Philip Pullman is in the running for the YA Book Prize 2018 alongside previous winners Sarah Crossan and Patrice Lawrence, and début author M A Bennett.
Pullman is shortlisted for La Belle Sauvage (David Fickling Books/Penguin), the first volume in his long-awaited The Book of Dust series, which is set in the same world as his trilogy, His Dark Materials. La Belle Sauvage was named Waterstones Book of the Year 2017 and has sold 336,715 copies since its publication in October 2017. Crossan, who won the YA Book Prize in 2016, makes the list for her Costa Children’s Book of the Year-shortlisted novel in verse, Moonrise (Bloomsbury), about a boy whose brother is on death row. Last year’s winner, Patrice Lawrence, is recognised for her second novel Indigo Donut (Hodder Children’s), a love story between two teenagers grappling with their demons. First-time novelist M A Bennett is shortlisted for her boarding school thriller S.T.A.G.S (Hot Key Books).
Previous YA Book Prize shortlistees Alex Wheatle, Patrick Ness and Holly Bourne are also included in this year’s YA10. The third title in Wheatle’s sequence of books set on the fictional South Crong council estate, Straight Outta Crongton (Atom), is up against Ness’ story with a supernatural twist about a teenage boy coming out to his conservative family, Release (Walker Books), and Bourne’s It Only Happens in the Movies (Usborne), a realistic take on romantic comedies. Bourne’s Usborne stablemate Will Hill also made the shortlist for his book about a girl who has grown up in a cult, After the Fire.
Andersen Press has a title shortlisted for the YA Book Prize for the first time: Sally Nicholls’ story inspired by the women’s suffrage movement Things a Bright Girl Can Do. Completing the 2018 YA10 is Emily Barr’s first book for young adults, also longlisted for the Branford Boase Award, The One Memory of Flora Banks (Penguin), a psychological thriller about a girl with anterograde amnesia.
The shortlist will be judged by: author and inaugural YA Book Prize winner Louise O’Neill; Julia Eccleshare, children’s director of the Hay Festival and children’s books editor at the Guardian; actor, writer and co-host of books and pop culture podcast “Mostly Lit”, Alex Holmes; Melanie Ramdarshan Bold, senior lecturer at University College London, where she teaches and researches topics related to publishing and book cultures; Waterstones’ Scottish buying manager, Angie Crawford; book blogger, YouTuber and creator of the #ukyachat Twitter chat, Lucy Powrie; and hip-hop artist, writer and historian Akala. The panel will be chaired by The Bookseller’s web editor Caroline Carpenter. Teenage judges from schools in Bradford, London and Hereford will also help to select the winning book.
O’Neill said: “Winning the inaugural YA Book Prize had a huge impact on my career, and it’s a memory I treasure. As a result, it feels extra special to be on the judging panel for this year’s prize. I believe that writers in the UK and Ireland are producing some of the finest fiction for young adults available, and I can’t wait to read the 2018 shortlist.”
The Bookseller is also awarding a YA Book Prize Special Achievement Award to Stripes Publishing and the authors of its YA anthology A Change is Gonna Come, published in August 2017. Stripes editorial director Ruth Bennett (who is currently on maternity leave) said the anthology, which includes stories and poems from established authors such as Nikesh Shukla and Catherine Johnson, as well as previously unpublished writers, was conceived in response to the “lack of diversity at every level” in publishing. Stripes recently announced that it was launching a new YA anthology of short stories and poetry by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer authors, curated by Juno Dawson.
Carpenter said: “A Change is Gonna Come was one of the most important UK YA books published last year and we wanted to recognise that with this award. Stripes and its authors highlighted a major problem facing the children’s book industry, and took active steps to tackle it—and Stripes continues to do so with its innovative, inclusive publishing.”
The winner of the YA Book Prize 2018 will be announced at a ceremony at the Hay Festival on Thursday 31st May.