE GREAT HAMSTER MASSACRE or UNDEAD PETS, or for 8-12 year olds like Lemony Snicket or RAMONA. It could even be for teen readers, like Louise Rennison, DOES MY HEAD LOOK BIG IN THIS? or THE PRINCESS DIARIES. It’s going to be the person with funny in their DNA.

Funny is subjective, of course. Perhaps the winner will have a slow-burning, sly wit. Perhaps a Python-esque sense of the absurd. Or maybe the concept, and the freshness and immediacy of it, will do much of the heavy lifting.

Entry guidelines:

To get a good sense of the voice and where the character is headed, we’d like to see the first 5,000 words PLUS a short description (a few lines) of the book AND a one page outline that shows the spine of the plot.

If you are submitting a picture book (or shorter fiction that comes in under 5,000 words), then send the complete text.

Please send your entries to

The deadline for submissions is Monday 30 July.

You must be resident in the UK or Ireland.

The shortlist will be announced Monday 6 August. We anticipate that 6 writers will be shortlisted.

The winner will be announced Monday 13 August. If we get two or more outstanding entries, we may offer representation to more than one writer.

Entrants will not be acknowledged on receipt, but all entrants will be emailed when the shortlist is announced.

In the meantime, if you want to book a place at the Festival of Writing, please go ahead and do so. If the winner of the Greenhouse Funny Prize has already booked for the Festival, the Writers’ Workshop will refund your money and (if needed) upgrade your ticket.

This entry was posted in Literary agents. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Pingback: Greenhouse Funny Prize for children’s writers » Birmingham Writers’ Group()

  • Kate Murray

    Should the 5000 words be in the body of the email or as an attachment? Thanks. 🙂

  • Harry

    Attachment please! pdf, doc or docx file.

  • Sinclair Forrest

    Hi. Is there a maximum word count? (Not that I’m planning something like “War & Peace” or even remotely close :))

  • Harry

    No. It needs to be the right length for your genre. So a YA novel could easily be 50,000 words, but a picture book of the same length would be suicidal. If in doubt, go to a bookshop and check out what the competition are doing.

  • tim

    can i sent my entry by hard copy?

  • Harry

    Please don’t ask us! Ask Julia @ the Greenhouse agency. We’re here to cheer her on, support the prize and offer a prize to the winner. But she’s the main woman.

  • Is the competition only for unpublished funny work?

  • Harry

    Please ask Julia! It’s her comp. But I would think it depends a bit on where the work has been published. Parish magazine: don’t worry about it. Huge book with Walker Books: hmmm …

  • Pingback: The Greenhouse Funny Prize « Lou Treleaven, writer()

  • Lou

    I know in one of the above comments you said to send entries as attachments but I just wanted to confirm this because on their website under the how to submit section it says, ‘Sorry, but we no longer accept email attachments or snail-mail submissions and these will be recycled on arrival’ and they specify that submissions must be in the body of the email. I know this is different from a normal submission but just wanted to make sure rather than have them instantly delete an entry because it has attachments.
    Thanks in advance.

  • Harry

    Yes, sending as an attachment is fine – don’t worry, nothing will be pulped!

  • I just entered!