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Longlist for the 2017 Branford Boase Award announced

The longlist for the 2017 Branford Boase Award is announced today (Wednesday 16 February 2017). 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 to 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.

For further information please contact Andrea Reece on 07807893369 or


The Branford Boase Award 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 Irina 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 and 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)

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)

Notes to Editors:

The annual Branford Boase Award celebrates the most promising book for seven year-olds and upwards written by a first-time novelist and also highlights the importance of the editor in the development of new authors. The shortlisted authors may have published other books in another genre – for example, poetry or a picture book – but eligibility for the prize requires that this is their first children’s novel.

As well as encouraging publishers to find and promote new writers, the Award sets out to alert readers of all ages to the work of interesting newcomers.

The Branford Boase Award was set up in memory of the outstanding and prize-winning author Henrietta Branford and Wendy Boase, editorial director and one of the founders of Walker Books. They worked together on a number of Henrietta’s novels, a partnership they greatly enjoyed. Both Henrietta and Wendy died of cancer in 1999.

Running alongside the Branford Boase Award, the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition encourages writing talent in under 18s.

The Award is the joint idea of Julia Eccleshare and Anne Marley. Julia is children’s director of the Hay Festival and a regular contributor to Radio 4’s Front Row and Open Book programmes. Anne is now co-director of Authors Aloud UK and was Head of Children’s, Youth & Schools Services for Hampshire Library & Information Service for many years. She has served on many children’s book award panels, including the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards.

Last year’s winners were Horatio Clare and his editor Penny Thomas with Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot (Firefly Press).

More than 70 books were submitted for the 2017 award, by 25 different publishers.

For more information about the award, including a full list of past winners, and the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition visit .


Or contact Andrea Reece on 07807893369 or


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