Stars of the future named today on the shortlist for the award that singles out the most talented debut authors for children
The shortlist for the 2016 Branford Boase Award is announced today (Wednesday 4th May 2016). The Branford Boase Award is given annually to the author of an outstanding debut novel for children. Uniquely, it also honours the editor of the winning title and highlights the importance of the editor in nurturing new talent.
Now in its sixteenth year the Branford Boase Award is recognised as one of the most important awards in children’s books with a hugely impressive record in identifying authors with special talent at the start of their careers. Meg Rosoff who has just been awarded the world’s biggest children’s book prize, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, won in 2005 with How I Live Now, while Frances Hardinge, who this year won the Costa Book of the Year Award with her children’s novel The Lie Tree, was named Branford Boase Awardwinner exactly ten years ago.
From this year’s longlist of 23 books, the judges have selected a shortlist of six outstanding debut novels:
Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot by Horatio Clare, edited by Penny Thomas. Illustrations by Jane Thomas (Firefly Press)
Stone Rider by David Hofmeyr, edited by Ben Horslen and Tig Wallace (Penguin)
The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones by Will Mabbitt, edited by Ben Horslen. Illustrations by Ross Collins (Penguin)
My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons, edited by Kirsty Stansfield (Nosy Crow)
Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford, edited by Nicholas Lake (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson, edited by Bella Pearson (David Fickling Books)
This year the judges are Russell Allen team leader for children’s services across the West Sussex Library Service, recently awarded Public Librarian of the Year; Simon Key, bookseller from the Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green; Marion Lloyd, former children’s editor; and Rosie Rowell, author of Leopold Blue, winner of the 2015 Branford Boase Award. The panel is chaired by Julia Eccleshare, children’s books editor of the Guardian.
Julia Eccleshare says: “UK children’s publishers are more eager than ever to find and nurture talented new authors and this is an extremely exciting shortlist. All areas of the children’s book market are flourishing so this list includes books for young readers and for teenagers. It reflects current trends and features some wildly inventive books that play with language and ideas; a time travel story; a book that explores a transgender teenager’s struggle with identity; a book about a parent’s depression. They are all distinguished by the quality of the writing, the author’s ability to control plot and create character, and by an originality of approach.”
Other previous winners and shortlisted authors include Kevin Brooks, Siobhan Dowd, Mal Peet, Philip Reeve, Frank Cottrell Boyce and Patrick Ness, all of whom went on to win the CILIP Carnegie Medal.
The winner of the 2016 Branford Boase Award will be announced on Thursday 7th July at a ceremony in London. The winning author receives a cheque for £1,000 and both author and editor receive a unique, hand-crafted silver-inlaid box.
As well as encouraging publishers to find and promote new writers, the Award sets out to alert readers of all ages to the work of interesting newcomers.
The Branford Boase Award was set up in memory of the outstanding and prize-winning author Henrietta Branford and Wendy Boase, editorial director and one of the founders of Walker Books. They worked together on a number of Henrietta’s novels, a partnership they greatly enjoyed. Both Henrietta and Wendy died of cancer in 1999.
Running alongside the Branford Boase Award, the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition encourages writing talent in under 18s.
The Award is the joint idea of Julia Eccleshare and Anne Marley. Julia is the children’s books editor of The Guardian, chair of PLR and director of the Hay Festival chidlren’s programme as well as a regular contributor to Radio 4’s Front Row and Open Book programmes. Anne is now co-director of Authors Aloud UK and was Head of Children’s, Youth & Schools Services for Hampshire Library & Information Service for many years. She has served on many children’s book award panels, including the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards.
Last year’s winners were Rosie Rowell and her editor Emily Thomas with Leopold Blue(Hot Key Books).
For more information about the award, including a full list of past winners, and the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition visit www.branfordboaseaward.org.uk .