Congratulations to Danielle Jawando who has been crowned the winner of this year’s YA Book Prize for her ‘raw, powerful and thought-provoking’ coming-of-age novel When Our Worlds Collided (Simon & Schuster Children’s Books).
The winning title was revealed at a ceremony held at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (EIBF) on Thursday 24th August. The event was hosted by children’s author and current BookTrust Writer in Residence S F Said, and included appearances from several authors on this year’s shortlist.
When Our Worlds Collided follows three teenagers from different backgrounds who are brought together in the aftermath of a stabbing outside a shopping centre in Jawando’s home city of Manchester. A story about chance encounters, injustice and how the choices that we make can change our future, When Our Worlds Collided is Jawando’s second novel and is already the recipient of this year’s Jhalak Children’s and YA Prize. Jawando’s début novel, And the Stars were Shining Brightly, was shortlisted for several awards, including the YA Book Prize 2021.
The judging panel for this year’s YA Book Prize included representatives from the EIBF, booksellers, author and former YA Book Prize-winner Patrice Lawrence, and teenage students from schools in Edinburgh and Bradford. Commenting on this year’s winner, Lawrence said: ‘Danielle writes with lyricism, empathy and even humour about tough subjects. The characters in When Our Worlds Collided are flawed and completely believable, as they unpick a world that values Black lives less than others.’
Rachel Fox, programme director for the EIBF’s children’s and schools programme commented: ‘[When our Worlds Collided] completely blew me away and I am so pleased to see it crowned as the YA Book Prize winner for 2023. While the plot deals with extremely pertinent issues including racial injustice, prejudice around class and dealing with trauma, the novel is also a wonderful celebration of friendship, found family and community. I can’t wait for more readers to meet Chantelle, Jackson and Marc, and enjoy this accomplished novel as much as all of us judges.’
The YA Book Prize was launched in 2014 by The Bookseller to celebrate books for teenagers and young adults written by authors from the UK and Ireland. Children’s editor and deputy features editor Caroline Carpenter, who also chaired the judging panel, commented: ‘As YA is propelled into the limelight again thanks to BookTok and the success of recent screen adaptations, it’s inspiring to see that some of the best work in this category is originating from the UK and Ireland. This year’s brilliant, varied shortlist is testament to that, and I could not be happier with the judges’ top choice. Though this is only Danielle Jawando’s second novel, she has already proven herself to be a powerful author of deeply affecting and authentic stories and a rising star of YA.’
See the full shortlist for the YA Book Prize 2023 here.