Andersen Press is leading the way in the newly unveiled 2017 Branford Boase Award longlist with four nominations.
The prize, which is awaded annually to the author of an outstanding debut novel for children is also contended by Chicken House, which has three titles included and Walker Books which has two.
Twenty-two books are longlisted for the award which has honoured writers such as Meg Rosoff, Mal Peet and Patrick Ness in the past. More than 70 books were entered, the highest number since the award was founded in 2000.
Titles include the lauded Orangeboy (Hodder Children’s Books), Patrice Lawrence’s acclaimed novel set amongst London boy gangs, which was shortlisted for this year’s Costa Children’s Book Award, and Beetle Boy (Chicken House), M G Leonard’s story about a friendship between a boy and a beetle, the rights of which have been sold to 35 countries. Both novels which were also nominated for Waterstones Children's Book of the Year which was announced earlier this month.
Chicken House's other nominated titles include The Girl of Ink & Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, edited by Rachel Leyson, Beetle Boy, and The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol, edited by Kesia Lupo and Barry Cunningham. Walker's nods include Fenn Halflin and the Fearzero by Francesca Armour-Chelu, edited by Sarah Handley and Girl out of Water by Nat Luurtsema, edited by Emma Lidbury. Andersen's quartet of longlisted books are Alone by DJ Brazier, edited by Charlie Sheppard and Chloe Sackur, Why I Went Back by James Clammer, edited by Charlie Shepppard, The Otherlife by Julia Gray, edited by Chloe Sackur and Spangles McNasty and the Fish of Gold by Steve Webb by Charlie Sheppard.
This year’s judges include Brenda Gardner, former children’s editor, Joanna Halpin, children’s manager at Waterstones Trafalgar Square; Elizabeth McDonald, winner of the 2016 Public Librarian of the Year Award as well as 2016 Branford Boase Award winner Horatio Clare. She won for Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot edited by Penny Thomas published by Welsh independent publisher Firefly Press. The panel is chaired by Julia Eccleshare, children’s director of the Hay Festival. The shortlist will be announced on 8th May. The winner will be announced on 5th July at a ceremony in London.
Eccleshare said: “Once again our longlist includes an enormously varied collection of interesting, well-written books. We read fantasy stories, mysteries, contemporary adventures, romances, books that made us laugh and books that made us hopeful; and we met characters who broaden our knowledge and understanding of the world. The variety and quality of the books submitted demonstrate the current healthy, boundary-expanding state of UK children’s literature.”
The award celebrates the most promising book for seven year-olds and upwards written by a first-time novelist and highlights the role of the editor in the development of new authors. The shortlisted authors may have published other books in another genre but eligibility requires that this is their first children’s novel. It was established in memory of prize-winning author Henrietta Branford and Wendy Boase, editorial director and one of the founders of Walker Books. They worked together on a number of Henrietta’s novels. Both Henrietta and Wendy died of cancer in 1999.
The Branford Boase Award longlist in full:
Fenn Halflin and the Fearzero by Francesca Armour-Chelu, edited by Sarah Handley (Walker Books)
Alone by D J Brazier, edited by Charlie Sheppard & Chloe Sackur (Andersen Press)
The Hawkweed Prophecy by Irena Brignull, edited by Sarah Leonard and Megan Larkin (Orchard)
Cogheart by Peter Bunzl, edited by Rebecca Hill (Usborne)
Why I Went Back by James Clammer, edited by edited by Charlie Sheppard (Andersen Press)
Follow Me Back by Nicci Cloke, edited by Emma Matthewson (Hot Key Books)
We are Giants by Amber Lee Dodd edited by Niamh Mulvey (Quercus)
Little Bits of Sky by Sue Durrant, edited by Kirsty Stansfield (Nosy Crow)
Eden Summer by Liz Flanagan, edited by Bella Pearson (David Fickling Books)
The Bubble Boy by Stewart Foster, edited by Rachel Mann (Simon and Schuster)
The Otherlife by Julia Gray, edited by Chloe Sackur (Andersen Press)
The Best Medicine by Christine Hamill, edited by Siobhan Parkinson (Little Island)
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton, edited Alice Swan and Kendra Levin (Faber)
The Girl of Ink & Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, edited by Rachel Leyson (Chicken House)
Defender of the Realm by Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler, edited by David Stevens (Scholastic)
Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence, edited by Emma Goldhawk (Hodder Children’s Books)
Beetle Boy by M G Leonard edited by Barry Cunningham and Rachel Leyson (Chicken House)
Girl out of Water by Nat Luurtsema, edited by Emma Lidbury (Walker Books)
The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol, edited by Kesia Lupo and Barry Cunningham (Chicken House)
Riverkeep by Martin Stewart, edited by Shannon Cullen (Penguin Random House)
Kook by Chris Vick, edited by Nicholas Lake and Samantha Swinnerton (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
Spangles McNasty and the Fish of Gold by Steve Webb, edited by Charlie Sheppard (Anderson Press)