The year's outstanding debut authors for children: shortlist for the 2021 Branford Boase Award announced.
Future starts are highlighted in this year's Branford Boase shortlist. The 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.
Seven books have made the shortlist, and include Jenny Pearson's Costa-shortlisted comic road-trip adventure The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates; Elle McNicoll's 'own voices' novel, A Kind of Spark (Blue Peter Book Award Winner and Blackwell's 2020 Book of the Year); and Danielle Jawando's hard-hitting YA novel And the Stars Were Burning Brightly. For the first time in the award's history, a verse novel has been shortlisted, Manjeet Mann's YA story Run, Rebel.
The Branford Boase Award shortlist for the 2021 award in full:
When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kereen Getten, edited by Sarah Odedina (Pushkin Children's Books)
Witch by Finbar Hawkins, edited by Fiona Kennedy (Zephyr)
And the Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando, edited by Jane Griffiths (Simon and Schuster)
A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll, edited by Eishar Brar (Knights Of)
Run, Rebel by Manjeet Mann, edited by Carmen McCullough (Penguin)
Orphans of the Tide by Struan Murray, edited by Ben Horslen, illustrated by Manuel Sumberac (Puffin)
The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates by Jenny Pearson, edited by Rebecca Hill and Becky Walker, illustrated by Rob Biddulph (Usborne)
The judges are Zoey Dixon, YLG Librarian of the Year 2020; Scott Evans, teacher and consultant; Natasha Radford of Chicken and Frog bookshop, Brentwood; and Liz Hyder, author of Bearmouth, winner of the 2020 Branford Boase Award. The panel is chaired by Julia Eccleshare, children's director of the Hay Festival.
Julia Eccleshare, co-founder of the award and chair of the judges, says, "The range of stories and voices on this year's shortlist is thrilling. Each year the Branford Boase Award highlights the most exciting new talent and most gifted editors, and it regularly identifies changes in the direction of fiction for children. These seven books showcase all that children's fiction can be. Here are stories that explain and provoke; reassure and challenge; that present the world through different eyes, or make us recognise what we knew but didn't understand; and, of course, they entertain, all readers, and on repeated readings."
The winner of the Branford Boase Award will be announced on Thursday 15 July. The winning author receives a cheque for £1,000 and both author and editor receive an inscribed plaque. Previous winners and shortlisted authors include Siobhan Dowd, Meg Rosoff, Muhammad Khan, Philip Reeve, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Frances Hardinge, Patrick Ness and Marcus Sedgwick. Last year's winners were Liz Hyder and her editor Sarah Odedina with Bearmouth (Pushkin Press).