Malorie Blackman’s latest novel is among those longlisted for the Guardian children’s fiction prize, alongside titles from Alex Wheatle and Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock.
Blackman was longlisted for Chasing the Stars (Doubleday Children’s), a retelling of Othello set in space. Wheatle's book, Crongton Knights (Atom) is an “elegant, authentic and humane” book about a boy who lives on a council estate while Hitchcock's The Smell of Other People's Houses (Faber) is a novel that "beautifully" evokes the lives of young people in 1970s Alaska.
Also longlisted are The Marvels by Brian Selznick (Scholastic), about an actor shipwrecked on a whaling ship in 1776, Riverkeep by Martin Stewart (Penguin), which details an "epic" quest to find a mythic sea beast, Sweet Pizza by GR Gemin (Nosy Crow), a "heart-warming" story about bringing a diverse community together, Hell and High Water by Tanya Landman (Walker), a "heart-stopping" tale of a young man's attempt to clear his father's name and The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon (Hachette), a coming-of-age story about Subhi, a boy born in a refugee camp, who has never known life outside an immigration detention centre.
Juding the prize will be authors David Almond, Kate Saunders and SF Said. The Guardian's children's books editor, Julia Eccleshare, will be the chair of judges.
Almond said: “This is a wonderful long list, evidence of the vigorous health of children’s literature today. Children’s books live at the heart of our culture. This list deserves to be read not only by young people, but by anyone who values good writing and powerful stories. Here are eight wonderful writers at the top of their form, creating books that entertain, provoke, inform, disturb, delight. Huge congratulations to every one of them.”
A shortlist of four will be revealed in mid-October and the winner will be announced on 17th November 2016.