The Macmillan Prize for Illustration 2024 terms and conditions



  • a) The Macmillan Prize for Illustration (the “Competition”) is awarded for an unpublished children’s picture book.
  • b) The Competition is run by Macmillan Children’s Books. Macmillan Children’s Books is an imprint of Pan Macmillan which is a trading division of Macmillan Publishers International Limited, a company registered in England with registered number 02063302 and registered office at Cromwell Place, Hampshire International Business Park, Lime Tree Way, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG24 8YJ (“Macmillan”). Macmillan is the promoter of the Competition. 
  • c) By entering the Competition, you are accepting these Terms and Conditions.


  • a) To be eligible for the 2024 Competition, you must:
    • be aged 18 or over and resident in the United Kingdom at the point of entry;
    • have less than one year of paid or unpaid work experience working as an illustrator at a book publisher;
    • not be a professional illustrator in the book publishing sector, where your income is derived exclusively or mainly from illustrating books, including book covers;
    • not have entered into a publishing contract or accepted an offer of publication from a book publisher in the UK or elsewhere in the world in respect of any of your illustrations (including for a cover illustration); and
    • not be a director or employee of Macmillan (or members of their immediate families or households) or be connected with the running or judging of the Competition. 
  • b) Entrants who have entered the Macmillan Prize for Illustration in previous years are eligible to enter this year’s Competition, provided that they enter a new entry which hasn’t been entered before and otherwise satisfy the eligibility requirements at the point of entry.
  • c) Entrants may only submit one entry.  
  • d) There can only be one named entrant per entry and joint entries are not permitted. Where an illustrator collaborates with a writer, it is the illustrator who is eligible to enter the Competition and win a prize and not the writer.
  • e) Macmillan reserves the right to verify the eligibility of the Competition entrants.
  • f) There is no fee to enter the Competition, although entrants are responsible for all costs associated with preparing and submitting their entries. 


  • a) Entries to the Competition must comply with the submission criteria set out in these Terms and Conditions.
  • b) Entries, or any part of an entry, must not have been:
    • generated by artificial intelligence (“AI”) technologies; 
    • previously published (other than non-commercially, such as on your own website or social media account or via physical distribution to family and friends); 
    • self-published for commercial purposes;
    • previously submitted to a book publisher; 
    • entered into the Macmillan Prize for Illustration in previous years; or
    • previously shortlisted, commended, highly commended or have won any other illustration award or competition.
  • c) During the judging process entrants are requested not to submit their entry, or any part of their entry, to other publishers or to any other illustration awards or competitions. Once the winners and highly commended entries have been notified, entries are free to be submitted elsewhere, subject to Macmillan’s right of first refusal to publish picture books derived from or based on the winning and highly commended entries set out in paragraph 16 of these Terms and Conditions.


The Competition is open for entries until 17:30 on Friday 26th April 2024. Please ensure you allow yourself plenty of time to complete your submission before this deadline, as we will not accept entries after this time for any reason.  


  • a) All entrants must submit:
    • 1. Pencil roughs or sketches for a children's picture book – cover to cover – including text or a clear indication of the storyline.
    • 2. Finished artwork for at least four double-page spreads, or at least three spreads and a front cover.
  • b)  Entrants should bear in mind and focus on  what is appropriate for the child reader.
  • c) There is no overall theme for the competition. 


  • a) Length: Picture books should be between 24 – 32 pages long; this includes the front and back endpapers, a title page and a copyright page. 
  • b) Format: Although submissions are digital only, we can accept books with novelty elements (e.g. flaps, fold-out pages), and these should not exceed 24 pages. Pop-up books should not exceed 6 double-page spreads. Novelty entries should be scanned artwork. Photographs to demonstrate novelty elements may also be included but should be part of the PDF.
  • c) Size: The page size of the finished book should not exceed 300mm in width or height.


  • a) The text may be fiction or non-fiction. The entrant may:
    • devise their own text/story; or
    • collaborate with a writer; or
    • use a traditional story (e.g. a fairy tale).
  • b) The text may be typed or clearly handwritten and must be in the English language. 
  • c) Text generated wholly or in part by AI technologies is not eligible and should not be used.
  • d) For the avoidance of doubt, a published text that is in copyright would not be eligible and should not be used.


  • a) Size: Artwork may be prepared either to the same size, or up to 30% larger than the page size of the finished book. Corner marks to show the trim (i.e. the edge of the final printed page) should be clearly indicated outside the area of the actual artwork.
  • b) Bleed: Allow at least 5mm extra (after reduction) outside the trim if the artwork is to come to the edge of the printed page. Avoid putting important details within 5mm of the edge of the page, or where illustration crosses the spine.
  • c) Medium: Any medium may be used, but it is advisable to avoid luminous paint, fragile collage or other media that will not reproduce well.
  • d) Lettering: Any lettering should be in black, please incorporate it as part of the page design and make it as legible as possible.
  • e) Artwork generated wholly or in part by AI technologies is not eligible and should not be submitted.


