Branford Boase Award 2023 – Shortlist Announced!

27 April, 2023

The shortlist for the Branford Boase Award 2023 has been revealed!

The Branford Boase Award is presented annually to the author of the most promising début novel for children aged seven and up. The award was founded in 2000 in memory of award-winning author Henrietta Branford and her editor at Walker Books Wendy Boase. It aims to celebrate and encourage new authors at the start of their writing career and is the only children’s book award that honours the editor of the winning title as well as the author, highlighting the important role an editor plays in developing and nurturing new talent.

The Branford Boase Award has a proven track record of picking out future stars and many of the award’s winners and shortlisted authors have gone on to become celebrated figures in the children’s book world. They include Katya Balen, Frances Hardinge, M.G. Leonard, Patrick Ness, Onjali Q Raúf, Philip Reeve, Meg Rosoff and Marcus Sedgwick, to name but a few.

This year’s all female shortlist of eight titles was whittled down from a longlist of 21 by a panel of judges made up of last year’s winner, author Maisie Chan, critics and educationalists. Commenting on the shortlist, Julia Eccleshare, Director of the Hay Festival Children’s Programme and Chair of Judges, said: ‘Each year the Branford Boase Award reveals the preoccupations and direction of contemporary writing for children. There’s an exciting freshness to this year’s shortlist, not just in terms of the diversity of the authors, but in the stories they are choosing to tell. What children read influences how they see the world and it’s inspiring that new writers are telling stories that give children the means to understand the complexities of their world, and to help them to see beyond their own experiences.’

Running alongside the Branford Boase Award is the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition, a short story competition for young people under 18 based on a theme or opening paragraph set by the previous year’s Branford Boase Award winner. This year’s theme is ‘Making an Unexpected Friend’ and the competition is open until May 30th.

Congratulations to all the authors and editors on this year’s shortlist!

Cover shots of the eight titles shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2023


The 2023 Branford Boase Award shortlist:       

The Bones of Me by Kel Duckhouse, edited by Harriet Birkinshaw (Flying Eye Books)

The Eternal Return of Clara Hart by Louise Finch, edited by Siobhàn Parkinson (Little Island Books)

Seed by Caryl Lewis, edited by Sarah Hughes, illustrated by George Ermos (Macmillan Children’s Books)

Rebel Skies by Ann Sei Linn, edited by Gráinne Clear (Walker Books)

The Cats We Meet Along the Way by Nadia Mikail, edited by Bella Pearson (Guppy Books)

Ellie Pillai is Brown by Christine Pillainayagam, edited by Leah Thaxton (Faber)

The Haunting of Tyrese Walker by J P Rose, edited by Chloe Sackur (Andersen Press)

The Map of Leaves by Yarrow Townsend, edited by Rachel Leyshon (Chicken House)

The overall winner of the 2023 Branford Boase Award will be announced at a ceremony on Thursday 13th July 2022. Watch out for our winner announcement.

For more children’s book awards, click here.

Branford Boase Award logo