Today sees the announcement of the 2022 Branford Boase Award Longlist! You may well have noticed on my blog that I am a HUGE fan of this Award. As the only Award that recognises both the author of a debut children’s book for seven year olds and upwards, and their editor, it’s totally unique. In addition, the Branford Boase is often a predictor of future success picking out talents at the start of their careers – think Meg Rosof, Mal Peet, Frank Cottrell Boyce to name a few!
Set up in memory of award-winning author Henrietta Branford and her editor Wendy Boase, one of the founders of Walker Books, the Award is the joint idea of Julia Eccleshare and Anne Marley. Julia is children’s director of the Hay Festival and a regular contributor to Radio 4’s Front Row and Open Book programmes. Anne was Head of Children’s, Youth & Schools Services for Hampshire Library & Information Service for many years. Julia says of this year’s Award:
‘..The pace of change in children’s books since the creation of the Branford Boase Award has been phenomenal and once again, we find debut authors covering new territory, encouraged and supported by their editors. We are pleased too to see independent publishers Guppy Books, Hope Road and Zuntold represented for the first time. As ever, our judges bring a wealth of experience, and we are looking forward to what is certain to be a very lively discussion at the shortlisting meeting.’
This year the Award, sponsored by Walker Books, has seen a record number of entries – 69 in total and from 30 publishers! These include own voice novels Rapids by Anna Bowles and The Amazing Edie Eckhart by Rosie Jones; Maggie Blue and the Dark World by Anna Goodall and The Boy who Made Everyone Laugh by Helen Rutter, both shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Award; and Femi Fadugba’s time-travel thriller The Upper World, currently in the works at Netflix. Amongst editors in the running are Fiona Kennedy, who won the inaugural prize in 2001 and is now up for a third award; Bella Pearson, also a two times winner though sharing the honours both times previously with David Fickling; and Usborne’s Rebeca Hill and Becky Walker who have both been shortlisted three times in the last four years, winning in 2018. View the full list here.
I don’t envy the task of the judges to whittle this list down – having had the honour of being on the judging panel in 2020, I know how tough it can be to choose from such talented work!
For more information about the award, including a full list of past winners, and the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition which runs alongside it. visit www.branfordboaseaward.org.uk .