The shortlist for the 2015 Branford Boase Award is announced today (Wednesday 6th May 2015). The Branford Boase Award is given annually to the author of an outstanding debut novel for children. Uniquely, it also honours the editor of the winning title and highlights the importance of the editor in nurturing new talent.
The number of books submitted for the award has been steadily rising with more than 60 submitted this year, proof of the vitality of publishing for children in the UK. From a longlist of 18, seven outstanding debuts have made it onto the shortlist. It’s a diverse list: central characters include troubled young men, teenage girls facing difficult personal situations, and the community of a small Welsh town; settings range from the South Africa of the 1990s to an invented, and frightening, other world. Last year’s winning publisher Simon and Schuster has two titles on the shortlist, while small independent Nosy Crow appears for the first time. The seven shortlisted books are:
Bone Jack by Sara Crowe, edited by Charlie Sheppard and Eloise Wilson (Andersen Press)
The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss, edited by Jane Griffiths (Simon & Schuster)
Cowgirl by Giancarlo Gemin, edited by Kirsty Stansfield (Nosy Crow)
Half Bad by Sally Green, edited by Ben Horslen (Puffin)
Trouble by Non Pratt, edited by Annalie Grainger & Denise Johnstone-Burt (Walker Books)
Leopold Blue by Rosie Rowell, edited by Emily Thomas (Hot Key)
The Dark Inside by Rupert Wallis, edited by Jane Griffiths (Simon & Schuster)
This year the judges are librarian and chair of Ibby UK Pam Dix; Sue Jones, children’s books consultant; Clare Maltby, bookseller from P & G Wells in Winchester; and C. J. (Chelsey) Flood, author of Infinite Sky, winner of the 2014 Branford Boase Award. The panel is chaired by Julia Eccleshare, children’s books editor of The Guardian.