The Astra International Picture Book Writing Contest is a unique competition open to writers for children, both published and unpublished. The purpose of this contest is to encourage, discover and honor talented writers of texts for picture books from all over the world; to foster literary excellence in books for young children; and to promote international cooperation and understanding through picture books.
We believe that in our increasingly digital and screen-oriented age it is more important than ever for children’s first books to introduce them to the pleasures and power of storytelling and the written word along with outstanding visual art. Being exposed to the best picture books, as we know, can create in young people a lifelong love of reading and books. By rewarding and showcasing excellence in the art of picture book writing, we aim to inspire writers to focus on the picture book text as an art form in itself, and to raise the quality of these deceptively simple books for the benefit of children everywhere.
The winners will have the opportunity to sign publishing contracts with the sponsors to publish the manuscripts in different languages. Each winner will be required to agree that sponsors have a one-year priority option to publish winner’s manuscript to receive the cash prize. The option will begin as of the date each winner signs the declaration of compliance. (For more information, please read the Official Rules.)
1. Manuscript must be text written for children age three (3) – eight (8). Illustrations are not accepted;
2. Manuscript may be fiction, nonfiction or poetry;
3. Japanese Manuscript must be no longer than 2,500 words and Manuscript in other languages must be no longer than 1,000 words;
4. Manuscript may be submitted in any of the following languages: English, Spanish, German, French, Japanese or Chinese;
5. Manuscript must be your original work;
6. Manuscript has not been previously published and is not under any publishing agreement in any language anywhere in the world;
7. Manuscript is not currently under consideration by any other competition or by any other publisher;
8. Manuscript will not be submitted to any other competition or any other publisher before the announcement of the result of this contest;
9. Each entrant may upload one (1) Manuscript during the Contest Submission Period and;
10. Entrants must be individuals who are at least twenty-one (21) years old at the time of entry.
(For more information, please read the Official Rules.)
Photo by Masako Nagano
Ryoji Arai is a globally recognized picture book author and illustrator. He received the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2005 and was a jury member of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair (2012).
Ajia, author, educator and translators of children's literature. He is 2022 Carle Honors Bridge Honoree. He also frequently sits on many Children's Book Award Committees.
Jill Davis is the Editorial Director at Hippo Park, Astra Publishing House. She has held editorial positions at Random House, Penguin, Bloomsbury, FSG, and HarperCollins.
Sabine Fuchs is founder of the KiJuLit Centre for Research and Didactics of Children’s literature at the University College of Teacher Education Styria. She represents Austria as liaison officer at IBBY International.
Sophie Van der Linden
Sophie Van der Linden, critic, author. She is a specialist in children’s literature, picture books in particular. She is the founder and the chief editor of the magazine Hors-Cadres, which is the only one publication focused on picture books in France.
Dolores Prades is a publisher focused on literature and reference books for children and youth. She served as member of the Jury of the Hans Christian Andersen Award.
(The judges are listed alphabetically by their last names.)
- November 8, 2022 at 12:00 a.m.
(United States Eastern Time)
- April 30, 2023 at 10:59 a.m.
(United States Eastern Time)
- November 2023