  • a) The Competition is for a series of outstanding illustrations that show that the artist understands how to match pictures to text. The pictures should also demonstrate the entrant’s grasp of narrative, pacing and characterisation.
  • b) The judges will focus on the quality of the illustrations rather than the standard of the writing. Good stories are welcome, but the text will not be the main criterion for judging.
  • c) Some entries will be clearly aimed at a very young child, and others might be more sophisticated, or even work on different levels, but it is important to remember that the main audience for the book is a child.
  • d) Entries should clearly show how the style and layout of the illustrations contribute towards the development of the story and characterisation. It is important that a child reader can follow a story through the pictures, including, for example, what is happening in the story, or what a character might be feeling. Any characters should be recognisable throughout the book. The pictures may illustrate exactly the words of the text, or they might offer an alternative or enlarged understanding of what is being said.It is important to avoid monotonous layouts with little contrast in composition or colour. Too many words can overwhelm the illustration.
  • d) The judges are ultimately looking for high-quality illustrations suitable for children’s books, which are considered to be an original contribution to the field.


  • a) The judging of the Competition is anonymous, therefore each entrant must not include their name or any of their personal details in the entry itself. Entrants may only identify themselves on the first page of the PDF submitted, as set out in paragraph 11 of these Terms and Conditions. Any names or personal details included in the entry itself will be removed before the judging. 
  • b) All artwork must be the entrant’s own original work, must not be copied (including copying from AI generated images)  and must not contain any third-party materials which you do not have permission to use. Third party materials incorporated into the artwork may only be used with prior written consent of the copyright owner. Macmillan may require entrants to produce evidence of such written consents.
  • c) Where an entrant collaborates with a writer, the entrant must obtain the writer’s written consent prior to submission of the entry. Macmillan may require entrants to produce evidence of such consents. As outlined above, a published text that is in copyright would not be eligible and should not be used.
  • d) Entrants are required to immediately notify Macmillan if they become aware of any claim made or threatened that their entry (or any part of their entry) infringes the rights of any third party and entrants agree to cooperate fully with Macmillan in relation to any claims that might arise from Macmillan’s use of the entry and hold Macmillan harmless in respect of any such claims. 
  • e) Entries must not breach any applicable legislation or regulations or contain any defamatory, offensive or any other unsuitable material. Entries must not reference commercial brands.
  • f) Macmillan reserves the right to disqualify an entrant and their entry where it considers, in its sole determination that:
    • the entry is not the entrant’s own work or does not comply with the requirements of this paragraph 10 or otherwise breaches any of these Terms and Conditions; or
    • the entrant has tampered with or interfered with the entry process or acted in any manner deemed to be disruptive of, or prejudicial to, the operation or administration of the Competition, or which is contrary to the spirit or intention of the Competition. 



  • a) The submission criteria is as follows: 
    • Digital submissions are open.
    • Digital submissions can be submitted using a Google form. 
    • Please supply digital entries as one PDF file, with a separate page at the front that shows only your name, email address and telephone number.
    • Do not put your name anywhere else in your submission.
    • The file name should only include your full name (Firstname_Lastname).
    • The digital entries will be viewed on a display 1920px X 1080px (150DPI) so we don't need print quality files and files larger than 10MB may not be uploaded correctly.
    • Please include any text, either typeset or hand rendered, within the flattened pdf as part of the image.
    • You don’t need to supply both the final colour and rough images for a spread. Final colour pages can appear alongside rough pages in your book.
    • After entering you will receive a confirmation email within 2 hours - please check your junk folder before uploading again. 
    •  You can submit your digital entry until the final deadline of 5:30pm on 26th April 2024.
  • b) Macmillan accepts no responsibility for any entries which are uploaded incorrectly, are incomplete, illegible, corrupted or fail to reach Macmillan by the closing date for any reason. Proof of sending is not proof of receipt.
  • c) Please note that prize winners and highly commended entrants may be asked to supply the original artwork or a high-quality print-out version of their entries suitable for exhibition at their own cost. The relevant deadline for any such requests will be later confirmed by Macmillan, depending on whether an exhibition can go ahead. The artwork will then be framed by Macmillan. Prints submitted will not be returned.


  • a) The judging panel will comprise members of the Macmillan Children’s Books publishing team as well independent guest judges from the children’s books industry.  The names of the judges will be announced prior to the judging. 
  • b) All the entries that comply with the submission criteria and pass an initial review process will be considered by the judging panel who will select the first, second and third prize winners and will also identify a selection of highly commended entries. The panel will make these selections by reviewing the entries on an anonymised basis.
  • c) The prize winners and highly commended entrants will be notified on or before 27th May 2024.
  • d) Prize winners will be notified by phone and by email and highly commended entrants will be notified by email. 
  • e) Entrants who have not won a prize or been highly commended will also be notified by email by 27th May 2024.
  • f) Prize winners and highly commended entrants are requested not to post on social media or publicly announce the fact that they have won or been highly commended until after prizes have been finally awarded, i.e. following the prize reception, or otherwise on any date that Macmillan confirms to them that they may disclose these details. 


