Bath Children’s Novel Award 2018 Winner | Prize: £2,500


Psychological thriller for young adults | Unpublished 

“The winner of the 2018 Bath Children’s Novel Award is an enthralling, surprising and ultimately chilling psychological drama. I was hooked from the outset and wanted to know what direction it would take me – all the while gradually, carefully and effectively there is an unravelling – to spell out any more would be a major spoiler alert. The writer confidently holds the reader throughout whilst dealing with issues of truth, first love, loss, betrayal and most importantly state of mind.  Loops scoops the prize.”

2018 judge, literary agent Hilary Delamere of The Agency

Cassie Powney lives in Kent with her husband, daughter and newborn son. She has been writing for young womens’ magazines for the past ten years and is in her eighth year at Cosmopolitan. Before her career in journalism she was a film and TV actress, best known for a three-year stint in Hollyoaks. Her first YA novel was longlisted for The Times & Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition in 2015 and she is currently writing her third (between play groups and nappy changes).

The book was born from Cassie’s love of dark thrillers featuring determined female protagonists and twists that stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. Fittingly, the girls’ escape was inspired by Bath’s Skyline Walk and a tour of the Bath Abbey clock tower.

In Loops, seventeen-year-old Lenora doesn’t know why she’s being kept prisoner in the house on the hill; her memory’s not been right since she was forced to start taking the pills. But when she escapes, her murky memories begin to seep back, casting doubt over who she can really trust, including the mysterious girl she’s travelling with…

The Junior Judges said: Loops is chilling, vivid and full of hooks which keep you guessing to the last page. Lenora escapes from The Home where girls are given pills to block their memories. The further away she gets the more her memories return and she pieces together fragments about her boyfriend, family and rebellious friendships to get to the truth about why she was in The Home.

Read the opening page of Loops and all the shortlisted novels

Bath Children’s Novel Award 2018 Shortlisted:

LUCY CUTHEW for Blood Moon

Contemporary novel-in-verse for young adults | unpublished

Lucy Cuthew has a degree in English, a master’s in Children’s Literature, and ten years’ experience as an editor in children’s publishing. She has written over thirty picture books, one of which was shortlisted for the Dundee Picture Book Award and also featured on Cbeebies Book at Bedtime. In 2011 Lucy was shortlisted for the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize which recognises the achievements of young women in publishing. Her poetry, short stories and academic papers have been published online and in print. Lucy lives in Cardiff with her husband and twins.

Blood Moon was written on the Bath Spa MA in Writing for Young People. Lucy was reading So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson at the time and “had this poem in my head about this really confident girl who was just walking to school feeling amazing about herself, when she got her period.” The novel came from  putting those two ideas together. Lucy was interested to explore what a viral shaming must be like for a teenager. While writing it, she spoke to so many teeangers who had been through it, that she realised how important it was to talk about.

The Junior Judges’ commented: Blood Moon is an empowering book about love, friendship and overcoming shame. Thanks to her schoolmates the whole world knows Frankie’s most intimate secret about her new relationship. When the internet blows up with hateful messages she is humiliated and can’t possibly tell her parents. Frankie must work out who to trust and find a way to push back at and call out the shamers.

Read the opening page of Blood Moon and all the shortlisted novels

Bath Children’s Novel Award 2018 Shortlisted:


