Institute of Children's Literature presents



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Caution! Twists ahead!

Time to take on fairy tales, but with a twist!

This contest is your chance to reimagine a fairy tale or folktale and add your spin to a well-known story. What if Little Red Riding Hood was a boy? Maybe the Big Bad Wolf just wanted to be invited to the Three Little Pigs' housewarming party? What would a modern-day Hansel and Gretel story look like? The possibilities are endless when you think outside of the box.

Write a full fractured fairy tale aimed at 8-10-year-olds with a beginning, middle, and end for your chance to win! A good fractured fairy tale makes use of a traditional fairy tale, yet restructures and reimagines it by delivering a more modern moral message. Entries must be no more than 900 words. Submissions must be previously unpublished and not under contract.

We can't wait to see where your imagination takes us!

DEADLINE: April 15, 2023

What is a fractured fairy tale? describes fractured fairy tales this way: "Fairy tales are children's stories about magical and imaginary beings and lands. They are usually short and simple, yet they can teach children about how stories work. In contrast, a fractured fairy tale is one that has been modified to make us laugh at a surprising twist or change in character, plot, or point of view."

Why Enter an ICL Writing Contest?

 $1,300 Cash Prizes 

  • 1st prize = $650
  • 2nd prize = $350 
  • 3rd prize = $100
  • 4th prize = $100
  • 5th prize = $100 

Online Workshop

All entrants are invited to a FREE instructional online workshop with our esteemed judge where we'll announce the winners and provide tips for writing in this genre.

Free Critique

Winning entries will be workshopped by our judge to help writers understand what worked and what could be improved to make it submission-ready.

Enter Today!

Suggestions from our judge

"Give your story a twist. Write from the villain's point of view. Or do a gender switch on the main character. Or put the story in a fresh setting. Many familiar fairy tales were set in Europe. What if it's set in a specific time and place in the U.S.? Or, if you have experience with other cultures and places, set it there. Or mash up two stories. Or find a story from a non-European culture to change up. Note: fractured fairy tales teach as the originals did. However, think updated lessons or more modern moral messages."

Here's what you need to know...

  • This contest is to write a fractured fairy tale for 8-10 year olds.
  • Entries must be no more than 900 words
  • Entries must be a complete story with a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Entries must be unpublished and not under contract.
  • Do not submit illustrations or photographs with your entry. This contest is for text only.
  • Proofread your entry to ensure it matches the industry standard manuscript format (double spacing, clear contact information, no creative use of fonts).
  • Entries must follow manuscript submission guidelines as stated on our Contest Rules page HERE.
  • Entries must be submitted via our online form by midnight Pacific Time on April 15, 2023.
  • There is a $19 reading fee per manuscript to enter the contest.
  • You may enter more than one manuscript but each entry requires a $19 reading fee.
  • Add our email address ( to your list of contacts and/or safe senders so you can receive the email with the free entry information to our online workshop where we announce the winners. (Non-entrants pay $7.)
  • The minimum age to enter the contest is 18 years of age.

Submissions will be judged on clarity, originality, how well they adhere to the theme, potential in the market, and appropriateness for the age range.

The winning entries in the ICL Fractured Fairy Tale Contest will be announced at a live online workshop within 90 days after the contest closes. All contest entrants will be notified of the event details by email and be invited free of charge. (Non-entrants may attend for a nominal fee of $7.)

This is a great opportunity to build your writing and submitting skills!

© 2023 Institute of Children's Literature

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