Janetta Otter-Barry, the founder of independent publisher Otter-Barry Books, is hoping to publish new voices in children’s poetry with her new list.
Otter-Barry Books Poetry will publish two poetry titles this year: Adder, Bluebell, Lobster by Chrissie Gittins (illustrated by Paul Bommer), and Dinosaurs & Dinner-Ladies by John Dougherty (illustrated by Tom Morgan- Jones) in August, followed by two more in March 2017: How to be a Tiger by George Szirtes and Where Zebras Go by Sue Hardy-Dawson. All titles will be published in B-format paperback, priced £6.99.
Otter-Barry said she would then aim to issue four poetry books per year, looking at new voices as well as established writers, and that one title every year will be by a poet who has not published their own collection before.
“Sue Hardy-Dawson is our début for 2017. She has already been published in anthologies but this is her first single collection,” said Otter-Barry. “I found her through word of mouth. Poets are very generous in promoting each other and she was recommended.”
Walker Books will publish The City of Secret Rivers, the first book in a London-set children’s adventure trilogy by US writer Jacob Sager Weinstein.
Fiction publisher Gill Evans and commissioning editor Emma Lidbury negotiated a three-book deal for English and Commonwealth rights from Alex Webb at the Rights People.
Evans said: “It is really exciting to find such inventive energy and wit in writing for a younger audience. His considerable writing talent, combined with Jacob’s delight and passion for London’s secret underground places and forgotten rivers, makes the world of these books a wonderful place for imaginations to roam.”
The City of Secret Rivers wil be published in hardback in early 2017 with books two and three to follow in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
When the book you thought should have been shortlisted for an award isn’t even longlisted you at least hope the eventual winning title will be one you have actually read.
I had read 5 of the seven shortlisted Branford Boase Award books and having reviewed a number of them, I was hoping that either Clare Furniss or Rupert Wallis would be the judges’ selection.
As it happens (that three-lettered law) they have chosen one of the two novels I haven’t read, Leopold Blue by Rosie Rowell, which naturally now goes to the top of my to-be-read pile to see how strongly I agree with the judgment. (Publisher, are there any review copies still available?)
Julia Eccleshare, chair of the judging panel, said of the winning book: “This year’s Branford Boase shortlist was very strong indeed and a number of books on the list have already appeared on shortlists for other prestigious awards. However, in Leopold Blue the judges have found a work of originality, power and intelligence that seems surprisingly to have escaped the notice it deserves. The characters and setting are brilliantly observed and described, and all readers will recognise something of themselves in Meg. The background gives it particular depth and it transcends the coming-of-age genre.” Rowell herself said that the book was something of a lovesong to the townships of her youth.
The tube strike depleted the assembly only very slightly (though I did note the absence of at least one shortlisted author). The presence of Jacqueline Wilson, a generous sponsor of the award, throughout the ceremony is especially good for the Young Writer prizewinners, inevitably mainly female. (The Young Writer Award was judged this year by Prue Goodwin.)
I always forget how tied up with book signing the shortlisted authors become after the announcement, so regret not talking to Clare Furniss earlier, to emphasise how much I enjoyed The Year of the Rat. It was good though to speak again with last year’s winner, C. J. Flood, and to hear how her next book is coming along, and with Rupert Wallis, who told me his second novel is due out next month and that he is already at work on a third.
Hats have been notable by their absence this week. First it was Shirley Hughes who turned up for the Lifetime Achievement Award on Tuesday _not_ wearing a hat and confounding Michael Morpurgo’s expectations, and now this evening at the Branford Boase Award ceremony it was the absence of David Lloyd (Walker’s man-in-the-hat and madhatter speech-maker extraordinaire) who was away fishing.
