The shortlist for the 2019 Branford Boase Award was announced yesterday (Wednesday 1st May 2019). 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 shortlist is:
The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson, edited by Rebecca Hill and Becky Walker (Usborne) *shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal*
The Train to Impossible Places by P.G. Bell, edited by Rebecca Hill and Becky Walker (Usborne)
Rosie Loves Jack by Mel Darbon, edited by Sarah Stewart (Usborne)
The Goose Road by Rowena House, edited by Mara Bergman (Walker Books)
I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan, edited by Lucy Pearse (Macmillan) *shortlisted for the YA Book Award*
Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen, edited by Sarah Stewart and Kendra Levin (Usborne) *shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Award*
The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q Raúf, edited by Lena McCauley (Orion Children’s Books) *winner of the Blue Peter Book Award*
This year the judges are Sanchita Basu De Sarkar of the Children’s Bookshop, Muswell Hill; Ellen Krajewski, librarian at Hemel Hempstead School, Hertfordshire; Louise Johns-Shepherd, chief executive of CLPE; and Mitch Johnson, author of Kick, winner of the 2018 Branford Boase Award. The panel is chaired by Julia Eccleshare, children’s director of the Hay Festival.
Julia Eccleshare says: “In its twenty-year history, the Branford Boase Award has given a crucial early career boost to the most exciting and important young authors, and prompted publishers to seek out new talent. What’s more, it continues to reflect the shape and preoccupations of contemporary children’s literature: this year’s shortlist is weighted towards fiction for readers aged 8 – 11, but themes explored include resilience, identity and a sense of self. We are proud of every one of its twenty shortlists and happy that so many years after their deaths, Wendy Boase and Henrietta Branford are celebrated in such a positive way.”
The winner of the 2019 Branford Boase Award will be announced on Thursday 27th June 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.