The Brandford Boase Award 2018 Shortlist

The shortlist for the 2018 Branford Boase Award is announced today (Wednesday 2nd May 2018). 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 nineteenth 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. Previous winners and shortlisted authors include Siobhan Dowd, Meg Rosoff, Mal Peet, Philip Reeve, Frank Cottrell Boyce and Patrick Ness; Costa Book Award winner Frances Hardinge won with her debut novel Fly By Night in 2006. The shortlist for the 2018 award is as follows:

  • A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars by Yaba Badoe, edited by Fiona Kennedy (Head of Zeus: Zephyr)
  • The Starman and Me by Sharon Cohen, edited by Sarah Lambert (Quercus Children’s Books)
  • Fish Boy by Chloe Daykin, edited by Leah Thaxton (Faber)
  • Knighthood for Beginners by Elys Dolan, edited by Clare Whitston and Elv Moody (Oxford)
  • Kick by Mitch Johnson, edited by Rebecca Hill and Becky Walker (Usborne)
  • Potter’s Boy by Tony Mitton, edited by Anthony Hinton (David Fickling Books)
  • The City of Secret Rivers by Jacob Sager Weinstein, edited by Gill Evans (Walker Books)
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    This year the judges are Urmi Merchant of children’s bookshop Pickled Pepper Books; Helen Swinyard, librarian at Heartlands High School and founder of the Haringey Children’s Book Award; author and reviewer Philip Womack; and M.G. (Maya) Leonard, author of Beetle Boy, winner of the 2017 Branford Boase Award. The panel is chaired by Julia Eccleshare, children’s director of the Hay Festival.

    Julia Eccleshare says: Each year the Branford Boase Award discovers authors with outstanding talent and promise: this year is no exception. The BBA also celebrates the lively state of children’s publishing in the UK and we were excited that no less than 26 different publishers entered books with seven making the shortlist. By concentrating on the most exciting new voices, the Branford Boase consistently highlights trends in contemporary children’s fiction: our 2018 judges were struck by the huge predominance on the longlist of domestic dramas. Children’s adventure it seems has become internal, the setting no longer the outside world but frequently the family, with narrative tension and action arising from issues such as mental health and individual trauma. Nonetheless, our seven shortlisted books have new stories to tell and vibrant new voices to tell them.

    The winner of the 2018 Branford Boase Award will be announced on Wednesday 4th 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.

    For more information about the award, including a full list of past winners, and the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition visit www.branfordboaseaward.org.uk

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