Another notable absence that was emphatically remarked upon was that of a previous award winner, the recently departed Mal Peet, who I never saw wearing a hat. It’s a source of some satisfaction to me (I know, I’ve mentioned it before, so excuse the repetition here) that I was on the judging panel (along with Kevin Brooks) the year Mal was chosen as the winner. Of course Mal would have gone on to win other awards even if he hadn’t been that year’s BBA winner – as any of this year’s unsuccessful shortlisted or longlisted authors may do as well, and as I’m sure the mysteriously overlooked Jon Walter will also (probably with his marvellous second novel) – but it is still a good feeling to have been amongst those who recognised the exceptional quality of Peet’s first book, Keeper. Books like that set the bar high. Which is as it should be.
As always the event was exceptionally well-managed and choreographed by both Anne Marley and the regular photographer for the evening, Paul Carter.
Vivian of the Newham Bookshop was running the book stand single-handed this year, her assistant John having been impeded by the underground strike.The award is unique for honouring the editor of a book as well as the author. The relationship of author and editor is a special one (the winning author spoke eloquently about how much she had learnt as a writer by working with her first editor, Emily Thomas) and authors I speak to regularly tell me how unsettling it is when they have to get used to working with a different editor mid-book, as happens all too frequently.
Indeed, such is the instability of the author-editor relationship that you sometimes wonder if the author-agent relationship is actually just as or (in some instances) more significant, especially in the case of first novels. After all, it is the agent who has had to spot the talent in the first place and, in all likelihood, has undertaken a good deal of editing before the finished book is ever submitted to a publisher’s editorial department.
In which case, although actual ones have been a bit absent this week, metaphorical hats off to Rosie Rowell’s agent, Claire Wilson.
Simon & Schuster UK has acquired two YA horror novels from debut American author, Amy Lukavics.
Rachel Mann, fiction editor, bought World English rights, excluding the US and Canada, from James Wills, managing director at Watson, Little, on behalf of Joanna Volpe at New Leaf Literary & Media in the US.
The first book, Daughters Unto Devils, is described by S&S as “The Exorcist” meets “Little House on the Prairie”. It tells the story of 16-year-old Amanda Verner, who fears she is losing her mind. When her family move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes she can leave behind her haunting memories of her afflicted baby sister, cabin fever and the secret boyfriend whose baby she is carrying. But their new home soaked in blood and Amanda has heard stories about the land being tainted by evil. With guilty secrets weighing down on her, she can’t be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or within her soul.
BRANFORD BOASE AWARD: SHORTLIST 2015
The shortlist for the 2015 Branford Boase Award is announced today (Wednesday 6th May 2015). 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.
The number of books submitted for the award has been steadily rising with more than 60 submitted this year. From 18 longlisted books, seven have made it onto the shortlist.
The seven shortlisted books are:
Bone Jack by Sara Crowe, edited by Charlie Sheppard and Eloise Wilson (Andersen Press)
The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss, edited by Jane Griffiths (Simon & Schuster)
Cowgirl by Giancarlo Gemin, edited by Kirsty Stansfield (Nosy Crow)
Half Bad by Sally Green, edited by Ben Horslen (Puffin)
Trouble by Non Pratt, edited by Annalie Grainger & Denise Johnstone-Burt (Walker Books)
Leopold Blue by Rosie Rowell, edited by Emily Thomas (Hot Key)
The Dark Inside by Rupert Wallis, edited by Jane Griffiths (Simon & Schuster)
This year’s judges are:
librarian and chair of Ibby UK Pam Dix;
Sue Jones, children’s books consultant;
Clare Maltby, bookseller from P & G Wells in Winchester;
and last year’s winner, C. J. (Chelsey) Flood, author of Infinite Sky
The panel is chaired by Julia Eccleshare, children’s books editor of the Guardian.
The winner of the 2015 Branford Boase Award will be announced on Thursday 9th 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.
It bears repeating – ACHUKA is still bemused that undoubtedly one of the best debuts of last year, Close To The Wind by Jon Walter, was not even included in the longlist, let alone the shortlist.
In May 2014 Bloomsbury Children’s Books and The National Literacy Trust launched a prize to find a new children’s author. Members of the public were invited to submit stories for 8-12 year olds with a chance to win a publishing contract with Bloomsbury. All proceeds from the competition went to helping the National Literacy Trust continue their vital work of improving literacy across the country.
