AWARDS UPDATE 1500 844 88admin
Sorry it’s been such a while since the last blog post, but there’s been lots going on in the world of The Train To Impossible Places, including some very exciting awards news…First up, I’m thrilled to have made the shortlist of the Branford Boase Award, which recognises not only debut authors, but their editors as well. I’m very fortunate to have two truly wonderful editors at Usborne, in the shape of Rebecca Hill and Becky Walker, who are nominated twice this year – once with me, and again with my fellow Usborne author Sophie Anderson for her book The House With Chicken Legs. (If you haven’t read it yet, you’re missing out!) Rebecca and Becky shared last year’s award with Mitch Johnson, for his novel Kick. Needless to say, Sophie and I are both hoping we can make it two years in a row for them.In fact, Usborne have a record-breaking four books on this year’s shortlist, and I’m already looking forward to catching up with Matt Killeen (Orphan, Monster, Spy) and Mel Darbon (Rosie Loves Jack) at the awards ceremony in London in June. Whatever the result, it promises to be quite a party! Click here to see the full shortlist.
Cover of The Train To Impossible Places as a Children's Category Finalist in the 2019 Independent Bookshop Week Awards

Cover of The Train To Impossible Places as a Children’s Category Finalist in the 2019 Independent Bookshop Week Awards

I’m also very excited to see Train on the shortlist for this year’s Independent Bookshop Week (IBW) Award. Run by the Booksellers Association, IBW celebrates indie bookshops across the UK and Ireland, and runs from 15th – 22nd June 2019. I’m particularly chuffed by this nomination as independent bookshops have been instrumental in Train‘s success right from the start, and I’ve met a host of really dedicated and enthusiastic indie booksellers over the past year. My heartfelt thanks to all of them who put Train forward for this year’s shortlist. Click here to see the full list.I’d also like to thank all the staff of Stockport libraries who nominated Train for this year’s Stockport Children’s Book Awards. School children across the town have been reading their way through the nominees (including The House With Chicken Legs) and have cast their votes. The winner will be announced on 11th July. The full Junior Reader category shortlist can be found here.
Logo of the Bristol Crimefest 2019Finally, some news of past awards. I was very surprised, but thoroughly delighted, to be nominated for this year’s Bristol Crimefest award in April. I’d never considered Train to be a crime novel, but Crimefest’s reviewers not only put it through to the shortlist, but invited me to take part in the festival itself. Sadly, personal commitments meant I wasn’t able to attend but it was a great privilege to be considered, and congratulations go to Lauren St. John, who won the children’s category with her novel Kat Wolfe Investigates. (I’m already crossing my fingers for next year’s award, when my next book, The Great Brain Robbery will be out. As the title suggests, it’s quite crime-centric!)

The shortlisted authors and illustrators at the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2019
All the shortlisted authors and illustrators at the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2019 (photo by Izzy Romilly)

Last of all, and as I’m sure many of you are already aware, the winner of Waterstones Children’s Book Prize was announced on 21st March. Onjali Rauf scooped the prize for her book The Boy At The Back of the Class, and even though neither Train nor The House With Chicken Legs won, it was a tremendous pleasure to be shortlisted. The whole evening was a fantastic experience in wonderful company, and I’m very grateful to the Waterstones booksellers who put Train forward for the award. So congratulations to Onjali on a well-deserved win, and here’s to all my fellow nominees. We had a blast, and you can read more about the category winners, and see a few more photos from the event, here.

The window display at Waterstones Picadilly, March 2019, featuring the shortlisted books
The Waterstones Picadilly window display, March 2019


left to right, editors Becky Walker, Rebecca Hill, author P.G. Bell, agent Gemma Cooper and designer Katharine Millichope at the Waterstones Children's Book Prize ceremony
From l-r, editors Becky Walker and Rebecca Hill, me, my agent Gemma Cooper and Usborne cover designer Katharine Millichope


Onjali Rauf accepts her prize for "The Boy At The Back Of The Class"
Onjali Rauf accepts her prize for “The Boy at the Back of the Class”