By Dennis Abrams
Earlier this year, after publishing an article about the large number of children’s book prizes given out in the UK each and every year, the people over at The Bookseller became painfully aware of one simple fact: there were no prizes for British and Irish YA authors.
So to make up for that, they decided to fill in the gap in the market with The Bookseller and We Love This Book‘s YA Book Prize, given to the best YA fiction books for teenagers and young adults published this year in the UK and Ireland.
The YA Book Prize is helping to promote UKYA – YA books written by authors born or currently residing in the UK – and it’s essential that we understand the importance of supporting and cultivating our British talent.
At The Bookseller’s website, Lucy Powrie wrote a piece explaining the need for the award and for UKYA:
“The YA Book Prize is helping to promote UKYA – YA books written by authors born or currently residing in the UK – and it’s essential that we understand the importance of supporting and cultivating our British talent.
UKYA has had a big boost recently, with wonderful projects set up by Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman. Supporting UKYA isn’t something we have to do, but it is something we should do for a variety of reasons: we have a wealth of authors right on our doorstep, waiting for their books to be read in the hands of voracious readers.
At a time when teenagers need as much encouragement as they can get to read, it’s important that there is a book out there for everybody. UKYA offers a familiarity and deals with issues that offer an understanding and guidance as teenagers reach a crossroads in their lives; it’s much easier to feel sympathy towards a character or situation when the culture is well known.”
And now, the prize shortlist has been announced, chosen to reflect the wide diversity of YA books available today; from dystopian and sci-fi literature to comedy, horror or drama.
The ten books are:
- Goose by Dawn O’Porter (Hot Key Books)
- Salvage by Keren David (Atom/Little, Brown)
- Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill (Quercus)
- The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick (Orion)
- Trouble by Non Pratt (Walker)
- Lobsters by Lucy Ivison and Tom Ellen (Chicken House)
- Finding a Voice by Kim Hood (O’Brien Press)
- Say Her Name by James Dawson (Hot Key Books)
- A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond (Hodder Children’s Books)
- Half Bad by Sally Green (Penguin)
The winner, who will be announced at a ceremony at Foyles Charing Cross, London, on March 19, 2015, will receive a £2,000 prize.