August 28, 2017


After considering over 350 submissions, we’ve agreed on our shortlist for the Joan Aiken Future Classics Prize.

Says Julia: 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.

Says Lizza: Yes, it is a fascinating list, and quite varied! I was looking for elements that Joan would particularly have appreciated – a use of images that come out of the story, dialogue that tells you more about the characters, and above all a gripping story that draws you in and makes you want to read more.  The choices we have made all have different and very individual voices – and now comes the really hard part, picking just one.

We extended our shortlist from five to six, as we wanted to share the appreciation a little wider.

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

Thank you to everyone who entered. If you haven’t been shortlisted, we may well be back next year, so please try again. You all made it a great competition.

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