Independent journalist Victoria Richards wins inaugural children’s picture book award with The Forgotten Forest

Oh Zoe! will publish the book later this year

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The Independent Culture

Victoria Richards has won an inaugural children's picture book competition, beating over 500 entrants to take home the top prize.

Richards — freelance journalist and former homepage editor for The Independent — won the Oh Zoe! Rising Talent Award with her book The Forgotten Forest, a magical children’s tale inspired by Japanese folklore.

“I've only relatively recently made the foray into writing for children,” Richards said, “so it's given me a huge confidence boost that I'm hopefully on the right track."

For winning, The Forgotten Forest will be published later this year, with Richards also receiving professional development training, a personalised author website and £500.

Speaking about the book’s inspiration, Richards said: "I remember feeling awed by the magic of hearing my name in stories my dad told me when I was a child, and I wanted to recreate that feeling of wonder. 

“By adding other personal details — their name, their favourite things — you're bringing their own, very special story to life, right in front of them.”

Richards was previously shortlisted for The Ghost Story Supernatural Fiction Award 2016, longlisted in The Guardian Short Story Contest 2016 (judged by Stephen King), and runner-up in the ELLE Writing Competition 2017.