The Darley Anderson Mega Middle-Grade Competition

Calling all Middle-Grade authors! The Darley Anderson Children’s Book Agency is on the lookout for the next big thing in middle grade. We’re talking action-packed adventure stories to make imaginations run wild, or fun-filled tales that will get readers rolling on the floor with laughter. In keeping with the Agency’s ethos as the most commercially minded agency around, we’re only interested in very commercial texts that would appeal to children of all backgrounds and reading abilities. If you’ve written something that fits this description, this is your chance to impress us!

We are passionate about diversifying the industry and as always, we would love to receive #ownvoices submissions, as well as submissions from authors from all walks of life (click here to know exactly what we mean when we talk about diverse voices).

The competition will be held in two stages: firstly we’d like to see a pitch and first chapter or the first 5 pages. We’ll then whittle it down to a shortlist of our favourite submissions, at which stage we’ll request a full manuscript, so please be ready to send us your full text should you be asked to. The prize for THREE lucky winners will be a one-on-one feedback session with our agents, to be conducted either in person at our offices or over the phone. If we’re a match made in heaven, who knows where it could lead…

How to enter:

Please send the following to

  • The first chapter or 5 pages of your work, whichever better suits the format of your book.
  • A short pitch of your book: this is a very short summary of the entire work, not a blurb.
  • A one-page covering letter, to include a little bit about yourself and why you are entering the competition.

If you are shortlisted, you will be contacted by 14th May 2020 and will have to send us the full manuscript of your submitted work by 18th May 2020.


  • Open to submitters aged 18 and over.
  • The submission must be written in the English language, formatted within a Word document in a legible font and size.
  • Submissions must be sent with the subject line ‘Mega Middle Grade Competition Entry’ to the following email address:
  • Competition opens on 16th March 2020 and closes on 30th April 2020. No late entries will be considered.
  • Entries must follow the guidelines specified above in order to be considered.
  • The shortlist will be confirmed by 14th May 2020 with the full to be sent to us by Monday 18th May 2020, and winners picked on 11th June 2020.
  • The full manuscript must be ready in case it is requested.
  • The prize is a one-on-one feedback session with one of our agents, in person or over the phone. Three winners will be picked.
  • No cash alternative will be available and travel expenses will not be covered.
  • We reserve the right to amend the terms and conditions for this competition at any time without notice.  
  • The author must be unagented, and the submitted work must never have been published, either by a Publisher or by the author. If the author has previously been agented or published other works, we will consider the submission.
  • If the full manuscript is requested, we ask that it not be submitted to other agencies until we have delivered our verdict to the author. We will endeavour to reply to the shortlisted authors within four weeks of receipt of their work. If the full manuscript is already being reviewed by other agencies, this must be disclosed to us by the author at the earliest convenience. If you are offered representation by another agent before the shortlist is announced, you will need to inform us.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Nik says:

    Hi! Please could you clarify if the deadline is inclusive of the 30th of April?

    1. darleyblog says:

      Hi, absolutely. The competition includes the 30th of April and ends at midnight that day. Many thanks!

      1. Nik says:

        Many thanks!

  2. flyingelf says:

    Hi – I just wondered if the short list is still being confirmed on May 14th given the current situation – wasn’t sure if things might take longer!

    1. darleyblog says:

      Hi, yes we’re still working to the same timeline and will confirm the shortlist on the 14th May. Many thanks

  3. flyingelf says:

    Great ! Thank you 🙂

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