The Branford Boase Award

The Winner of The Branford Boase Award 2018 has just been announced! Mitch Johnson, and editors Rebecca Hill and Becky Walker of Usborne,win this prestigious award for the outstanding novel, Kick. The judges described Kick as "a beautifully crafted story" and "It brilliantly captures the way the football-crazy child sees the world". The Branford Boase Award is awarded annually for an outstanding first novel to a first-time writer of a book for young people, from ages 7 upwards. At the same time, it marks the important contribution of the editor in identifying and nurturing new talent.

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The Starman and Me

The Starman and Me

9+ readers

Author: Sharon Cohen Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/07/2017

He wasn't an alien, I was sure of that. It was more like he'd walked in through an ancient door from the past ... except he was here, in my bedroom and his misty forest was somewhere real on Planet Earth. Twelve-year-old Kofi first spots the prehistoric human on a supermarket roundabout. He is small and dark and curled into a tight ball. His name is Rorty Thrutch and he has zero memory of how he ended up in the unexceptional village of Bradborough, or why he's being hunted... Kofi soon finds out that Rorty can do amazing things. He can copy, paste and delete objects, using only the power of his mind. This is the discovery of the century and mad, greedy scientists will stop at nothing to track him down. Kofi and best friend Janie are on a mission. Not only must they protect Rorty, but they have to find his missing girlfriend Pogsy Blue, too. Our prehistoric ancestors have crashed headlong into the 21st century and time is running out to save them... The Starman and Me explores where we have come from and where we are moving to - it's about the magic of DNA, the power of identity, and the importance of caring for each other.

“A beautifully crafted story.”

On winning the prize Mitch Johnson said; “For some readers, Kick may be a book of firsts: the first time they encounter a novel set in Indonesia; or mingle with a cast of characters whose daily wage is almost impossible to believe; or are offered a glimpse into the murky world of how things are made. But there will also be a lot that is recognizable, and by focusing on our inherent similarities, rather than the circumstantial differences that separate us, I hope we can start to dismantle the barriers that have been built between those who produce and those who consume. Now more than ever, I believe children need characters like Budi who are filled with goodness and dreams and the desire for a better world. Characters who are incorruptible despite the precedents – despite everything – and who will keep kicking no matter what.”

Sharon Cohen and her editor Sarah Lambert were Highly Commended by the judges for The Starman and Me.

Chair of the Judges, Julia Eccleshare said: “Kick is an adventure story that connects UK readers with a boy living a completely different and tough life halfway across the world; it is a book full of humour and heart. At a time when many children’s books seem to be looking inward, Mitch Johnson has written a book about a global issue, encouraging children to think about the way the world works, and even how they could effect change. But each of the seven books on our shortlist would be worthy winners of the award and are proof of the talent of children’s writers and editors in 2018.”

Winning editors Rebecca Hill and Becky Walker said: “Every year it's fantastic to discover the range of new talent on the Branford Boase shortlist, and we are hugely proud to see Mitch’s writing rewarded so early in his career. Working with Mitch we have discovered a true craftsman: someone who makes every single sentence matter and creates characters that you take into your heart and soul. We know this is the start of a long and glittering career for Mitch, and are thrilled to have played a part in bringing this book to readers everywhere.”


Now in its 19th 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.

This year the judges are Urmi Merchant of children’s bookshop Pickled Pepper Books; Helen Swinyard, librarian at Heartlands High School and founder of the Haringey Children’s Book Award; reviewer Philip Womack; and M.G. (Maya) Leonard, author of Beetle Boy, winner of the 2017 Branford Boase Award. The panel is chaired by Julia Eccleshare, children’s director of the Hay Festival and Lovereading expert reviewer.

 

 

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 shortlist for the Branford Boase was published on the 2 May and the winner was announced in July 2018 at a ceremony in London, winning a cheque for £1,000 and both author and editor received a unique, hand-crafted silver-inlaid box.

For a full list of the Longlisted titles click here.

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

The branford boase award

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