We’re celebrating at Firefly after the news that author Horatio Clare and editor Penny Thomas have won the 2016 Branford Boase Award with the wonderful Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot!
The 2016 winners of the Award, given to the author and editor of an outstanding debut novel for children, were announced at a ceremony at Walker Books in London, with the prize presented by children’s laureate Chris Riddell.
The book, for 8-12 year olds, beat off strong competition from other shortlisted titles and publishers including Penguin Random House and Harper Collins.
The judges said Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot was ‘something very special … it stood out from the first and the author’s voice is very exciting.’
And they added: ‘Horatio Clare writes about animals as well as T.H. White. This is a very fine book with real quality in the descriptions – it comes from the heart of someone who loves landscape and wildlife. A book that is both pensive and sparkling with originality and life. It is a testament to the healing power of the imagination.’
Horatio Clare has won several awards for his books for adults. Of writing for children he said: ‘I am absolutely lit up about writing for children. I feel there are no limits, their imaginations are so powerful, and I love being in dialogue with an imagined child reader. It is the most exciting writing I have yet discovered. It’s an honour to win such a prestigious prize and I am particularly delighted to win an award which recognises the role of editors in children’s fiction. We would be nowhere without them!’
Penny Thomas said: ‘Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot is a wonderful book, a future children’s classic: funny, magical and profound, and we are delighted for Horatio who is a superb writer. This award is particularly exciting for Firefly too, as we’ve only been publishing for three years and we were up against some terrific shortlisted titles.
‘It shows that great books can come out of Wales as well as great football!
‘I’d like to thank the Branford Boase judges, and the Welsh Books Council for their support in helping us commission this title, as well as the whole Firefly team, particularly my fellow editor and director, Janet Thomas – publishing this book has been very much a team effort.’
Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot tells the story of rambunctious child Aubrey and his determination, with the help of the animals of Rushing Wood, to save his father, Jim, when he falls under the spell of the spirit of despair itself, the Terrible Yoot!
Beautifully illustrated by Jane Matthews, it has been praised as ‘a sheer joy’ by former children’s laureate Michael Morpurgo, and ‘A jewel not to be missed’ by the Sunday Times, which, along with the New Statesman, put Aubrey in its round-up of the best children’s books of 2015.
Founded in 2000 the Branford Boase Award was set up to encourage new writers and to highlight the importance of the editor in nurturing new talent. It has an impressive record in picking out future stars. Frances Hardinge, winner of this year’s Costa Book of the Year won the Branford Boase in 2006 while Meg Rosoff, recent recipient of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, is also a previous winner, as are Marcus Sedgwick, Mal Peet, Siobhan Dowd and Kevin Brooks.
This year’s judges were Russell Allen, Simon Key, Marion Lloyd, chaired by Julia Eccleshare of the Guardian and Hay Festival.
To buy Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot, go to http://www.fireflypress.co.uk/node/207
We have an exciting few days of launches and events for Firefly this week. On Tuesday we launched the wonderful Thimble Monkey Superstar by Jon Blake, illustrated by Martin Chatterton, with the support of Radnor Primary School in Cardiff and charity Bobath Cymru. Thinble is a laugh-out-loud story about 10-year-old Jams and his best friend Thimble - life is never boring now that Jams and his family have Thimble to look after, but Dad is determined to get rid of him - to a zoo, a school, even a demolition site. But when Jams and his dad are in mortal danger, Thimble proves once and for all why he is a Monkey Superstar!
The main character, Jams, is based on the author’s own son, 9-year-old Jordi who attends Radnor Primary School. Like Jordi, Jams has Cerebral Palsy and uses a walker. Jennifer Carroll, Centre Director and Consultant Physiotherapist at Bobath Children’s Therapy Centre Wales, which provides therapy for children with CP, said: ‘I really enjoyed reading this book, it was so refreshing to have a main character with a disability without that being a major theme of the story. Jams is just a boy in a slightly atypical family living an adventurous life. I read it to my son and we both laughed raucously. A great book for all children!’
And on May 27th at 6pm we're celebrating the launch of Scrambled at Waterstones Carmarthen with debut author, English teacher Huw Davies.
Scrambled is a 'daft book for boys' with motorcycling, art classes, some not-so-hard bullies and some particularly daft jokes. Set in the fictional Maesunig Comprehensive in the South Wales valleys it features Davidde, a model pupil who's had enough of being the butt of the joke for Lyndon's gang and the barmy new headmaster. Then he discovers scrambling, and everything changes...
Then on Saturday May 28th we are heading to the Hay Festival to see Branford Boase shortlisted author Horatio Claire talk about Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot with festival director Peter Florence on the Starlight Stage at 2.30pm. Find out more here https://www.hayfestival.com/p-10571-horatio-clare.aspx
And finally don't miss the chance to win a copy of our new books with the great children's reading site Toppsta - https://toppsta.com/books/details/thimble-monkey-superstar
Horatio Clare's first novel for children, Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot, published by Firefly, has made the shortlist of the prestigious Branford Boase award 2016. The award celebrates outstanding debut novels by children's authors and their editors and has been the first to identify major new talents in children's writing such as Francis Hardinge, Meg Rosoff, Frank Cottrell Boyce and Patrick Ness.
Aubrey, a novel about talking to owls and depression, for 8-12-year-olds, is up against five other debut novels for the 2016 award, which will be decided at a London awards ceremony on July 7th.
Beautifully illustrated by Jane Matthews, the book has already been praised as ‘a sheer joy’ by former children’s laureate Michael Morpurgo, and ‘A jewel not to be missed’ by the Sunday Times, which, along with the New Statesman, put Aubrey in its round-up of the best children’s books of 2015.
This year the Branford Boase judges are Russell Allen team leader for children’s services across the West Sussex Library Service, recently awarded Public Librarian of the Year; Simon Key, bookseller from the Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green; Marion Lloyd, former children’s editor; and Rosie Rowell, author of Leopold Blue, winner of the 2015 Branford Boase Award. The panel is chaired by Julia Eccleshare, children’s books editor of the Guardian.
Julia Eccleshare said: “UK children’s publishers are more eager than ever to find and nurture talented new authors and this is an extremely exciting shortlist. All areas of the children’s book market are flourishing so this list includes books for young readers and for teenagers. It reflects current trends and features some wildly inventive books that play with language and ideas; a time travel story; a book that explores a transgender teenager’s struggle with identity; a book about a parent’s depression. They are all distinguished by the quality of the writing, the author’s ability to control plot and create character, and by an originality of approach.”
‘We’re thrilled that Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot has been longlisted for this award,’ said Firefly publisher and Aubrey editor Penny Thomas. ‘It’s a wonderful book by a talented writer and illustrator, and it’s great as a new independent Welsh publisher to have our books recognised like this.’