Branford Boase Children's Debut Prize The Branford Boase Award

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M.G. Leonard with her award, and in the group photo, left to right, Rachel Leyshon, M.G. Leonard, Barry Cunningham and Frances Hardinge. Frances, who won the Branford Boase Award in 2006, presented the winners with their awards. Now in its seventeenth year the Branford Boase Award is recognised as one of the most important awards in children’s books with an impressive record in identifying authors with special talent at the start of their careers. Uniquely, it also honours the editor of the winning title and highlights the importance of the editor in nurturing new talent. Julia Eccleshare says: “Children’s publishing in the UK is an extremely healthy state and this is a particularly strong, varied and interesting list. There are moving contemporary stories that vividly depict modern family relationships; inventive and brilliantly imagined fantasy stories; stories that will move and inspire readers; and some to make them laugh. Any one of these seven authors would be a worthy winner and we are already excited about what they will write next.” The Shortlist for the 2017 award was: Cogheart by Peter Bunzl, edited by Rebecca Hill (Usborne) We Are Giants by Amber Lee Dodd, edited by Niamh Mulvey (Quercus) Little Bits of Sky by S.E. Durrant, edited by Kirsty Stansfield (Nosy Crow) The Bubble Boy by Stewart Foster, edited by Rachel Mann (Simon and Schuster) The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, edited by Rachel Leyson (Chicken House) Beetle Boy by M G Leonard, edited by Barry Cunningham and Rachel Leyson (Chicken House) Riverkeep by Martin Stewart edited by Shannon Cullen and Sharyn November (Penguin Random House)

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.

Henrietta Branford was a gifted novelist for young people. During her short career she won the Smarties Prize in 1994 for Dimanche Diller (Harper Collins) and the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1998 for Fire, Bed and Bone (Walker Books); she was twice shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize, in 1994 and 1997. Her progress and development as a writer was watched with interest by publishers, critics and fellow writers alike.

Wendy Boase, Editorial Director of Walker Books, and one of its founders, was a passionate children's book editor wholly committed to developing new writers and nursing them through their early writing careers. She is credited with bringing on many new talents. She and Henrietta worked together on a number of her books, a partnership that was warmly appreciated by Henrietta.

Both Henrietta and Wendy died of cancer in early 1999. The Branford Boase Award wishes to celebrate and encourage, in their names and in their memories, the crucial early development of new writing talent.

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

The winner of the 2017 Branford Boase Award will be announced on Wednesday 5th July at a ceremony in London. Frances Hardinge will present the winner with a cheque for £1,000 and both author and editor will receive a unique, hand-crafted silver-inlaid box.

For more information on the Branford Boase Award visit www.branfordboaseaward.org.uk

The branford boase award

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