Fantasy for young adults | Unpublished

Cassandra Farrin is a speculative fiction writer and poet. A Shin Buddhist, she graduated from Lancaster University in England with a degree in religious studies supported by a US-UK Fulbright scholarship. She is longtime student of Japanese culture and taught English in Shizuoka, Japan. After adopting children with her twin sister, she settled with her family in southern Idaho, where she works as the managing editor of the indie trade publisher Amberjack Publishing.
The inspiration for her young adult Cinderella retelling Hai came from deep curiosity about hospitality, especially in the sense of ‘found family’ as she experienced it both in Japan and with her adoptive family.  When can we accept the kindness of strangers? Isn’t it sometimes okay to be rescued, if you’re doing your very best to survive and it still isn’t enough?
1900 Japan and Hai must work all hours fixing the trains on his late parents’ railway to fund his step-family’s lavish lifestyle. His only other inheritance was his one-of-a-kind spectacles without which he is all but blind. When these are lost can Hai and the railway survive?
Our Junior Judges said: Hai is an enchanting and cute Japanese retelling of Cinderella set in 1900. Orphan Hai wears special owlish goggles, has a mean step-family and works all hours fixing trains. One day he loses his glasses and is rescued by the empress’s ocean-explorer son who is under pressure to choose a bride despite being gay. Can there be a happy-ever-after for either Hai or his prince?

Bath Children’s Novel Award 2018 Shortlisted:

Becca Heddle for A body

Speculative for young adults | unpublished

Becca Heddle was born in Kent and spent most of her childhood in the library at the end of her road. She is the author of over 30 non-fiction books and books for primary school reading schemes. After university, she worked at a specialist children’s bookshop, before moving on to editorial work at Usborne and OUP, and finally going freelance in order to spend more time writing. She has also been a proofreader, English tutor and school library assistant, and is currently tutoring students at Reading University, helping them to improve their writing skills.

The idea for A body came from a conversation with a friend interested in cryonics. He was convinced there was no moral dilemma in the idea of using a cloned body-donor to house a frozen brain – it would consent to whatever the initial person wanted, as they were essentially the same. Becca’s view was somewhat different. A Curtis Brown Creative course helped her carve out time to spend with Dill and tease out her story.

Junior Judges’ comments: A Body is an intriguing and sinister story about breaking free from mind control. Fifteen-year-old Dill has been raised since birth in a secret complex called The Facility. As part of a research program she must follow a strict health and fitness regime and is not allowed to have feelings and thoughts or ask questions. When a new trainer encourages Dill to start breaking the rules she starts to resist and discovers what it means to become a fully formed person, not just a body.

Read the opening page of A body and all the shortlisted novels

Bath Children’s Novel Award 2018 Shortlisted:


Historical with magic realism for 10-12 year olds | Unpublished

Elizabeth Shapiro grew up in Connecticut and taught teenagers in Chicago. These days she tells visitors ghost stories at Hampton Court Palace and scrambles up mountains after her husband and son when she’d rather be reading and curled up with her dogs. She started taking a community writing class two years ago, and now gets “cheered up and cheered on” by her fellow writers and mentors at the Golden Egg Academy, which she finds “invaluable when what I write is so dark”.

When she was younger, Elizabeth would ask her uncles about their adventures during World War II  but was told she could only have their stories if she wrote them down for her male cousins. Elizabeth sat down to write one of her uncle’s stories, but found instead that she wanted to write about Poland being saved by a brave girl who loved poetry. It’s the history she knew, but altered slightly, to give those without a voice the starring role. It’s the story she’s been told, in the book she’s always wanted to read.

In Resistance, thirteen-year-old Relka is on the run after Russian soldiers take her family. With the help of a ghostly warrior from Poland’s past, can Relka survive the terrors of the Second World War and become the hero she is destined to be?

The Junior Judges commented: Resistance is a powerful and moving story with lots of exciting twists and turns. It’s about a girl called Relka who is in love with poetry. She’s living in Poland in late WW2 when her family is taken away by the Russian army. She escapes and meets the Hussar guardian angel of Poland who gives her strength to help Poland in its fight for peace.

Read the opening page of Resistance and all the shortlisted novels

Bath Children’s Novel Award 2018 Shortlisted:

HANA TOOKE for The Unadoptables Historical mystery for 10-12 year olds | Unpublished

Hana Tooke is a singer-songwriter who grew up just north of Amsterdam and now lives in Bath with “a big human, a little human, and an even littler cat.” Her writing morphed from songs, to poems, to epic fantasy adventures and whimsical historical mysteries so she enrolled for an MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University. 

