Chicken House editor Rachel Leyshon has two nods on the shortlist for the Branford Boase award including the Waterstones Children's Book Prize-winning The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. Quercus, Nosy Crow, Simon and Schuster and Penguin Random House are also represented on the middle-grade heavy shortlist.
The full shortlist is as follows: Cogheart by Peter Bunzl, edited by Rebecca Hill (Usborne); We Are Giants by Amber Lee Dodd, edited by Niamh Mulvey (Quercus); Little Bits of Sky by S.E. Durrant, edited by Kirsty Stansfield (Nosy Crow); The Bubble Boy by Stewart Foster, edited by Rachel Mann (Simon and Schuster); The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, edited by Rachel Leyshon (Chicken House); Beetle Boy by M G Leonard, edited by Barry Cunningham and Rachel Leyson (Chicken House); and Riverkeep by Martin Stewart edited by Shannon Cullen and Sharyn November (Penguin Random House).
The annual prize is the only one for children's books which acknowledges both the author and the editor of an outstanding debut novel for children. Now in its 17th year the seven-strong shortlist features “moving, contemporary stories that vividly depict modern family relationships”.
Two titles were withdrawn from the competition following the longlisting announcement in February. Eden Summer written by Liz Flanagan and edited by Bella Pearson (David Fickling Books) and Orangeboy written by Patrice Lawrence and edited by Emma Goldhawk (Hodder Children’s Books) were deemed ineligible after it was discovered that the authors had previously written short novels for children. The rules state that the award is for the most promising book for children aged seven and up by a first-time novelist.
Chair of the judges and Hay Festival children’s director Julia Eccleshare said: “Children’s publishing in the UK is an extremely healthy state and this is a particularly strong, varied and interesting list. There are moving contemporary stories that vividly depict modern family relationships; inventive and brilliantly imagined fantasy stories; stories that will move and inspire readers; and some to make them laugh. Any one of these seven authors would be a worthy winner and we are already excited about what they will write next.”
The judging panel also includes Brenda Gardner, former children’s editor and founder of Piccadilly Press, Joanna Halpin, Waterstones Trafalgar Square manager, Elizabeth McDonald, winner of the 2016 Public Librarian of the Year Award, and author Horatio Clare. Clare won the prize last year for Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot (Firefly Press) which was edited by Penny Thomas and with illustrations by Jane Matthews.
The winner of the 2017 Branford Boase Award will be announced on 5th July at a ceremony in London. YA author Frances Hardinge will present the winner with a cheque for £1,000 and both author and editor will receive a hand-crafted silver-inlaid box.
The Branford Boase Award was founded in 2000 in memory of author Henrietta Branford and Wendy Boase, one of the founders of Walker Books.
Previous winners include Meg Rosoff, Frances Hardinge, Annabel Pitcher, Mal Peet and Marcus Sedgwick.