Childrens Book Awards

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Costa Book Awards shortlist

15t November 2011

The shortlist for the Costa Book Awards has been announced. Authors shortlisted include a former opera singer and television comedy producer.

Winners in the five categories, who each receive 5,000, will be announced on Wednesday 4th January 2012.

The overall winner of the Costa Book of the Year 2011 will receive 30,000 and will be selected and announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony in central London on Tuesday 24th January 2012.

The 2011 Costa Children's Book Award shortlist includes:

Martyn Bedford for Flip (Walker Books)

Frank Cottrell Boyce for The Unforgotten Coat (Walker Books)

Lissa Evans for Small Change for Stuart (Doubleday)

Moira Young for Blood Red Road (Marion Lloyd Books)

The judges for the shortlist included: Helen Fospero, television presenter; author Eleanor Updale and Tony West, manager of the Lion and Unicorn Bookshop in Richmond.

This is what the judges had to say about each of the shortlisted titles:

Flip by Martyn Bedford (Walker Books)

Alex is 14 and lives at home with his parents and his younger brother, a pretty normal existence for any teenager.... until he wakes up one morning to discover he is not in his own bedroom.

His hands look like someone else's, his body has more muscles and when he looks in the mirror he gets the shock of his life! How is it possible that he has become another teenager, it seems overnight, called Phillip, or Flip? And if he's Flip - where's Alex?

Alex finds himself in a life and death quest to return to his true self or be trapped forever in the wrong life.

Martyn Bedford is the author of five adult novels and has had numerous short stories published in anthologies, newspapers and magazines.

Flip is his first book for teens. A graduate of the MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, he currently teaches on the English and Writing programme at Leeds Trinity University College.

Before becoming a writer and teacher, Martyn worked for thirteen years as a journalist in regional newspapers around the UK. He lives in West Yorkshire, with his wife and two daughters.

The judges said, "Flip swept us all along. Thanks to Martyn Bedford's masterly balance of tension and wit, this unique fusion of the surreal and the everyday proved utterly convincing."

The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Walker Books)

The arrival of Chingis and his brother Nergui teaches Julie the true meaning of friendship and introduces her to a magical world beyond the borders of Outer Mongolia, a world filled with demons and yurts and nomadic adventures.

The two refugee brothers are determined to fit in with their Liverpool schoolmates but bring so much of Mongolia to Bootle that their new friend and guide, Julie, is hard-pressed to know truth from fantasy as she recollects a wonderful friendship that was abruptly ended when Chingis and his family were forced to return to Mongolia.

Frank Cottrell Boyce's first book for children, Millions, won the 2004 Carnegie Medal and was shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. His books Framed and Cosmic were both shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal.

Frank is an accomplished, successful and well-known screen and television writer and lives with his family in Liverpool.

Boyce wrote The Unforgotten Coat to support Liverpool-based charity, The Reader Organisation's annual reading campaign, Our Read.

The book features original photography from Edge Hill lecturer Carl Hunter, who is also a member of Liverpool Band, The Farm.

The judges said, "This book demands to be picked up not only because it tackles a contemporary issue in a humane and engaging way, but also because it's so splendidly produced."

Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans (Doubleday)

Stuart Horten - ten years old and small for his age - moves to the dreary town of Beeton, far away from all his friends. But in Beeton begins the strangest adventure of Stuart's life.

He is swept up in a quest to find his great-uncle's lost workshop - a workshop stuffed full with trickery and magic. There are clues to follow and puzzles to solve, but what starts as fun ends up as danger, and Stuart begins to realise that he can't finish the task by himself....

This is Lissa Evan's first children's book, but she was longlisted for the Orange Prize for her adult novel Their Finest Hour and a Half.

After a brief career in medicine, then in stand-up comedy, Lissa became a comedy producer, first for radio and then in television where her credits as producer/director include Room 101, Father Ted and Have I Got News for You. She lives with her family in north London.

The judges said, "A charming, witty tale which deserves a place on every family's bookshelf."

Blood Red Road by Moira Young (Marion Lloyd Books)

Blood Red Road is set in a lawless future land, where life is cheap and survival is hard.

Saba's twin brother is stolen by mysterious, black-robed riders. She sets out on a desperate journey to find him.

Ahead lie violence and treachery, and Saba will need a spirit as tough as her crossbow to survive. But her companions are the cleverest bird that ever flew, and a handsome thief with eyes the colour of moonlight....

This is Moira Young's debut novel. Before becoming a writer she was an actress, comedian, opera singer, dancer and teacher.

She came to London from her native Canada to perform on the stage and toured with Travelling Opera in the UK and Europe. In 2003 she enrolled in the Elizabeth Hawkins' Writing for Children course and workshop at City Lit and hasn't stopped writing since. She now lives in Bath.

The judges said, "An astonishing debut novel which had us all hooked from the beginning to the unpredictable end."