A golem on Corstorphine Hill, mermaids lost in the Clyde and demons on the loose in Edinburgh Parallel are just some of the problems faced in the three unpublished children’s novels shortlisted for the Kelpies Prize 2011.

The annual prize is for previously unpublished works of fiction, set in contemporary Scotland and suitable for children aged 8 to 12. Since the end of February deadline, judges have been busy reading their way through a large number of manuscripts to decide on the final three.

The 2011 shortlist is ‘How to Make a Golem (and Terrify People)’ by Alette J Willis, ‘The Really Weird Removals Company’ by Daniela Sacerdoti and ‘The Resurrection Spell’ by Roy Gill.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony at the Writers Retreat in the Edinburgh International Book Festival enclosure on Thursday 18 August 2011. The winning author will receive a £2,000 cash prize and have their book published in the Kelpies imprint before the end of the year.

Sally Polson, Commissioning Editor for Floris Books, said:- “We have thoroughly enjoyed reading the entries for this year’s Kelpies Prize. They’ve been packed with original ideas and extraordinary characters, and the standard of writing has been higher than ever before. The prize presents a wonderful opportunity for discovering talented new authors, who we can then support in forging successful writing careers.”

This year, the prize will be presented by Scottish children’s author, Lari Don. Lari’s debut novel First Aid for Fairies and Other Fabled Beasts won the Royal Mail Award for Younger Readers (8–11 years). She has since written three other children’s novels and two picture books for Floris Books. Lari is sure to be an inspiration for the shortlisted authors.

The three shortlisted authors could not be more different. Canadian-educated Alette Willis’ entry involves a golem who lives on Corstorphine Hill. Italian Daniela Sacerdoti delves into the supernatural as her characters investigate mermaids, selkies, ghosts and fairies trapped in our world. Edinburgh-born Roy Gill, meanwhile, attempts to bring back the dead.

Edinburgh-based publisher Floris Books is confident that this year’s winner will be just as popular as previous Kelpies Prize success stories, such as Caroline Clough who won the Kelpies Prize 2010 with her novel, Red Fever.

Manuscripts are now invited for submission to the Kelpies Prize 2012. They must be set wholly, or mainly, in Scotland and be suitable for children aged 8 to 12. They may not have been previously commercially published, although the author may have been. The judges are looking primarily for a cracking story with strong characters, believable dialogue and a compelling atmosphere. The deadline is 29 February 2012 and rules and guidelines are online.