Entertainment & Arts

New children's authors vie for award

A Boy and a Bear in a Boat Image copyright Random House
Image caption Dave Shelton, author of last year's winning book A Boy and a Bear in a Boat, will judge the 2014 contenders

Seven books by new children's authors have been shortlisted for the annual Branford Boase Award.

The "exceptionally diverse" shortlist - whittled down from more than 60 entries - includes a gothic mystery and a teenage romance.

The award recognises both author and editor of a debut novel for children aged seven and over.

The winning author will receive a cheque for £1,000 at a ceremony in London on 10 July.

The shortlist includes Winter Damage by Natasha Carthew (edited by Rebecca McNally), CJ Flood's Infinite Sky (Venetia Gosling) and Wild Boy by Rob Lloyd Jones (Mara Bergman).

Other contenders include Julie Mayhew's Red Ink (Emily Thomas), Alex the Dog and the Unopenable Door by Montgomery Ross (Rebecca Lee & Susila Baybars), Fletcher Moss' The Poison Boy (Imogen Cooper and Barry Cunningham) and Geek Girl by Holly Smale (Lizzie Clifford).

The winner will be decided by a judging panel led by Julia Eccleshare, children's books editor of The Guardian.

"This year's shortlist is exceptionally diverse," said Eccleshare.

"Here are seven very different books. But, not only are they all very well written, they all feel exceptionally fresh and original: these are stories we haven't read before, and that is very exciting."

Judges include Wendy Cooling, Tamara Macfarlane, author and owner of Tales on Moon Lane bookshop, former librarian Alec Williams, and last year's winning author Dave Shelton.

Shelton won for his enigmatic tale A Boy and A Bear in a Boat. Previous winners include 2012's Annabel Pitcher for My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece and 2001's Marcus Sedgwick, for Floodland.

The award is unique in honouring the editor of the winning title, highlighting their role in bringing new work to the fore.

The award was set up in memory of the prize-winning author Henrietta Branford and her editor Wendy Boase - who both died of cancer in 1999.

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