YA author Kathryn Evans has won the 2016 Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award for her début novel, More of Me (Usborne).
Evans’ win marks the first time a YA novel has won in the seven years the prize has been running.
Any book that features in the festival’s public programme is eligible for the award. Evans beat off competition from 45 other début novels and short story collections after winning a public vote.
“I am stunned to have won this award – when I saw the calibre of the other authors I thought I didn’t have a hope,” said Evans. “So often children’s fiction is seen as the poor cousin to adult books – yet in it, we tackle some of the hardest subjects in the most innovative of ways. I am so proud to hold the banner up for YA fiction.”
More of Me is about a 16-year-old who tries to hide the fact that every year she separates into two, leaving a younger version of herself stuck at the same age, in the same house. But with her 17th birthday looming, she decides to fight for her future.
Janet Smyth, director of the children’s and educational programme at the festival, said: “The First Book Award is such an important element to our Festival programme and one of the most exciting ways for us - and our audience - to discover emerging writers. I read Kathryn's novel, More of Me, in manuscript form last autumn and I was immediately gripped by her characters and impressed by the subtle and skilful storytelling. She is a hugely deserving winner and a very exciting new voice in YA fiction and I can't wait to see what she writes next."
As well as writing fiction, Evans is the finance co-ordinator for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators in the British Isles, and runs a strawberry farm in West Sussex.