The inspiration for The Unadoptables came from a lifetime of feeling like a bit of a misfit, as well as all her fond memories of ice-skating along canals as a child and eating endless warm, gooey stroopwafels. Hana wanted to write a story about a group of misfits that fully embrace the things that make them unique, the power of their friendship, and about never giving up on your hopes and aspirations, no matter how implausible they may seem. Note: for the happiest of reasons The Unadoptables was withdrawn from the final judging stage of the competition. 

In The Unadoptables, we meet Milou who was abandoned as a baby on the rooftop of an orphanage in Amsterdam. Twelve years later, she is still waiting for her father, who she believes to be the famous puppeteer, Bram Poppenmaker, to return for her.  and hatches a plan to find him herself. 

The Junior Judges commented: The Unadoptables is a surprising and intriguing mystery about finding your true family. In 1886 Milou lives at Amsterdam’s Little Tulip Orphanage with her five best friends and treasured cat puppet. The cruel matron in charge threatens to let a creepy man adopt the children when they turn thirteen. The children escape and make a new home in the cat puppet maker’s abandoned windmill where they must outwit the grownups to stay free.

Read the opening page of The Unadoptables and all the shortlisted books 


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

SHARON TANDY for The Money Trees

(Humour for 7 to 9 year olds) | Unpublished

Prize: the online course Edit Your Novel the Professional Way 

Sharon Tandy with Helen Bryant of Cornerstones

Sharon Tandy lives in Kidderminster with her husband and two sons. For the past 11 years she has worked as assistant to the Mayor. Her role ranges from organising civic ceremonial events like Freedom Marches to whipping cream in the Mayor’s parlour to put into scones for a charity coffee mornings. She was shortlisted for the inaugural Bath Children’s Novel Award with another humorous novel for middle grade readers and was also longlisted in 2017 with a manuscript for young adults. 

The Money Trees:  When Sidney Lime’s grandfather plants his life savings in the garden  Sidney does not expect the coins to grow. Overnight, they are growing an orchard full of money trees. At the rate the trees are growing, Sidney figures out he will be a multi millionaire by Christmas. But Sidney discovers there are rules to growing money trees – and consequences for everyone.

The Junior Judges commented: The Money Trees

is a funny and exciting adventure about a small boy called Sid and a girl called Harriet. Sid’s Grandpa plants money trees and warns them not to pick the notes off the trees past midnight. As you can probably guess, they do and things turn seriously funny.


Bath Children’s Novel Award 2018 longlisted

Muizza Ahlam
The Fallen Warrior
Fran Benson
The Secret Keeper
Susie Bower
School for Nobodies
Emma Cayley
Pim and the Ghost Stone
Lucy Cuthew
The Weight of Our Universe
Sarah Day
The Door in the Dark
Cassandra Farrin
Clare Golding
In Just One Day
Zoe Green
Book of Destinies
Clare Harlow
A Patchwork of Glass
Tasha Harrison
Clementine Florentine
Becca Heddle
A body
Sarah Howson
Storm Glass
Alex Ivey
The Glass Hotel
CA Lee
The Badly Born
Claire McCauley
Three Quarters: The Trouble With Secrets
JL McCreedy
Liberty Frye and the Witches of Hessen
Miranda Moore
For Never Was A Story
Ruth MooreThe Agency's Last Case
Lucy O'HairBlood Gifts
Jeanie O'HareThe Girl on the Floodplain
Jenny PearsonThe Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates
Jenny PearsonDaniel Strange & The Prime Minister's P.L.O.P
Cassie PowneyLoops
Terra PruittThe Skeleton and the Bard
Nicki RobsonChosen
Elizabeth ShapiroResistance
Lucy SteedsThe Map of Lost Lands
Sharon TandyThe Money Trees
Hana TookeThe Unadoptables
Rob TyeThe Thief of Whytewinter
Sarah Van GoethemKeeper of the Corpse Flowers
Melissa WelliverThe Eternals



Read 2018’s shortlist announcement in full 


Read 2018’s longlist announcement in full