Submissions for The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2020 for highly illustrated fiction are now open as the prize enters its second year.
Judging this year's award will be the prize's inaugural winner, Nick Sharratt, who was recognised last year for Nice Work for the Cat and the King (Alison Green Books, Scholastic Children’s Books).
Joining Sharratt on the panel will be author and illustrator Yasmeen Ismail; the founder of the Bath Festival of Children’s Literature, John McLay; specialist literacy teacher, Richard Charlesworth; co-owners of The Alligator’s Mouth, Margaret Wallace-Jones and Tony West; and Arabella Stein, director at The Bright Agency.
The prize was launched in 2018 by Richmond-based indie The Alligator’s Mouth in partnership with The Bright Agency to spotlight quality books being created for children starting to read by themselves (aged six to eight) and to champion the authors and artists behind them.
This year book wholesalers Gardners has been confirmed as an official partner, after having been involved offering independent bookshops a discount on the longlisted titles last year.
Sharratt said: "Young illustrated children's fiction deserves to be recognised as a hugely important area of children's publishing: an essential stepping-stone between picture books and longer fiction. I was delighted when The Alligator's Mouth created its award spotlighting books designed specifically for children beginning to read by themselves, and thrilled to be the winner of the inaugural prize. It's now my huge pleasure to be one of the judges for next year's award, which will celebrate the very best books of 2020, for readers aged six to eight.’
Ismail added: "Awards like this are so important to champion writers and illustrators that may get overlooked in a crowded market. And when you can direct kids to different and exciting new stories from writers they may not have heard of, you are opening doors for them."
Nigel Wyman, head of business development at Gardners, said: "Gardners is delighted to be an official partner of the Alligators Mouth Award. The judging line up this year features some stellar names and we are really excited to see the fantastic titles that will no doubt be featured."
To enter the awards, publishers are invited to submit highly illustrated children’s books that have been published in the UK between 1st October 2018 and 30th September 2019. Submissions close on 8th November 2019.
The longlist will be announced in March 2020. The winner of the prize will receive The Alligator’s Mouth Award trophy.