Norwich teenager could unearth the next JK Rowling after being selected to judge prestigious competition

Lewis Moreton in the library at University Technical College Norfolk with the Alex Scarrow book he r

Lewis Moreton in the library at University Technical College Norfolk with the Alex Scarrow book he reviewed for the Chicken House Books competition. Photo: Sophie Burrows. - Credit: Archant

A teenager from Norwich could help unearth the next JK Rowling after being selected to judge a prestigious writing competition.

Lewis Moreton will sit alongside experienced professionals in judging five manuscripts shortlisted for The Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition.

The event is the largest contest for unpublished children's fiction writers in the UK.

The 16-year-old University Technical College Norfolk student will be joined by the likes of publisher Barry Cunningham OBE, who was instrumental in bringing J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter to print.

Mr Moreton was selected to judge after his video book review of Alex Scarrow's Time Riders won a competition organised by Chicken House Books.


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A lot rides on his decision - and that of the fellow judges - as the winning manuscript will be published by Chicken House Books with a £10,000 advance. They will convene in London in June for the judging.

Mr Moreton, who is studying A-Levels in physics, maths, further maths and an Extended Project Qualification, said: 'I was ecstatic and so happy when I found out I had won. I'm nervous about being a young judge, but really excited too.

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'I'm hoping to see stories that will one day be a popular book.

'I'm happy that I'll be one of the people deciding which novel is published and I hope it will become a big success.'

Kesia Lupo, editor at Chicken House Books, added: 'It's important to us to have an authentic young voice on the judging panel, representing the real-life readership for the books we're considering.

'We're delighted to have Lewis as our young judge - his winning entry was passionate and articulate. We can't wait to hear what he thinks of the shortlist.'

Mr Moreton found out about the Chicken House Books Young Judge competition thanks to Chris Moore, the librarian at University Technical College Norfolk, who encouraged him to enter.

Despite his passion for novels, he hopes to study aerospace engineering to master's degree level and to go on and work in this field.

• Have you been selected to take part in a prestigious event? Call Luke Powell on 01603 772684 or email luke.powell@archant.co.uk

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