A powerful, haunting, contemporary debut that steps seamlessly from the horrors of people-trafficking to the magic of African folklore, by an award-winning Ghanaian-British filmmaker.
The Branford Boase Award [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] 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 seventeenth year the Branford Boase Award is recognised as one of the most important awards in children’s books with an impressive record in identifying authors with special talent at the start of their careers. Previous winners and shortlisted authors include Siobhan Dowd, Meg Rosoff, Mal Peet, Philip Reeve, Frank Cottrell Boyce and Patrick Ness; last year’s Costa Book Award winner Frances Hardinge won with her debut novel Fly By Night in 2006. The shortlist for the 2017 award is as follows:
Cogheart by Peter Bunzl, edited by Rebecca Hill (Usborne)
We Are Giants by Amber Lee Dodd, edited by Niamh Mulvey (Quercus)
Little Bits of Sky by S.E. Durrant, edited by Kirsty Stansfield (Nosy Crow)
The Bubble Boy by Stewart Foster, edited by Rachel Mann (Simon and Schuster)
The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, edited by Rachel Leyson (Chicken House)
Beetle Boy by M G Leonard, edited by Barry Cunningham and Rachel Leyson (Chicken House)
Riverkeep by Martin Stewart edited by Shannon Cullen and Sharyn November (Penguin Random House)
More than 70 books [a record number] were submitted for the 2017 award, by 25 different publishers. The rules for the Branford Boase Award state that the award is for the most promising book for children aged seven and up by a first novelist. The author may have published books in another genre but eligibility requires that this be their first novel for children. Two books longlisted for the 2017 award, Eden Summer by Liz Flanagan and Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence, were discovered to be ineligible and were withdrawn as the authors have previously written short novels for children.
This year the judges are Brenda Gardner, former children’s editor and founder of Piccadilly Press; Joanna Halpin, manager at Waterstones Trafalgar Square; Elizabeth McDonald, winner of the 2016 Public Librarian of the Year Award; and Horatio Clare, author of Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot, winner of the 2016 Branford Boase Award. The panel is chaired by Julia Eccleshare, children’s director of the Hay Festival.
The winner of the 2017 Branford Boase Award will be announced on Wednesday 5th July at a ceremony in London. Frances Hardinge will present the winner with a cheque for £1,000 and both author and editor will receive a unique, hand-crafted silver-inlaid box.
Bloomsbury Children’s Books has bought world rights to a debut YA novel by Mary Watson and one other title ahead of Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
The Wren Hunt tells the story of two ancient powers fighting for survival and one girl, born of both, who will decide their fate.
The deal was brokered by editorial director Ellen Holgate and Claire Wilson at Rogers, Coleridge & White.
Holgate said she was “reluctant” to pigeon-hole the genre because it was “so different from anything else out there”.
“The setting is contemporary, but with a deep, ancient magic thinly veiled from view – it sizzles with romance, betrayal, deceit, lies and magic,” she said. “The tension at the heart of The Wren Hunt makes it read like a thriller, but the high concept is backed up by exceptional writing.”
Top 10 Debut recommendations from the Yeah Yeah Blog:
for the full list follow the link at the bottom of the post
Allegedly by Tiffany D Jackson (Harper 360)
This novel about a girl who’s convicted of killing a baby – but won’t say whether she did it – sounds a tough read but utterly incredible. Six years after the conviction of her and her mother, she meets a boy and becomes pregnant, and has to fight for her future with her unborn child.
See You In The Cosmos by Jack Cheng (Puffin)
Road trip books are one of my favourite genres, and this MG about a boy who wants to launch his iPod into space to show other lifeforms what Earth is really like sounds both hilarious and moving.
The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi (Simon & Schuster – but unsure if it’s US only?)
Karuna is fabulous and this book, described as “steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair” sounds amazing! Also great to see hijabi girls on the cover.
American Street by Idi Zoboi (HarperCollins – again, not 100% sure it’s out in the UK but very much hoping so!)
An #ownvoices story about a Haitian immigrant to the US whose mother is detained, leaving her to navigate life with her American cousins, settling into Detroit’s west side, and a surprising new romance, this sounds wonderful!
Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon (Abrams)
This book about two girls – one working (unwillingly, by the sounds of it) for a lawyer trying to close down a local bike club, the other the daughter of the club’s president – sounds incredible! It’s billed as Sons of Anarchy meets Thelma & Louise, which is super-intriguing.
the remaining 5 via YA Yeah Yeah: Top Ten Tuesday: 2017 Debuts I’m Excited For.
