15th February 2017
The longlist for the 2017 Branford Boase Award has been announced. Given annually to the author of an outstanding debut novel for children, the Branford Boase Award is known as ‘the one to watch’ because of its extraordinary track record in picking out the most talented stars of children’s literature. Previous winners and shortlisted authors include Siobhan Dowd, Meg Rosoff, Mal Peet, Philip Reeve, Frank Cottrell Boyce and Patrick Ness who all went on to win the UK’s most prestigious children’s book award, the CILIP Carnegie Medal; last year’s Costa Book Award winner Frances Hardinge won with her debut novel Fly By Night in 2006.
Uniquely, the Branford Boase Award also honours the editor of the winning title and highlights the importance of the editor in nurturing new talent.
In another bumper year for debuts, over 70 books were submitted, the highest number since the award was founded in 2000; 22 have made it onto the longlist. These include Orangeboy, Patrice Lawrence’s acclaimed novel set around vicious London boy gangs, which was shortlisted for this year’s Costa Children’s Book Award, and Beetle Boy, M G Leonard’s story of a boy and his friendship with an unusual beetle, which is already an international bestseller with rights sold in 35 countries.
This year the judges are Brenda Gardner, former children’s editor; Joanna Halpin, children’s manager at Waterstones Trafalgar Square; Elizabeth McDonald, winner of the 2016 Public Librarian of the Year Award; and Horatio Clare, author of Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot, winner of the 2016 Branford Boase Award. The panel is chaired by Julia Eccleshare, children’s director of the Hay Festival.
Julia Eccleshare says: 'Once again our longlist includes an enormously varied collection of interesting, well-written books. We read fantasy stories, mysteries, contemporary adventures, romances, books that made us laugh and books that made us hopeful; and we met characters who broaden our knowledge and understanding of the world. The variety and quality of the books submitted demonstrate the current healthy, boundary-expanding state of UK children’s literature.'
The shortlist for the Award will be announced on 8 May 2017. The winner will be announced on 5 July at a ceremony in London.
The longlist in full:
Fenn Halflin and the Fearzero by Francesca Armour-Chelu, edited by Sarah Handley (Walker Books)
Alone by D J Brazier, edited by Charlie Sheppard & Chloe Sackur (Andersen Press)
The Hawkweed Prophecy by Irena Brignull, edited by Sarah Leonard and Megan Larkin (Orchard)
Cogheart by Peter Bunzl, edited by Rebecca Hill (Usborne)
Why I Went Back by James Clammer, edited by edited by Charlie Sheppard (Andersen Press)
Follow Me Back by Nicci Cloke, edited by Emma Matthewson (Hot Key Books)
We are Giants by Amber Lee Dodd edited by Niamh Mulvey (Quercus)
Little Bits of Sky by Sue Durrant, edited by Kirsty Stansfield (Nosy Crow)
Eden Summer by Liz Flanagan, edited by Bella Pearson (David Fickling Books)
The Bubble Boy by Stewart Foster, edited by Rachel Mann (Simon and Schuster)
The Otherlife by Julia Gray, edited by Chloe Sackur (Andersen Press)
The Best Medicine by Christine Hamill, edited by Siobhan Parkinson (Little Island)
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton, edited Alice Swan and Kendra Levin (Faber)
The Girl of Ink & Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, edited by Rachel Leyson (Chicken House)
Defender of the Realm by Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler, edited by David Stevens (Scholastic)
Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence, edited by Emma Goldhawk (Hodder Children’s Books)
Beetle Boy by M G Leonard edited by Barry Cunningham and Rachel Leyson (Chicken House)
Girl out of Water by Nat Luurtsema, edited by Emma Lidbury (Walker Books)
The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol, edited by Kesia Lupo and Barry Cunningham (Chicken House)
Riverkeep by Martin Stewart, edited by Shannon Cullen (Penguin Random House) Read an exclusive author interview
Kook by Chris Vick, edited by Nicholas Lake and Samantha Swinnerton (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
Spangles McNasty and the Fish of Gold by Steve Webb, edited by Charlie Sheppard (Anderson Press)