Children’s author Zanib Mian, Waterstones children’s category specialist Georgina Mitchell, literary agent Hellie Ogden and Hachette Children’s Group’s senior commissioning editor Tig Wallace have been chosen to judge the Hachette Children’s Novel Award in 2021.
The award, part of the Northern Writers’ Awards (produced by New Writing North with Northumbria University and the Arts Council), was founded in 2018 to search for brilliant new books for children from the North of England. It is offered in partnership by New Writing North (NWN) and Hachette Children’s Group (HCG), and aimed at debut writers of middle-grade/young teen fiction who currently live and work in the region.
The winner, who will have a complete but as-yet-unpublished children's novel, will receive a £5,000 advance and a publishing deal for their book with Hachette Children’s Group, joining the likes of David Almond, Cressida Cowell, Jessica Townsend, Will Mabbitt, Patrice Lawrence, Onjali Q Raúf and Piers Torday on the list. The awards are now open for entry, and will be so until 18th February 2021.
Mian, a Hachette Children's Group author who also launched the inclusive press Sweet Apple Publishers, said it was an honour to be involved. Ogden, who represents fiction, children’s books and non-fiction at agencyJanklow & Nesbit, said she was "chuffed to be involved in the panel and read amazing work from emerging writing stars".
HCG senior commissioning editor Wallace said the awards "form a brilliant, much-needed programme of dedicated outreach, all-round support and championing of writers from the North of England. We have already seen such great talent emerge through NWN’s work—including authors we’re proud to be publishing at HCG—and I can’t wait to find out who will be discovered this year."
Mitchell, children’s category specialist at Waterstones, added: "A northerner myself, I know the talent that the North of England has to offer and this year I am excited to be a judge for the Hachette Children’s Novel Award, supporting that very talent and encouraging diversity in children’s publishing. Every child should be able to see themselves in the books that they read, and every author should have the chance to tell their story. To be a part of the Northern Writers’ Awards and to give northern children and writers that opportunity, is an honour."
Will Mackie, senior programme manager (writing and awards) at New Writing North, commented: "New Writing North have an ideal partner in Hachette Children’s Group, who combine their unrivalled expertise and extraordinary passion for children’s books with great professionalism. It’s a genuine delight to be working alongside the Hachette team again, as we enter the third year of this special award. Individually, each member of this year’s judging panel brings their own specialism and perspective, and it’s exciting to see how they will work together to facilitate a life-changing opportunity for the winning writer."
The 2020 award was won by Leeds-based writer Hannah Durkan. Her debut, a middle-grade fantasy adventure, will publish in 2022.