Winners of the Branford Boase Award 2016

Welsh Books Council

Winners of the Branford Boase Award 2016 - 08 July 2016
Winners of the Branford Boase Award 2016

Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot  describes how Aubrey, a 'rambunctious' boy, receives help from the wild animals in the woods around his home to break the depression that is weighing down his father. The source of the depression is a beetle, the Terrible Yoot, and through their encounter with it, Aubrey and his father discover the infinite wonder of the world. It is illustrated throughout in black and white by Jane Matthews.

Horatio Clare has won awards for his books for adults and was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. 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."

On winning the award Horatio Clare said: "Winning this wonderful award means the world to me for three reasons. This is the book I am most proud of: it was written with heart and soul about something painful and important, but meant to read as a joy and an adventure. It was not even given a chance at London publishers because it was not thought 'commercial', but the brilliant Firefly, run by Penny Thomas, grabbed it and made it happen. It was funded by the Welsh Books Council. State support for writers in Wales is exemplary; I and many other Welsh writers are working to repay the support and faith placed in us by the executive and the people of Wales, with books which will travel and last. This award is theirs as much as mine."

The Branford Boase Award is the only award to recognise the role of the editor in nurturing new talent.

Winning editor Penny Thomas said, "I was bowled over by  Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot  from the minute I read it and so delighted to sign Horatio for Firefly. The book is funny, big-hearted and original and derives its brilliance from a superb use of language, an empathy for people and nature and a refusal to patronise the reader. It also has one of the best visionary endings I've ever read. I'm overjoyed for Horatio and for Firefly that the Branford Boase judges loved Aubrey too. It means an enormous amount to all of us at Firefly to win this unique award."

Chair of the judges, children's literature expert and children's books editor of The Guardian Julia Eccleshare said,  "Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot  is beautifully written and highly original, proof indeed that children's books is a very exciting place in which to write. Clare describes both the natural world and the misery of depression with extraordinary accuracy, and acknowledges a child's power to imagine a better world. This year's shortlist was particularly strong, a great representation of what authors are writing today. It is exciting to think about what is to come from all the shortlisted authors."

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