The Evening Standard is launching a children’s book prize in memory of Oscar Ashton, the son of the newspaper’s city editor James Ashton, who died last year.
The £5,000 prize is sponsored by Waitrose and will be awarded to the best book that a child under five could pick up on his or her own.
Oscar was three-and-a-half when he died from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an undetected genetic heart condition that thickens the heart wall.
Oscar’s First Book Prize is the Standard’s first ever book prize, said spokesperson Katie Law.
“Because James’ son was three-and-a-half when he died he’d just started to look at books on his own,” she told The Bookseller. “So this really is a prize for the first book that a child will pick up on his or her own.”
Oscar’s parents, James Ashton and Viveka Alvestrand, will judge the prize, along with Mark Price, Waitrose c.e.o; Charlotte Ross, deputy editor of the Evening Standard; and Dame Marjorie Scardino, former c.e.o. of Pearson.
The organisers will ask publishers to submit up to three print titles per imprint published in 2013. They will announce a shortlist of five books in April next year, and the winner the following month.