Angie Thomas has been named overall winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2018 for her debut novel The Hate U Give. She wins £5000 as the overall winner and the backing of the UK’s major bookselling chain, making the prize one of the most valuable children’s book awards in the UK.
The Hate U Give was originally written as a short story but, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Thomas returned to the story to write a novel about a teenage girl confronting police violence and racism. Another notable influence on the former teen rapper is the late rap artist Tupac Shakur who, among other things, inspired the book title.
Now in its fourteenth year, the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize champions new and emerging talent in children’s writing for fourteen years and is unique in that it is voted for solely by booksellers. There are three categories, Older Fiction, won by Angie Thomas, Younger Fiction, which was won by Jessica Townsend’s Nevermoor and Illustrated Books, won by The Secret Of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton.
Florentyna Martin, Waterstones Children’s Buyer, said: ‘The Hate U Give is an outstanding piece of writing and an incredibly gripping read. Angie Thomas has crafted a narratively rich world, with a captivating plot and characters so vibrant they leap off the page. Drawn from personal experiences, this book has provided an important step change in children’s publishing and our booksellers have championed this from the get-go. Angie Thomas is a unique and powerful new voice for teenagers and adults and this book will undoubtedly be discussed for years to come.’