Bath Children’s Novel Award 2020 Winner | Prize: £3,000

RUTH MOORE for The Enemy Inside
10 to 12 years | mystery, historical | unpublished

“Accomplished, assured and gripping, this is a magnificent story full of action and suspense, depth and drama. With memorable and vivid characters and confident and engaging writing, it was a joy to read this truly compelling and original adventure.”

2020 judge, literary agent Stephanie Thwaites of Curtis Brown

The Junior Judges said: “Packed with mystery and danger, The Enemy Inside is about an Italian girl called Anna Demarco who trades train tickets with a complete stranger to get out of London. On the train there is a suitcase mix-up and she discovers something shocking in one of the other passengers’ cases. Anna must solve a mystery and stop a possible assassination, all while keeping her identity secret. It was very fun eliminating suspects and trying to guess whodunnit!”

RUTH MOORE has a degree in history, an MA in Creative Writing and has worked as a teacher, in theatre and at a Norman castle. When she’s not writing or working, she loves running by the sea and going on camping adventures with her boys.

The Enemy Inside began life in early 2020 with the first draft mostly written in a ramshackle greenhouse to escape the mayhem indoors. “Life was a pressure cooker of lockdown, homeschool, a new job and a world in meltdown. But Anna – the main character – wouldn’t go away. I wanted to explore what war means for someone who is labelled an outsider. I wanted Anna to get tangled up in a mystery and take risks. Lots of risks.”

Read the opening of The Enemy Inside and all the shortlisted manuscripts 

Interview: Ruth Moore on writing her winning manuscript and accepting representation with Stephanie Thwaites at Curtis Brown

Bath Children’s Novel Award 2020 Shortlisted:
ALICE P REES for North Star
13 to 15 years | speculative | unpublished

“Impressive world building in a wintry, futuristic setting, this is a clever, captivating journey of self-discovery and the ways reality can be shaped by stories.”

2020 judge, Stephanie Thwaites of Curtis Brown

The Junior Judges said: “North Star is compelling, fast-paced and unpredictable. Stella, who has spent her life hiding from the invasive, controlling government, has to run away after her father William doesn’t come back one day. She meets some off-gridders and makes some friends who help her understand more about her father and who he really was.”

ALICE P REES studied architecture and spent twenty years in practice before stepping back to write full time. She says: “Architecture and writing are not dissimilar; both involve dreaming of possibilities, researching and building a narrative with people at its core.”
North Star is a coming-of-age novel about truth and storytelling: the stories we tell ourselves and each other and the collective narratives that underpin society. It began life as a single image of a girl clearing every trace of her existence from her home and was a response to the evolution of AI, Big Data, and the environmental challenges facing the world. Alice says: “I imagined what the world might be like if you followed the trend to its extreme, what might be lost if people gave too much of themselves away and forgot to talk to each other.”
Read the opening of North Star and all the shortlisted manuscripts 

Bath Children’s Novel Award 2020 Shortlisted:
SHARON TANDY for Robomom
7 to 9 years | humour | unpublished

“Inventive, energetic, lively and entertaining, this anarchic wish fulfilment gone wrong story is a great idea, lots of fun and has huge child appeal.”

2020 judge, Stephanie Thwaites of Curtis Brown

The Junior Judges said: “I liked how funny, exciting and adventurous it was and how it made you think, what if I got a new mum? It’s about ten-year-old twins, Charlie and Max, who decide to sell their mum on eBay and get a ‘Robomom’, which is basically an advanced AI who is the perfect mum. The boys design and make her then get up to all the crazy stuff they weren’t allowed to do before. I’d like to read other books by this author.”

SHARON TANDY has been an assistant to thirteen mayors, currently works in Kidderminster and  lives in Worcestershire with her husband and teenage sons.

Sharon’s was also shortlisted by 2015’s Junior Judge team for another laugh out loud adventure called The Miniatures in which a boy accidentally shrinks his mum then keeps her in a hamster cage.

The inspiration for Robomom came from reading an article about children selling odd things on the Internet. “I thought, what would happen if two naughty boys sold their mum and tried to make a replacement with catastrophic results? As 2020 was a year like no other, writing this silly, mad-capped adventure was therapeutic for me and hopefully brought a smile to the faces of the Junior Judges.”

Read the opening of Robomom and all the shortlisted manuscripts 

Bath Children’s Novel Award 2020 Shortlisted:
ELE NASH for The World Within
13 to 15 years | Urban fantasy| unpublished

“An ambitious and imaginative, urban fantasy with an unusual collection of characters and distinctive setting.”

2020 judge, Stephanie Thwaites of Curtis Brown

The Junior Judges said: “Ghostly, mysterious and enticing, I liked how the book also addressed issues of mental health. It’s about a girl called Delilah who goes through a mysterious trapdoor to look for her mum and some other residents of the flat she lives in, where she is brought to a ghostly world which is identical to her home land but everyone is ghosts. The story is about her quest to find their family’s missing members in this mysterious world.”

ELE NASH is an artist, working mostly in ink and mixed media collages incorporating materials such as newspapers, zips and buttons. She has a degree in Visual Communication, a PGCE in Primary Teaching and is a graduate of the Golden Egg Academy. Ele lives in Bath with her husband, three teenage sons and five cats. 

Ele wrote The World Within during the UK’s first lockdown having enrolled on a course with the Faber Academy. The novel was sparked by an idea of a sinister trapdoor which grew after seeing her children’s fear of leaving home during a pandemic. Ele has also created an animated version of her prologue which can be found here. Ele says: “Writing is, for me, very freeing… and I have never needed it more than in this past year.”

Read the opening of The World Within and all the shortlisted manuscripts 

The Cornerstones Literary Consultancy Prize for most promising longlisted manuscript is awarded to:

GEMMA HARGREAVES for Truly Horrible Things 

10 to 12 years | fantasy | unpublished

Prize: the online course Edit Your Novel the Professional Way

GEMMA HARGREAVES is a photographer and marketer, but her heart belongs to writing, and has done from the age of eight when she wrote her first novel for a boy who held her hand during story time. She lives on the Isle of Portland with her beloved husband and Labrador, where she collects more books than her house can hold. 

Truly Horrible Things was inspired, not only by the door at the bottom of Gemma’s garden, but also by her fondness of snow, monsters, and the idea that humans need, above all else, love. 

Read the opening page of Truly Horrible Things here

Bath Children’s Novel Award 2020 Longlisted

49 Sisters
Sue Cunningham
Allura and the Eviscero Charge
Taylor Roberts
Amelia Skyhart and Iron Age Treasure
Anna Moutran
Daisy and the Dark
Beth Tomlin
Dream Dial
Mel Stephenson
Everything That Came After
Rosie Hopegood
Gizmo's Great Invention
Billy Treacy
Great, Great, Great
EJ Whiston
No Place But The Water
Linda Marshall Griffiths
North Star
Alice P Rees
Perry Featherstone's Peculiars
Sarah Van Goethem
Sharon Tandy
Sean & the Franken-Bogey
Anna E Brooke
SgàileYvonne Banham
The Boy in the Botanical Gardens
Kathy Hurst
The Buried Dark
Lydia Massiah
The Enemy Inside
Ruth Moore
The Map to the Better Place
Vega Powell
The World Within
Ele Nash
Andy McFarlane
Truly Horrible Things
Gemma Hargreaves
V is for Vanished
Sharon Boyle

Full 2020 longlist announcement here

Full 2020 shortlist announcement here