How does it work?

We've lined up some of the UK's most renowned children's writers from publishing and television to write stories. Our entrants respond to one these stories with an illustration or animation.

The work is then judged by a panel from the industry. With the winners earning themselves a paid internship with one of our fantastic partner companies.

The Hook: the author of each individual story is kept a secret until the night of the awards!

The prizes

An internship

A paid internship at one of the brightest and best studios working in the children's industry.

Find out more

The Secret story draw sessions

Just by making a submission, you'll automatically be entitled to attend the Secret Story Draw Sessions. A series of money-can't-buy creative workshops given by industry insiders dedicated to giving you the inside track on everything you need to know to take your talent to the next level. Sessions and speakers to be announced.

Meet our judges

Jasmine Richards

Jasmine Richards has worked in children's publishing for over 15 years and written over a dozen books for children, ranging from picture books to teen fiction. Jasmine is the founder of Storymix, a children’s book incubator with a social purpose. Storymix focuses on putting children of colour front and centre in stories with inclusive casts of characters, through its creative projects.

Darren Nartey

Acquisitions Manager for all acquired Films and Kids content across the ITV portfolio. He has acquired and co-produced a range of live-action and animated comedies such as Detention Adventure, Lloyd of The Flies, Mr Bean and Mr Magoo. He was previously Acquisitions Executive for Channel 5.

Laura Henry-Allain MBE

Laura Henry-Allain MBE is an award-winning international producer, storyteller, educationalist and consultant. She is the creator of the well-loved JoJo and Gran Gran series, developed and produced by CBeebies and is the series’ associate producer. She is also executive producer on a few shows that are currently in development, including Daddio & Co. 

Her new bestselling children's book, My Skin, Your Skin, illustrated by Onyinye Iwu, explores race and racism, and empowers children to be the best versions of themselves. 

Louise Bucknole

Louise is VP Programming Kids, Nickelodeon Network and Milkshake! Channel 5 UK & Ireland, with over twenty years’ leadership experience as a content strategist and commissioner. She is the kids content lead, responsible for all editorial and content strategy and sits on the Nickelodeon International Programming Council.

Selom Sunu

Selom Sunu studied MA Character Animation has since balanced a day job with freelance Illustration and Character Design. You will rarely find him without a pencil in hand, and characters are at the heart of everything he creates. He loves thinking up my own backstories, whether it’s for a brief, or for a personal project. Selom is a devoted Christian and lives in London with his wife and daughter.

Jodie Hodges

Jodie Hodges is a literary agent for children’s authors and illustrators at United Agents, London. She represents award winning and bestselling creators across children’s publishing; working on stories and non-fiction for all ages from babies to teenagers.

Tom Box

Tom Box is co-founder and joint MD of Blue Zoo Animation. Over the last 21 years, the studio has become the biggest dedicated CG animation studio in the UK, picking up a few BAFTAs along the way. Tom has been the driving force behind the studio's use of technology to facilitate their creativity.

Tom Beattie

Tom Beattie is Head of Kids and Family programming for Tiger Aspect Productions.He is creative producer of the Mr Bean animated series and creator of Danny & Mick for CBBC. His other credits include Tinga Tinga Tales, Aliens Love Underpants, Pirates Love Underpants and Charlie and Lola.

Natalie McKay

Natalie is a Development Executive at Aardman Animations, focusing on the development and creative supervision of many of Aardman’s projects. Before joining Aardman, Natalie worked at The Walt Disney Company for several years as part of their Animation & Acquisition team. Before getting into animation, she began her career working on documentaries & factual shows.

Caroline Roberts-Cherry

Caroline Roberts-Cherry established Saffron Cherry TV, now Saffron Cherry Productions, in Manchester to facilitate quality entertainment and factual programming from the North-West for a global stage. She has produced over 800 hours of television and has a stellar reputation for diversity and increasing representation on and off screen of tv professionals from ethnic minority backgrounds, promoting opportunities for women and broadening the bandwidth for people with a story to tell.

Jay Grace

Jay Grace is an award-winning director and animator with over 25 years’ experience in the animation industry. He joined Gutsy Animations in 2018, as Series Director for seasons one and two of the studio’s Emmy Award-nominated series ‘Moominvalley’ and has recently finished directing three of the episodes in Season 3. 

Tony is a writer, director, producer, executive producer and in his current role as Animation and Puppetry Genre Lead for BBC Studios Kids & Family Productions he manages large-scale projects for domestic and international markets as well overseeing the animation and puppetry development team.

About the Internships

Each internship will be paid. Internships will run for at least 3 months. Internships will be based in the studio or remote working (COVID) as agreed by the participating studio. Studios will provide computer/equipment for both studio and home-working for the duration of the internship. We have tried to select studios from across the UK. Below is a list of the current studios taking part and their regional locations.


Bristol, UK

Blue Zoo Animation Studio

London, UK

Double Negative

London, UK


Altrincham, UK


London, UK

Fourth Wall

Liverpool, UK


Bristol, UK

BBC Studios Kids & Family

Salford, UK

Wild Child Animation

Stirling, UK