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Firefly Press receives 3 year grant from Welsh Books Council

Tales of dragons, ladybirds, and suspense in the dark streets of Victorian Cardiff are just some of the stories to be published this spring with the help of new three-year investment from the Welsh Books Council announced today.

The investment in new Wales-based children’s publisher Firefly Press will allow it to develop its business and press ahead with its award-winning list of great fiction titles for children and teenagers, which has received high praise across the UK.
Set up less than three years ago, Firefly publishes up to eight books a year for five to nineteen year olds. Last year it won the Branford Boase Award for a debut children’s writer and editor, with the stunning tale of Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot by Horatio Clare. And in 2017 it has two titles nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal along with a significant number of other prize listings. 
‘We are thrilled with the support we have received from the Welsh Books Council, particularly at such a difficult time for arts funding,’ said Firefly Publisher Penny Thomas. ‘This grant, awarded to Firefly for the first time, will help us strengthen our list of quality children’s and YA books published from Wales. It’s a wonderful boost and mark of confidence in Firefly and Welsh publishing, and means we can look forward to a very exciting few years.’
Firefly has been awarded nearly £90,000 over three years and joins four other English language publishers in Wales who are currently supported by WBC’s revenue grant, agreed by the Welsh Government last week. The funding represents vital help for publishers and books from Wales seeking to compete in a market dominated by much larger UK publishers and multinationals. 
Based in Cardiff and Aberystwyth, Firefly launches its 2017 spring list at the Cardiff Children’s Literature Festival in March, with picture book Sophie Finds a Fairy Door by Laura Sheldon, Victorian drama Gaslight by Eloise Williams for 8-12s and the third and final book in the popular Dragon Gold series for 7-10s, Dragon Red by Shoo Rayner, which draws on one of the ancient legends of the Mabinogion. And May sees the launch of a second book telling the adventures of Aubrey, a boy who can talk to animals – Aubrey and the Terrible Ladybirds, by Horatio Clare.

Spring 2017 titles: Coming soon...



Sophie Finds a Fairy Door by Laura Sheldon, illustrated by Erica Jane Waters 

Dragon Red by Shoo Rayner 

Gaslight by Eloise Williams 

Aubrey and the Terrible Ladybirds by Horatio Clare, illustrated by Jane Matthews 

Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink by Jennifer Killick

24 December - Christmas Eve! - The Boy Who Drew The Future by Rhian Ivory

Here we are, Christmas Eve, and to end our Advent calendar on a real high, we have Rhian Ivory's The Boy Who Drew The Future, which is nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal in 2017, and shortlisted for the Cumbria Secondary Schools' Book Award, the Calderdale Children’s Book of the Year, the Shropshire Libraries Teenage Book of the Year 2017 and the Wirral Paperback of the Year 2017. So potentially it could be a very exciting year in 2017 for Rhian and her novel!

It tells the parallel stories of two boys, one in the past and one in the present, with this strange curse to draw pictures they can't understand that then come true. You can find out more HERE, including the wonderful endorsements we've had, and HERE is an interview with Rhian and our fellow Firefly author Eloise Williams. 

So if you feel like a story to curl up with this Christmas, if you feel like something 'tense, atmospheric, creepy and romantic' as Lee Weatherly said, here is one suggestion, available as book or e-book...


Thank you for following our Christmas advent calendar, and thank you all our lovely authors.  May everyone at Firefly wish you a very merry Christmas this year - we hope you are where you want to be with who you want to be with, warm and well fed, and with some great stories to entertain you!  And may we all have a very happy, peaceful 2017.

23 December - Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis

Our Eve of Christmas Eve book is Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis, one of our first and still our favourites.  Blackfin is like nowhere else, a place to lose yourself in - you can find out more HERE and see the terrific trailer for the book HERE, to give you a flavour of the mystery.  

When I asked Kat what she was looking forward to this Christmas, she gave me this answer (and a brilliant picture of her in her Christmas jumper!):

- watching The Muppets' Christmas Carol (for the millionth time - it's tradition!)
- spending a ridiculous amount of time in my snow leopard onesie 
- making the sherry trifle; each year I add a 'mystery fruit' that my family has to guess 

- (hopefully) sledging!

Sounds a great Christmas to me!  

22 December - White Petals by Maria Grace

We are ending our advent calendar with three books for 11+ readers that we feel are perfect to lose yourself in during the holidays. The first is White Petals, the debut novel by Maria Grace, a moving story of friendship and family. You can read more HERE, see Maria's blog HERE and see Maria's brilliant trailer for the book HERE, to give you a flavour of the story and the unforgetable, lovable heroine, Emmeline.  A key part of the book happens at Christmas, so it is the perfect holiday read, but I can't say more without spoiling it!

As well as writing her wonderful novel, Maria was inspired to run a competition for illustrators 11-19 to illustrate the headings for each chapter.  Thanks to her hard work promoting it, we were able to include 37 amazing pieces of work, including the two here that were for the Christmas chapters, by Brandon Wangiel (right top) and Lily Beer-Doblon (right lower). All the young illustrators add so much to this very special book.