The longlist for the 2024 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 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.
Past winners and shortlisted authors include 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).
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.
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.’
The 25 books on the 2024 Branford Boase Award longlist are:
Montgomery Bonbon: Murder at the Museum by Alasdair Beckett-King, illus Claire Powell, edited by Gráinne Clear (Walker Books)
Glow Up, Lara Bloom by Dee Benson, edited by Ruth Bennett (Hot Key Books)
Gwen and Art are NOT in Love by Lex Croucher, edited by Hannah Sandford (Bloomsbury)
Finding Phoebe by Gavin Extence, edited by Chloe Sackur (Andersen Press)
Digging for Victory by Cathy Faulkner, edited by Leonie Lock (Firefly Press)
Crossing the Line by Tia Fisher, edited by Emma Matthewson supported by Tia Albert (Hot Key Books)
The Final Year by Matt Goodfellow, illus Joe Todd-Stanton, edited by Charlotte Hacking (Otter-Barry Books)
How Far We’ve Come by Joyce Efia Harmer, edited by Lucy Pearse (Simon and Schuster)
Vivi Conway and the Sword of Legend by Lizzie Huxley-Jones, edited by Eishar Brar (Knights Of)
The First Move by Jenny Ireland, edited by Ruth Knowles with Sara Jafari (Penguin Books)
The Detention Detectives by Lis Jardine, edited by Katie Sinfield and Millie Lean (Puffin)
Safiyyah’s War by Hiba Noor Khan, edited by Eloise Wilson (Andersen Press)
Steady for This by Nathanael Lessore, edited by Ella Whiddett and Ruth Bennett (Hot Key Books)
You Think You Know Me by Ayaan Mohamud, edited by Sarah Stewart (Usborne)
The Kingdom Over the Sea by Zohra Nabi, edited by Ali Dougal (Simon and Schuster)
Last Girl In by Cheryl Diane Parkinson, edited by Sonya McGilchrist (Dinosaur Books)
City of Stolen Magic by Nazneen Ahmed Pathak, edited by Natalie Doherty and India Chambers (Puffin)
The Destiny of Minou Moonshine by Gita Ralleigh, edited by Lauren Atherton (Zephyr)
The Witchstone Ghosts by Emily Randall-Jones, edited by Rachel Leyshon (Chicken House)
Influential by Amara Sage, edited by Alice Swan (Faber)
Yomi and the Fury of Ninki Nanka by Davina Tijani, illus Adam Douglas-Bagley, edited by Mattie Whitehead and Karelle Tobias (Little Tiger)
Greenwild by Pari Thomson, illus Elisa Paganelli, edited by Emma Jones (Macmillan)
The Sleeping Stones by Beatrice Wallbank, edited by Janet Thomas and Rebecca F. John (Firefly Press)
Never Trust a Gemini by Freja Nicole Woolf, edited by Non Pratt (Walker Books)
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; and 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.
The Branford Boase Award is delivered in partnership with the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) and supported by 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.