This year's Branford Boase Award shortlist has been announced, featuring a first-ever entry from Pushkin Press and multiple titles from Puffin.
Liz Hyder's Bearmouth, edited by Sarah Odedina, marks Pushkin Press's first appearance on the shortlist for the award, which celebrates "outstanding" debut novels in children's and YA, and also recognises the editors of the work.
Also shortlisted are: Little Badman and the Invasion of the Killer Aunties by Humza Arshad and Henry White, edited by Holly Harris and Sharan Matharu, illustrated by Aleksei Bitskoff (Puffin); The Space We’re In by Katya Balen, edited by Lucy Mackay-Sim, illustrated by Laura Carlin (Bloomsbury); A Pocketful of Stars by Aisha Bushby, edited by Liz Bankes and Sarah Levison (Egmont); A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson, edited by Lindsey Heaven (Electric Monkey); Frostheart by Jamie Littler, edited by Naomi Colthurst (Puffin); and The Million Pieces of Neena Gill by Emma Smith-Barton, edited by Naomi Colthurst (Penguin).
This year's panel is chaired by children's director of Hay Festival Julia Eccleshare, with judges including vice chair of the SLA Sue Bastone, Victoria Dilly, creator of the Book Activist blog, Layla Hudson of Round Table Books and Muhammad Khan, author of I Am Thunder, winner of the 2019 award.
Eccleshare, who is also a co-founder of the award, said: “In highlighting the most exciting new authors and the most talented editors, the Branford Boase Award also identifies the preoccupations and strengths of current children’s literature and we are pleased to say that this year’s shortlist is particularly rich and diverse.
"Here are extremely powerful, challenging stories tackling complex issues alongside funny, exciting, original fiction; the range of voices represented is unparalleled in the award’s history. We are excited not only about the books on the shortlist, but about what their authors will write next too.”
The winner would normally be announced at a ceremony in London in early July but due to the pandemic, the ceremony has been delayed until 24th September. They will receive £1,000 and along with their editor will be awarded an inscribed crystal plaque.
The Branford Boase is sponsored by Walker Books.
Winners and shortlisted authors from previous years include Siobhan Dowd, Meg Rosoff, Mal Peet, Philip Reeve, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Frances Hardinge, Patrick Ness and Marcus Sedgwick.