Christopher steals Branford Boase

Lucy Christopher has won this year's Branford Boase Award for her novel Stolen, published by Chicken House. The award recognised début writers and their editors and is supported by former children's laureate Jacqueline Wilson.

Christopher, who teaches part time on the creative writing MA at Bath University, said: "It is such an important award because it gives new writers a boost early in their career. It is also special because you can only win it once."

In Stolen, 16-year-old Gemma relives her kidnapping from Bangkok airport while on holiday. She is taken to the desolate Australian Outback and Stolen is written as a letter to her captor. The book was edited by Imogen Cooper.

Christopher wrote Stolen as part of her PhD on how Australian literature represents wild places. She said: "I always wanted to write about Australia because one of the biggest things that affected me was moving to Australia when I was 10. There was a big nature reserve behind our house that I used to explore, which was exciting but also scary."

Christopher's second book, Fly Away, has already been published by Chicken House, and she is currently writing a thriller for YA readers. Chicken House has now won the award three times.

The other titles on the 2010 shortlist were

Devil’s Kiss by Sarwat Chadda, edited by Lindsey Heaven (Puffin)

Life, Interrupted by Damian Kelleher, edited by Anne Clark (Piccadilly Press)

Guantanamo Boy by Anna Perera, edited by Shannon Park (Puffin)

Big and Clever by Dan Tunstall, edited by Ross Bradshaw (Five Leaves)

Numbers by Rachel Ward, edited by Imogen Copper (Chicken House)

Paradise Barn by Victor Watson, edited by Leonie Pratt (Catnip)