The Society of Authors has launched a £5,000 book prize for ‘quirky’ illustrated books for children aged 0-7.
The Queen’s Knickers Award, sponsored by author and illustrator Nicholas Allan and named after Allan’s book of the same name, "recognise books that strike a quirky, new note and grab the attention of a child, whether in the form of curiosity, amusement, horror or excitement."
Allan said: "I want to encourage authors and illustrators to take more risks and have more fun. The name of the award reflects how I felt when I began writing the book from which the name is taken. I started it purely for fun, without any sense of plot, moral, purpose – in fact, without sense, and maintained it to the end.
"I'd like the award to discover books that feel as if created purely as fun for the author while, simultaneously, seeking astonishment and wonder in the reader. I’d particularly like to think it could go to new authors and illustrators, as well as more established, particularly as the former might be more open to risk, as they have everything to gain and little to lose."
Entries can contain a combination of words and pictures or just pictures and can be any format, including pop-ups, flap books and board books. They must have been first published in the UK or Republic of Ireland between 1st September 2018 and 31st August 2019.
The Queen’s Knickers Award is open for entries until 15th November 2019, and will be awarded for the first time at the 2020 Society of Authors’ Awards ceremony next summer.