Andersen Press has acquired a YA novel by debut author and bookseller Catherine Barter.
Fiction editor Chloe Sackur acquired world rights from Laura Williams at PFD.
Sackur said: “I believe Catherine is a bright new star in British YA fiction. Troublemakers is an achingly honest coming-of-age novel about family, and the politicised world we live in. It’s got something to say for itself but it still wears its heart on its sleeve.”
The title will be published June 2017.
full piece via Bookseller Barter’s YA debut snapped up | The Bookseller.
Nicki Thornton, co-founder of Mostly Books, an independent bookshop in Abingdon, Oxfordshire has won the UK’s most valuable children’s writing competition with her unpublished debut The Firefly Cage.
She wins a £10,000 publishing contract with Chicken House, which will now work with the author on her novel, to be published in 2017. Thornton beat four other shortlisted writers to be named winner of the ninth Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition. The competition asks unpublished writers to submit a complete novel for children, and this year received a record number of over 1,000 entries, including many from overseas.
The Firefly Cage is aimed at the lucrative 9-12 readers market, and is described as a “magical murder mystery”. It tells the story of kitchen boy Seth, who is caught up in a murder investigation at a magicians’ convention. Since the disappearance of Seth’s father years before, his black cat Nightshade his been his only friend, and Seth must use all his wiles to prove his innocence to the Magical Constabulary before it is too late.
Speaking of her win, Thornton said: “I am beyond thrilled – it is a tremendous honour. It really is the children’s writing prize aspiring writers want to win. I am so proud the judges chose my book – I cannot wait to see what will happen next. I’ve learnt a lot writing The Firefly Cage and now I will be working with the team at Chicken House to make it as good as it can be.”
This year’s shortlist was judged by:
Alex O’Connell from The Times
David O’Callaghan from Irish bookseller Easons
author Emma Carroll
the Bookseller’s Fiona Noble
Mumsnet’s Kate Williams
literary scout Marzena Currie
Melissa Cox of Waterstones
and Zoe King, a literary agent with the Blair Partnership.
The panel was overseen by Chicken House MD Barry Cunningham, who says: “Nicki has written an utterly enthralling and constantly surprising locked room magical murder mystery, made all the more engaging by wonderful characters and a very confident authorial voice. Nicki mixes the best elements of several genres to come up with something original and wholly enchanting. I can’t wait to work with her to help turn The Firefly Cage into the bestseller it deserves to be.”
Cunningham added that this had been the competition’s most successful year in terms of quality and quantity of entries, which came from all over the world: “There is a huge amount of talent out there – not just in the UK but overseas as well, including India, Vietnam and Canada. The fact that we receive so many entries, and that the quality is so high, proves once again the importance of this competition in allowing new writers a different way to get noticed and for the children’s books world to discover new talents to feed readers’ insatiable appetite for new stories. That is why, while Nicki is our very deserving winner, we hope to work with other writers that made our shortlist to help them develop their careers.”
The competition has an impressive track record, with over half of shortlisted authors subsequently published by either Chicken House or other major UK publishers, achieving worldwide success and critical acclaim. For instance, 2013 shortlisted duo Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison have now had two books published by Chicken House, including YA Prize shortlisted Lobsters (its sequel Freshers publishing in 2017).The winner of last year’s competition, The Secret Cooking Club by Laurel Remington, will be published on 4th August, and rights have been sold to six other countries including France and China.
Full details of how to enter to enter the next Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition can be found at www.chickenhousebooks.com/submissions.
From the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Five, Six, Seven, Nate! and Better Nate Than Ever comes a laugh-out-loud sad YA debut that’s a wry and winning testament to the power of old movies and new memories-one unscripted moment at a time.
The first in a series of classic texts from Frances Lincoln reimagined in the modern day.
Robert Hunter is a London-based illustrator working with traditional drawing and painting techniques. This is his first children’s book.
Joe Grant wants to be an ordinary eleven-year-old… But Joe is far from ordinary. Joe has a condition which means he is not allowed outside.
Poignant, hopeful and heartbreaking THE BOOKSELLER
Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award.
Has a great opening: “My dad died twice. Once when he was thirty nine and again four years later when he was twelve.”
Extremely clever and totally engaging. The Irish Times