Here we are – the big announcement! The first winner of the #WriteMentor Children’s Novel Award…

But first, let’s read the openings of all the shortlisted novels, hear from the writers themselves, reading a short extract, and what our judge, Chloe Seager, thought of all the shortlisted entries.

In alphabetical order:

DANCE, DANCE, DIE! by Loretta Chefchaouni

Loretta Chefchaouni lives in the far-too-sunny state of Florida, raising two teen boys while pursuing her passion for writing. In the snippets of time between wording and momming, Loretta likes to dote on her pets, curl up with a good book, and drink coffee by the pot. She is currently seeking an agent who will love her quirky characters as much as she does.

The Curse of the Weird Wolf by Dale Hannah

Dale Hannah has a passion for writing funny middle grade fiction; he is especially fond of puns. Dale has previously won a Northern Writers’ Award and the Commonword Diversity Prize, along with longlistings for both the Times Chicken House Prize and the Bath Children’s Novel Award. He lives in the North West of England with his family. He’s partial to Maltesers.

The E.G.A. (Exceptional Gamers Academy)

by Stephen Catling

Stephen lives in Reigate, with his wife and three children, and finds plenty of time to write on his daily commute to London (including plenty of ‘bonus’ time gained from the regular train delays and cancellations). When not writing, Stephen can be found singing with Voce Chamber Choir, or helping out coaching the juniors at the local rugby and cricket clubs. ‘The EGA’ is his first novel, written for his own videogame-obsessed eleven-year-old.

The Shape of the World by Amy Borg

Amy Borg is is a an adventurer, bookseller, and general scribbler who studied literature at a school that was not nearly as cool as Hogwarts (though at times it came close). Half-Maltese and Half-Filipina, she grew up on the wrong side of an American railway track and currently resides south of a very British river. She is working on her third novel. Her favorite things include cats, space ships, fairy tales, and tea, and she remains terrified of the monster that, in all likelihood, still resides under her bed.

Whisper Pier by Kathryn Lougheed

Kathryn Lougheed is a germ-loving scientist turned writer. She’s the author of a popular science book about tuberculosis but her first love is children’s literature. She writes atmospheric and weird young adult and middle grade novels about monsters, magic, and mental health. She lives near Oxford with her partner, 4 year old daughter, and the world’s clumsiest cat. 

WISHYOUWAS by Alexandra Page

I was lucky to grow up between two worlds: with my dad in London, mostly tucked up with a book in the Barbican library; and with my mum and sister in Zimbabwe, running barefoot and developing a life-long terror of spiders. After studying English Literature at UCL I worked for several years at Penguin, Puffin and Walker Books in their production departments, before embarking upon a career in project management. A small plaque outside the famous Lloyd’s of London building: “Penny Post founded here” first gave me the idea for Wishyouwas. When I’m not squirrelled away writing, I love exploring far-flung places with my husband and daughter and spend much time in my adopted second home, Budapest.

And now to announce the WINNER and 2 Runner’s-up.

Over the Chloe…

CONGRATULATIONS to our winner!

Alexandra Page for WISHYOUWAS!

And to our 2 runners-up,

Whisper Pier by Kathryn Lougheed

The Shape of the World by Amy Borg

We also have a prize for the best novel featuring a BAME main character, and the winner of a years worth of mentoring from Emma Smith-Barton, via our Spark programme, is…

THE DARKEST CORNER by JANE DUDENEY

I’d like to finish by saying thank you to Chloe, our SL judge, to all of our readers, over 90 of you in total (and I’ll list the adult readers below – for safeguarding reasons, we won’t name the kids involved but their input was invaluable), and also to you, the writers, who sent in your work.

It sounds easy to click send, but those are you precious words and voices and stories and I am so very grateful you chose to share them with us.

Everyone who entered should have received their feedback by now. If not, please get in touch.

And well done once again to the shortlisted writer, the runners-up and of course to our winner, Alexandra Page for WISHYOUWAS!

May the force be with all of you…always…