Writer and literary scout Natasha Farrant has won the 2020 Costa Children’s Book Award for Voyage of the Sparrowhawk, a book which the judges described as ‘pure heavenly escapism and a purely joyful read.’
The Costa Book Awards is the only major UK book prize open solely to authors resident in the UK and Ireland and, recognises some of the most enjoyable books across five categories – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book – published in the last year.
Natasha Farrant is the author of the bestselling novels The Children of Castle Rock, Eight Princesses and a Magic Mirror, the acclaimed teen Bluebell Gadsby series and Carnegie-longlisted and Branford Boase Award shortlisted YA historical novel, The Things We Did for Love.
She has worked in children’s publishing for 30 years, 20 of which as a literary scout. Three-quarters French, an eighth Dutch and an eighth English, she was born and raised in London, where she still lives with her family.
In an interview for Books for Keeps about Voyage of the Sparrowhawk, Farrant highlighted the importance of children’s agency in her writing, saying, ‘I’m interested more and more in children’s empowerment, particularly around climate and children, the youth climate movement. I feel like we’re handing kids such a messed-up world, they’re going to need all the courage and wit, bravery and resilience, friendships and working together – and they’re going to need it in spades.’
She receives a prize of £5,000 and Voyage of the Sparrowhawk will now be considered for the overall Costa Book of the Year Award which will be announced at a virtual ceremony on 26th January 2021.
The 2020 judges for the Costa Children’s Book Award are Patrice Lawrence, John McLay Children’s Literary Scout & Book Event Organiser, and Alex O’Connell Arts Editor and Children’s Book Critic, The Times.
Also shortlisted were Darren Charlton for Wranglestone, Jenny Pearson for The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates, and Meg Rosoff for The Great Godden.