Seven debut children’s authors are on the shortlist for this year’s Branford Boase Award, including Kereen Getten, Elle McNicoll, Jenny Pearson and Manjeet Mann.
The Branford Boase Award is given annually to honour the author and editor of an outstanding debut novel for children. Getten is shortlisted for When Life Gives you Mangoes (Pushkin Children’s Books, edited by Sarah Odedina), while McNicoll is on the list with A Kind of Spark (Knights Of, edited by Eishar Brar).
Mann’s Run, Rebel (Penguin, edited by Carmen McCullough) is the first verse novel to be shortlisted for the Branford Boase and Pearson is in the running with The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates (Usborne, edited by Rebecca Hill and Becky Walker), which was previously shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Award.
The other shortlisted titles are: Witch by Finbar Hawkins (Zephyr, edited by Fiona Kennedy), And the Stars Were Burning Brighton by Danielle Jawando (S&S, edited by Jane Griffiths), and Orphans of the Tide by Struan Murray (Puffin, edited by Ben Horslen and illustrated by Maneul Sumberac).
“The range of stories and voices on this year’s shortlist is thrilling,” said chair of the judges Julia Eccleshare. “Each year the Branford Boase Award highlights the most exciting new talent and most gifted editors, and it regularly identifies changes in the direction of fiction for children. These seven books showcase all that children’s fiction can be. Here are stories that explain and provoke; reassure and challenge; that present the world through different eyes, or make us recognise what we knew but didn’t understand; and, of course, they entertain, all readers, and on repeated readings.”
Last year’s winner Liz Hyder is also on the judging panel. She said: “We had to whittle the longlist of 25 books down to seven, which was incredibly hard because all the books were outstanding. I can’t believe these books are debuts. The confidence shown in the writing is outstanding.”
The Branford Boase Award is sponsored by Walker Books and was launched to commemorate author Henrietta Branford and Walker editor Wendy Boase. Previous winners include Philip Reeve, Frank Cottrell Boyce and Frances Hardinge.