Author Emma Carroll is set to write a novel based on The First Aeronauts, the story that won Chicken House’s talent competition The Big Idea.
Chicken House publisher and m.d. Barry Cunningham and agent Neil Blair launched the competition to find “multi-platform” stories that could be adapted not only into books, but also films, TV shows, plays or computer games. A group of judges, including Philip Ardagh, picked The First Aeronauts by Neal Jackon, which is about three animals in a hot air balloon, as the winner.
Carroll, whose children’s books include In Darkling Wood and Frost Hollow Hall (Faber & Faber), said the opportunity to turn Jackson’s story into a novel was “too good to miss”. She said: “I’m thrilled to be working with the brilliant team at Chicken House on their Big Idea project. There’s huge story potential in [the] winning idea.”
Chicken House will publish the novel worldwide in 2017 and Blair’s agency, The Blair Partnership, is working to develop the story into other media.
The publisher is also matching the runner-up stories in the competition with published authors. Anna Day, who was shortlisted for this year’s Times Chicken House Fiction Compeition, will write the novel for Angela McCann’s fan-fiction story The Fandom.
Chicken House said it is in discussion with a comedian for Victoria Anderson’s 21st Century Panda, and literary agents for Tropical by KD Faerydale, Kathleen Warminger’s Miss Mog; and Louise Greig’s The Brown Dog Affair.
Jackson and all the people behind the shortlisted ideas received a £1,000 prize and will be paid a commensurate royalty share in any successful venture.