Over 400 entries were submitted for the competition raising over £20,000 for the National Literacy Trust.
The entries were whittled down to a shortlist of six by the National Literacy Trust and Bloomsbury. A judging panel consisting of bestselling author Katherine Rundell, children’s book expert Nicolette Jones, Rebecca McNally, Children’s Publishing Director at Bloomsbury and National Literacy Trust Director Jonathan Douglas, then had the difficult choice of selecting a winner.
The winning novel will be announced in May but the six lucky authors to make the shortlist are:
- Geoff Bagwell for Don’t Look Back
- Camilla Chester for Jarred Dreams
- Emma Cox for Malkin Moonlight
- Julia Davenport for The Siege of Mafeking Street
- Treasa Reilly for Gem and Ini
- Jamie Smith for Scaled
Follow the link for synopses of the shortlisted novels:
A London author who became an internet sensation after taking up a writing challenge has been tipped for international success with his debut novel.
Taran Matharu, 24, began Summoner: The Novice in 2013 when he accepted a challenge to write 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month.
He posted sections on the Wattpad story-sharing site, attracting 100,000 readers in a month and one million in less than four months. The book has now been read five million times.
The print version will be published in Britain in May. It has also been snapped up by 10 countries, with six-figure deals in the United States and Brazil, after Mr Matharu was signed by Juliet Mushens, the agent behind Jessie Burton’s 2014 hit The Miniaturist.
Ms Mushens said she became addicted to the book: “I understood why Taran was an online sensation. This is, I believe, one of the most exciting debuts of 2015.”
The Novice will be published by Hodder Children’s Books on May 7.
After winning the runner-up prize at the Montegrappa First Fiction Competition at the Emirates Airline Literature Festival last year, Lucinda Martin now has a publishing deal with Chicken House:
Dubai writer Lucinda Martin has been signed by Chicken House, the British publishing house founded by Barry Cunningham – the man who gave the green light for J K Rowling’s debut novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
“The offer came through at the end of December,” says Martin.
“It’s the best present I ever had.”
It was Martin’s first draft of her forthcoming novel Moth and the Nightingale that landed her the deal. Set in 1937, the young-adult tale is laced with fantasy and drama as it follows a grieving child’s relationship with an elderly woman she meets in the woods.
Since arriving in Dubai four years ago for a teaching job, Martin says she kept up a steady writing regimen by working on stories and focusing on her blog, Homesick and Heatstruck.
from The Bookseller:
Hodder Children’s Books has acquired Last Man Standing, a coming-of-age urban thriller, by debut author Patrice Lawrence.
In the story, 16-year-old Marlon has promised his widowed mum that he’ll be good, and nothing like his gang-leader brother, Andre. However, everything changes when his first date with Sonya ends in tragedy and Marlon enters Andre’s world of guns, knives and drug runs.
Emma Goldhawk, senior editor at Hodder, acquired the world rights, excluding the US and Canada, in a two-book deal from Caroline Sheldon at the Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency.
Hodder will publish Last Man Standing in spring 2016. A second standalone title will follow in 2017.
There have been some impressive debut novels this year. Judges for the next Branford Boase Award should have no trouble arriving at a strong shortlist. One book likely to be in contention is this highly atmospheric story about the relationship between a boy and a semi-vagrant war veteran called Webster.
This was Julia Eccleshare’s pre-release summary on LoveReading4Kids:
A poignant debut novel, The Dark Inside is the touching story of a thirteen year old coming to terms with the death of his mother as well as an exciting, mysterious and dramatic adventure. When James finds a man covered in terrible wounds living in the ruined house that he runs to in order to escape his step father, he begins an complicated journey in which the real readily becomes magical and the supernatural is never far away. The lessons James learns about change are thought provoking.
I particularly liked the way the book posed philosophical questions along the way. The author read Theology at Cambridge.