The longlist for the 2024 Branford Boase Award is announced today; the award is given annually to the author of the year’s outstanding debut novel for children.
The Branford Boase Award is the only award to honour the editor of the winning book, highlighting the importance of the editor in nurturing new talent. Founded in 2000, 2024 marks 25 years of this unique award.
The Branford Boase Award is known for identifying the most talented authors at the start of their career. Past winners and shortlisted authors have included Meg Rosoff, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Jenny Downham and Patrick Ness as well as Frances Hardinge, Philip Reeve, M.G. Leonard and most recently Maisie Chan (2022) and Christine Pillainayagam (2023). It's a list of the great and good in children's literature and we know that the author is destined for great things if they win this award.
Winning editors include Philip Pullman’s editor David Fickling, and Barry Cunningham, who famously published J K Rowling, plus Fiona Kennedy, Sarah Odedina and Bella Pearson.
For the fourth consecutive year, over 60 books were submitted, more than three times the number in 2000, and from 30 different publishing houses. Reflecting current trends in writing for children and young people, the longlist of 25 features three verse novels, including poet Matt Goodfellow’s The Final Year, edited by Charlotte Hacking and Tia Fisher’s Crossing the Line, edited by Emma Matthewson and Tia Albert which were both awarded LoveReading Star Books.
The 2024 Branford Boase Award longlist is -
Montgomery Bonbon: Murder at the Museum by Alasdair Beckett-King, illustrated by Claire Powell, edited by Gráinne Clear
"A superbly funny, debut young murder mystery from a rising stand-up comedian"
Vivi Conway and the Sword of Legend by Lizzie Huxley-Jones, edited by Eishar Brar
With an inclusive cast of characters, this contemporary adventure melds the magic and monsters of Welsh myth with themes of friendship.
The Swifts by Beth Lincoln, illustrated Claire Powell, edited by Ben Horslen and Julie Strauss-Gabel
Clever, original and hugely enjoyable, this murder mystery is a don’t miss.
The Kingdom Over the Sea by Zohra Nabi, edited by Ali Dougal
Dive into this magical, captivating fantasy.
Yomi and the Fury of Ninki Nanka by Davina Tijani, illus Adam Douglas-Bagley, edited by Mattie Whitehead and Karelle Tobias
This fun and fast-paced adventure is steeped in African mythology.
Greenwild by Pari Thomson, illus Elisa Paganelli, edited by Emma Jones
Open the door to a spellbinding world where the wilderness is alive and a deep magic rises from the earth itself.
The Sleeping Stones by Beatrice Wallbank, edited by Janet Thomas and Rebecca F. John
Gruff and his new friend Matylda live on a small island off the Welsh coast, where legends are beginning to stir...
9+ / 11+
The Final Year by Matt Goodfellow, illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton, edited by Charlotte Hacking
Navigating family and friendship issues make for a tough final year of primary school in this verse debut.
Digging for Victory by Cathy Faulkner, edited by Leonie Lock
Exciting Home Front war story with a memorable young protagonist.
The Detention Detectives by Lis Jardine, edited by Katie Sinfield and Millie Lean
This Star Book and the start of a new school set crime series is well worth investigating.
Safiyyah's War by Hiba Noor Khan, edited by Eloise Wilson
A wonderful story of compassion and courage that illuminates how children’s lives can be changed by the big events of history.
Last Girl In by Cheryl Diane Parkinson, edited by Sonya McGilchrist
A celebration of family, friendship, cricket, British Caribbean culture, Black British history and women's sport.
City of Stolen Magic by Nazneen Ahmed Pathak, edited by Natalie Doherty and India Chambers
A spellbinding magical adventure set in India in 1855 which weaves together magic and history making a fabulous new world as the background to an exciting drama.
The Destiny of Minou Moonshine by Gita Ralleigh, edited by Lauren Atherton
Thrilling and original story of friendship, rebellion and the fight for justice.
The Witchstone Ghosts by Emily Randall-Jones, edited by Rachel Leyshon
A spooky gothic adventure, perfect for fans of Frances Hardinge and for curling up with on a rainy night.
11+ / 13+
Steady for This by Nathanael Lessore, edited by Ella Whiddett and Ruth Bennett
Laugh-out loud funny, warm, with emotional depth – this tremendous debut novel is not to be missed.
Glow Up, Lara Bloom by Dee Benson, edited by Ruth Bennett
No! You should never glow up for a boy, only for yourself!
13+ / YA
Crossing the Line by Tia Fisher, edited by Emma Matthewson supported by Tia Albert
An immersive and powerful verse novel about terrifying county lines child exploitation.
Finding Phoebe by Gavin Extence, edited by Chloe Sackur
A witty, warm and honest glimpse into the life of an autistic teenage girl.
How Far We've Come by Joyce Efia Harmer, edited by Lucy Pearse
Highly original debut novel which uses a timeslip device to illuminate the legacy of slavery.
You Think You Know Me by Ayaan Mohamud, edited by Sarah Stewart
A poignant, prescient, compelling story of courage, friendship, family love and personal triumph in the face of Islamophobia.
Never Trust a Gemini by Freja Nicole Woolf, edited by Non Pratt (Walker Books)
This LOL-some LGBTQ+ romcom teems with crushes, cringes and a match that might just be made in astrological heaven.
Gwen and Art are NOT in Love by Lex Croucher, edited by Hannah Sandford
We absolutely ARE all in love with this delightful medieval queer romcom.
The First Move by Jenny Ireland, edited by Ruth Knowles with Sara Jafari
Romance, grief, mental health, living with a long-term condition - this romantic YA charmer has tremendous heart and depth.
Influential by Amara Sage, edited by Alice Swan
Compelling and thought-provoking look at influencer culture and growing up in the social media spotlight.
Chair of the judges and co-founder of the Branford Boase Award, Julia Eccleshare says, “We are delighted to be celebrating 25 years of the Branford Boase Award as it continues to highlight the most talented new writers for children and the editors who support them. We’re excited that this year’s longlist features a particularly wide variety of voices and stories, all freshly told. It demonstrates the vibrancy of current children’s literature and is an inspiring memorial to the work of Henrietta Branford and Wendy Boase, in whose names the award was established 20 years ago.”
This year’s judges are :
Christine Pillainayagam, author and winner of the 2023 Branford Boase Award
Emily Drabble, Head of Children’s Books Promotion and Prizes at BookTrust
Lucas Maxwell, former School Librarian of the Year and winner of the UK Literacy Association’s Reading for Pleasure Teacher Champion Award 2022
Amy McKay, also a past UK School Librarian of the Year and for ten years Yoto Carnegies National Coordinator.
The judging panel will be chaired by Julia Eccleshare, children's director of the Hay Festival and LoveReading4Kids Editorial Expert.
The Branford Boase Award was set up in memory of award-winning author Henrietta Branford and her editor Wendy Boase, one of the founders of Walker Books. The Branford Boase Award is delivered in partnership with the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) and with the support of Walker Books.
The shortlist for the Award will be announced on Thursday 25 April 2024. The winner will be announced on Thursday, 11 July 2024 at an award ceremony at CLPE in London.
The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition, the annual competition for young people which runs in conjunction with the Branford Boase Award, will open on Tuesday 6th February 2024.