The Times reports:
A historical fantasy set on St Kilda and in the Borders has become the first young adult book to win the Times/Chicken House award for children’s fiction.
Its writer, Trudi Tweedie, a former beer researcher and a mother of two from Aberdeen, wins the prize of a worldwide publishing contract and a £10,000 advance. Chicken House aims to publish the book in 2020.
The thriller, set in 15th-century Scotland, involves a teenage girl who is whisked away from her remote island home to be a governess in a grand but strangely sinister house on the mainland.
The annual competition is open to unpublished writers who don’t have an agent. In the nine years since the first winner was announced, the prize has launched the careers of many established and successful children’s authors, such as Sophia Bennett, Kerr Thomson, and Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison. The publishing house endeavours to continue working with all shortlisted writers in some capacity, often leading to publication — in addition to last year’s winning novel, Jasbinder Bilan’s Asha and the Spirit Bird, Chicken House signed two of the shortlisted authors and one who was longlisted.