The longlist for the 2021 Branford Boase Award has been announced.
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 given annually to the author of an outstanding debut novel for children.
It has a notable record in picking out the most talented authors at the start of their career. Past winners and shortlisted authors have included Siobhan Dowd, Meg Rosoff, Mal Peet, Frank Cottrell Boyce and Patrick Ness as well as Frances Hardinge, M G Leonard and Philip Reeve.
Uniquely, the Branford Boase Award also honours the editor of the winning title and highlights the importance of the editor in nurturing new talent.
Despite the challenges of 2020, more than 60 books were submitted; 25 have made it onto the longlist, making it the longest in the award’s history. These include poet Patience Agbabi’s The Infinite, Wranglestone by Darren Charlton and The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates by Jenny Pearson, both shortlisted for the Costa Book Award, and A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll, recently announced as Blackwell’s Book of the Year. Previous winning editors on this year’s longlist include Sarah Odedina (2020 winner), and Rebecca Hill and Becky Walker (2018 winners).
The 2021 Branford Boase Award longlist in full:
The Infinite by Patience Agbabi, edited by Jo Dingley (Canongate)
The Sky is Mine by Amy Beashel, edited by Shadi Doostdar (Rock the Boat, an imprint of Oneworld)
Wranglestone by Darren Charlton, edited by Katie Jennings (Stripes)
Tiger Heart by Penny Chrimes, edited by Lena McCauley (Orion)
Boy, Everywhere by A.M. Dassu, edited by Emma Roberts (Old Barn Books)
The Good Hawk by Joseph Elliott, edited by Annalie Grainger & Megan Middleton (Walker)
When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kereen Getten, edited by Sarah Odedina (Pushkin Press)
A Clock of Stars: The Shadow Moth by Francesca Gibbons, edited by Nick Lake (HarperCollins Children’s Books), illus by Chris Riddell
Last Lesson by James Goodhand, edited by Ben Horslen (Penguin)
Orla and the Serpent’s Curse by C.J. Haslam, edited by Frances Taffinder (Walker Books)
Witch by Finbar Hawkins, edited by Fiona Kennedy (Head of Zeus)
And the Stars were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando, edited by Jane Griffiths (Simon and Schuster)
The Wild Way Home by Sophie Kirtley, edited by Lucy Mackay-Sim (Bloomsbury)
The Wolf Road by Richard Lambert edited by Mikka Haugaard (Everything with Words)
The Strangeworlds Travel Agency by L.D. Lapinski, edited by Lena McCauley (Orion)
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 (Puffin), illus Manuel Sumberac
Anisha Accidental Detective by Serena Patel, edited by Stephanie King (Usborne), illus Emma McCann
The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates by Jenny Pearson, edited by Rebecca Hill and Becky Walker (Usborne), illus Rob Biddulph
Are You Watching? By Vincent Ralph, edited by Tig Wallace (Penguin)
The Vanishing Trick by Jenni Spangler, edited by Jane Griffiths (Simon and Schuster), illus Chris Mould
The Unadoptables by Hana Tooke, edited by Naomi Colthurst (Puffin), illus Ayesha L. Rubio
The Pure Heart by Trudi Tweedie, edited by Kesia Lupo (Chicken House)
Diary of a Confused Feminist by Kate Weston, edited by Sarah Lambert (Hodder Children’s Books)
This year the judges are Zoey Dixon, YLG Librarian of the Year 2020; Scott Evans, teacher, consultant and founder of TheReaderTeacher.com; 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 says: ‘After the disruptions and challenges of 2020 we were delighted to receive so many entries for the 2021 award, and of such huge variety. Here are books to make readers laugh, to provoke and make us think, to make us hope. We are excited to share them with this year’s panel of judges.’
The Branford Boase Award is sponsored by Walker Books.
The shortlist for the Award will be announced on Thursday 29 April 2020. The winner will be announced on 15 July, COVID-19 rules permitting, at an award ceremony in London.