Dave Shelton, editor David Fickling win 2013 Branford Boase Award


David Shelton and David Fickling receive their Branford Boase Award. Photo: Branford Boase Awards

Cartoonist Dave Shelton and his editor David Fickling have won the 2013 Branford Boase Award given annually to the author and editor of the most outstanding debut novel for children for A Boy and a Bear in a Boat published by David Fickling Books.

Lydia Syson and her editor Sarah Odedina were Highly Commended for A World Between Us, published by Hot Key Books, the first time since 2004 that a book has been highlighted in this way, and proof of the strength and depth of the 2013 shortlist.

A Boy and a Bear in a Boat is the story of a boy and a bear who go to sea together, equipped with a suitcase, a comic book and a ukulele. Their journey doesn’t quite go to plan; surprises include storms, sponges, and a starring role for a disgusting (possibly radioactive) sandwich. Shelton’s book was also shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, and the Costa Children’s Book Award.

The Branford Boase Award is the only award to recognise the role of the editor in nurturing new talent, and this is David Fickling’s third win. He has now won the award more times than any other editor.

Chair of the judges, children’s literature expert and children’s books editor of The Guardian Julia Eccleshare said, “The UK children’s book market is flourishing and the 2013 shortlist was extraordinarily strong, even so A Boy and a Bear in a Boat stood out: the judges loved it for its originality, for the unique way it tells its story. We all agreed we had never read anything like it.”

A Boy and a Bear in a BoatA delighted Dave Shelton said, “I am especially delighted to win the Branford Boase Award because of the way it draws attention to the important role of the editor in the writing process, especially in the case of first novels. Having rather drifted into writing, after starting out purely as an illustrator, I had genuine doubts as to whether I would fall flat on my face when faced with the fabulous opportunity of writing my first children’s novel.

“David Fickling’s gentle editorial hand ensured I never quite lost my balance. It felt like a team effort to make the book so I’m thrilled that this award reflects that. Though obviously I’ll be keeping all the money for myself.”

David Fickling said, “Hooray for the Branford Boase, by far the best talent-spotting prize in UK children’s books. ·I am so proud that Dave Shelton has won and that his amazing storytelling and drawing skills are being shouted out to the world.

A Boy and A Bear in a Boat is an astonishing piece of work that takes you gently by surprise and which will lodge in the memory of every reader. In the sea of publishing there is no one that I’d rather spend time in the book-making boat with than Dave. I am not saying who was the bear and who was the boy, but confess that as an editor I sometimes did not know where we were going but pretended I did!”

Dave Shelton, who now lives in Cambridge, was born and raised in Leicester. He studied illustration at Cambridge and, later, at Brighton, where he attained his MA in Sequential Illustration. He worked for some years as a jobbing illustrator before creating the comic strip·Good Dog, Bad Dog, a slapstick comedy canine noir detective series, published in·The DFCThe Guardian·and·The Phoenix comic. The first book collection of · Good Dog, Bad Dog, published by David Fickling Books, was the winner of the inaugural Leeds Graphic Novel Award in 2010.

David Fickling started his career with Oxford University Press in 1977, moving on to Transworld and then to Scholastic UK. In 1999, David formed his own imprint in Oxford, David Fickling Books. The imprint has been based with Random House but in April this year, Fickling announced that he would set up David Fickling Books as an independent company. Authors he has worked with include Philip Pullman, Mark Haddon, John Boyne, as well as BBA winners Jenny Downham and Siobhan Dowd.

The Branford Boase Award was set up in memory of prize-winning author Henrietta Branford and Wendy Boase, editorial director and one of the founders of Walker Books. Both Henrietta and Wendy died of cancer in 1999. The award is specifically to encourage new writers and to highlight the importance of the editor in nurturing new talent. It has an extremely successful record in picking future best-selling and critically acclaimed authors. Previous shortlisted and winning writers include Marcus Sedgwick, Meg Rosoff, Philip Reeve, William Nicholson, Frank Cottrell Boyce and most recently Annabel Pitcher.

The 2013 winners of the Award were announced on Thursday 11th July at a ceremony at Walker Books in London. Former Children’s Laureate Dame Jacqueline Wilson presented Dave Shelton with a cheque for £1,000 and both Dave and David Fickling received a unique, hand-crafted silver-inlaid box. Lydia Syson and her editor, Sarah Odedina received a silver pin on a backing of African hardwood.

Categories: British Comics - Current British Publishers

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