So the YA Book Prize shortlist is nearly here! Tomorrow we will be announcing the 10 books that have made it.
We had more than 90 submissions from publishers in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland and there was a lot of reading that went on since we first announced the prize. It was fun, but choosing 10 to go on the shortlist was slightly daunting. Would our tastes correspond to the wider publishing world? And more importantly, what will our teen shadow judges say?
Ultimately we chose 10 books that we loved and hopefully we have reflected the diversity there is in UK and Irish YA writing. Diversity is a big issue in publishing at the moment and we were keen to reflect the different types of YA books that are out there, so we have a mixture of horror, romance, humour, literary fiction, dystopia, fantasy and realism. There are debut writers and established authors, big titles from large publishing houses, and less well-known books that might have gone unnoticed when they were first released.
Looking at the diversity of the authors submitted was also interesting. Out of 92 books, only 27 were by male authors and 10 came from non-English publishing houses. And sadly, all of the authors were white.
It will be up to our team of trade and teen judges to pick the overall winner but we’re hoping that readers will get involved in the discussions about our shortlist on social media. On Twitter, let us know which book you like the most using #Team + the title. So if we shortlist August Folly by Angela Thirkell (unlikely), tweet your support using the hashtag #TeamAugustFolly. We'll make sure the hashtags are clear once the shortlist has been announced. And keep your eyes peeled for a competition to win the shortlist.
Hopefully over the next few months we will champion not only the 10 wonderful books shortlisted for our prize, but the YA industry in the UK and Ireland as a whole.