The finalists for the Joan Aiken Future Classics Prize, named for the late sff author, were revealed August 28. Publisher A.M. Heath and Lizza Aiken, Aiken’s daughter, launched the competition to find a standout new voice in middle grade children’s fiction.
The finalists are:
- Susan Bailey-Sillick – Snow Foal
- Tim Ellis – The Awful Orphanage
- Nizrana Farook – The Thief of Serendib
- Sophie Kirtley – Hartboy
- Caroline Murphy – The Truth about Chickens
- Nicola Penfold – Return to the Wild
It is unknown whether any of these are genre books as no description of the stories was included in the announcement.
The judges for the prize are Julia Churchill, children’s book agent at A.M. Heath, and Lizza Aiken, daughter of Joan Aiken and curator of her Estate. They considered over 350 submissions.
Julia Churchill commented:
As we knew we would, we’ve had such a warm and enthusiastic reception to this prize. Joan Aiken has a special place in so many people’s imaginations. Our shortlist is made up of gritty stories with heart and voice, swashbuckling adventures with very different settings, and spins we haven’t seen before, and big ideas with confident handling. This is a very strong shortlist. I think judging the winner, in the next couple of weeks, will be a challenge.
Joan Aiken was the prizewinning writer of over a hundred books for young readers and adults. Her best-known series was ‘The Wolves Chronicles’, of which the first book The Wolves of Willoughby Chase was awarded the Lewis Carroll prize. Aiken was decorated with an MBE for her services to children’s books.
The award winner will be announced September 14. The winner will receive £1,000 and a full set of ‘The Wolves Chronicles’.