The Branford Boase Award - awarded to the author and editor of the most outstanding debut novel for children - went to Dave Shelton and David Fickling for A Boy in a Boat.
While it’s no first for Fickling - David’s nabbed the award with Siobhan Dowd, A Swift Pure Cry, and with Jenny Downham, Before I Die - Shelton was elated by the prize:
“I am especially pleased that the Branford Boase Award gives such emphasis to the role of the editor in the process of creating a book. It’s not a role you hear that much about normally but, in my extremely limited experience, it’s a vital one, especially on your first go. And I suspect I may have been rather spoiled in landing David as editor for mine. Every word in the book is mine. But a lot of rubbish ones that aren’t in the book any more were mine too. The original title that no one can remember, that was mine. It’s not that David ever made me make changes, it’s just that almost everything he suggested was a really good idea.”
When accepting the award Fickling added: “I am a ‘potato print’ type publisher, by which I mean, I read it! I like it! I publish it! That’s important. To be decisive. If you really like something and you ‘know’ (as in no-one could dissuade you) it’s good, then, if you are a publisher, it’s important to get on and do something about it and not to dither too much.”
Thhe Branford Boase judges also highly commended Lydia Syson and Hotkey Sarah Odedina for A World Between Us.