  • a) The prizes for the winners of the Competition consist of:
    • First Prize: £1,000
    • Second Prize: £500
    • Third Prize: £250
  • b) Highly commended entrants will not win a prize but will be invited to the prize reception where their work will be exhibited.
  • c) Prizes are non-transferrable and the judges reserve the right:
    • to award a prize to more than one entrant, in which case the prize money awarded for any of the first, second or third prizes may be split between two or more winners; or
    • not to award any prizes or a category of prize if they consider that none of the entries is of a sufficiently high standard to merit the award of that prize.
  • d) The judges' decision will be final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into in relation to it. 
  • e) Feedback on entries will be provided solely at the discretion of individual judges and the prizes do not include feedback on the entries or portfolios of winners or highly commended entrants.  
  • f) If a winner does not respond to Macmillan within 15 days of being notified by Macmillan, that winner’s prize will be forfeited and Macmillan shall be entitled to award the prize to an alternative winner, chosen in accordance with these Terms and Conditions. 
  • g) The winners and highly commended entrants may be required to participate in reasonable post event publicity (including on Macmillan’s website and social media pages) at no cost.


  • a) Prizes will be awarded by way of bank transfer. To receive their prize the winners will be required to provide proof of their bank details and submit an invoice to Macmillan using a template which will be provided. The amount of the prize will be paid within 30 days following receipt of a valid invoice.
  • b) The prize-winners, plus the highly commended entrants, will be invited to a reception where the winners’ and highly commended entrants’ work will be exhibited. 
  • c) We will confirm details regarding the prize reception nearer the time. We intend to hold the reception in London in the summer. All travel, accommodation and other costs associated with attending the reception are the sole responsibility of the attendees. 


  • a) Entrants shall retain all intellectual property rights in their entries (including copyright).
  • b) By entering the Competition, all entrants grant Macmillan a non-exclusive, world-wide, royalty-free licence to store, exhibit, communicate to the public and reproduce their entries in whole or in part for the purpose of administering the Competition, promoting the Competition this year and in future years and for archiving purposes for the full period of copyright in all media formats whether now known or devised in future (including without limitation on websites and social media channels) and to sub-license the same, provided that nothing in these Terms and Conditions will oblige Macmillan to use or exhibit an entry and in the event that Macmillan decides not to use or exhibit an entry, the entrant shall have no claim for loss of opportunity to enhance the entrant’s reputation or for any other reason whatsoever.


Macmillan will have the right of first refusal to publish any full picture book derived from or based on any of the prize winning or highly commended entries of this Competition. An entrant will be contacted by Macmillan within four months of the prize being announced if publication is being considered.  Where an offer to publish is made this would include an advance against royalties to be earned. This would be in addition to the prize money. An entrant who accepts an offer to publish will be required to enter into a publishing agreement with Macmillan. 


Please note that all personal information which we process in connection with your entry will be treated in accordance with our Privacy Notice which is available at: Please refer to the section of the Privacy Notice entitled ‘Entrants to the Macmillan Prize for Illustration’ for specific information about how your personal information will be used in connection with the Competition.


  • a) Macmillan accepts no responsibility for any damage, loss, liabilities, injury or disappointment incurred or suffered by an entrant as a result of entering the Competition or accepting any prize, including in respect of loss or damage to entries, provided that nothing in these Terms and Conditions shall exclude the liability of Macmillan for fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation, or for death or personal injury resulting from its negligence.
  • b) Events may occur that render the Competition itself or the awarding of the prizes, or holding of the prize reception impossible due to reasons beyond the control of Macmillan and Macmillan may, at its absolute discretion, amend these Terms and Conditions or change a prize (to one of equal or greater value) as required by the circumstances.
  • c) The Competition and these Terms and Conditions will be governed by English law and entrants submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.


If you have any questions about the Competition or how to enter, email us at:

Privacy Notice

If you enter the annual Macmillan Prize for Illustration, we will collect your name and contact details, a copy of your entry as well as details of how you heard about the competition. 

We collect this information so that we can judge and administer the Macmillan Prize for Illustration and so that we can correspond with you about your entry. 

We do not use entrant’s contact details for marketing purposes. The competition is judged anonymously, although please be aware that entrant’s names may be shared with the external judges after the judging has taken place and that names of the prize winning and highly commended entrants will be publicly announced.

Further details about the Macmillan Prize for Illustration are available here.