KBNA Trophy 2015

The Bath Novel Award &

Bath Children’s Novel Award 

Finding the best unsigned novelists across the globe

The Bath Children’s Novel Award 2015

Judge: Literary agent Sallyanne Sweeney 

sallyanneSallyanne Sweeney grew up in Dublin and studied English at Trinity College before completing an MPhil in American Literature at Queens’ College, Cambridge. After graduating she joined Watson, Little Ltd, becoming a Literary Agent in 2008 and a Director of the company in 2011. She joined Mulcahy Associates in 2013 and is passionate about working with debut children’s & YA authors. Her fiction tastes are wide-ranging, from the literary to the very commercial. Judge’s Q&A


KBNA Trophy 2015

2015 Winner:

LUCY VAN SMIT for THE HURTING (YA Psychological Thriller)

“With an incredibly strong voice and sustained suspense, THE HURTING is a YA thriller that had me at the edge of my seat from its arresting opening to the epic finale. Norwegian fjords, an abandoned wolf reservation, and dealing sensitively and powerfully with the darker side to religion and relationships – what’s not to love?”2015 Judge, Sallyanne Sweeney.


Lucy Van Smit: “I’ve always loved thrillers and wanted to write about a girl who must choose between the love of her life, and being able to live with herself. Entering the Bath Children’s Novel Award fired me up to finish my manuscript. I was in Kilarney, on the Robert McKee’s Story seminar, when I got long-listed, and had a week to send in the full manuscript. Each day, I studied ten hours with McKee, and edited through the night, finishing at 05.30 on the final Sunday, only to find the WiFi wouldn’t send the file!  The shortlist knocked me out, especially as young, and adult, judges read your work. They characterised my story as ‘a daring, wolfish Nordic Noir.

Lucy lives in London with her husband and teenage son.  As a TV producer, she has made documentaries about writers including Ian McEwan and Martin Amis, but always had the feeling she was a writer too. After her 10+ novel, INVISIBLE BY DAY, won the first SCWBI Slushpile Competition, Lucy took an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, where she began writing THE HURTING. Lucy is now represented by 2015 judge, literary agent Sallyanne Sweeney and THE HURTING has been acquired by Barry Cunningham at Chicken House books for publication in 2018

Read Lucy’s book deal interview here

Read Lucy’s winner’s interview here.

Read the first chapter of THE HURTING here in our special compilation post of 2015’s winning and shortlisted novels.

KBNA Trophy 2015

2015 Runner Up


“Jake accidentally shrinks his mum and things go downhill from here, with hilarious consequences. 92-year-old Ernie is the neighbour everyone should have (particularly in a situation such as this), and I loved their dynamic. Laugh-out-loud funny, silly and with a fantastic voice. I think the author has serious potential as a comic writer for the middle-grade market. It stills makes me smile” 2015 Judge, Sallyanne Sweeney.

Sharon Tandy

Sharon Tandy: “Before I began THE MINIATURES, I had partially written an older, gritty story about children that could fly and wanted to migrate to foreign lands they’d heard about. But, as writing checklists always say, I decided to have a go at ‘write what you know’… and for me that’s making children giggle. Having two boys helped enormously. I feel The Miniatures is a story they can easily read and relate to. There are over-the-top antics, but also a core sense of ‘doing right’ with a little bit of mischievousness to boot.”

Sharon lives with her husband and two young sons in Kidderminster, where she has worked as assistant to the Mayor for the last eight years.

Read our interview with Sharon here

Read Sharon’s first chapter here in our special compilation post of 2015’s winning and shortlisted novels.

KBNA Trophy 2015



“This was a brilliantly gritty and tense YA novel and the characters were very strong. The suspense was well done and sustained throughout, and I loved the setting and premise. The writing is great and there is strong commercial potential here” – 2015 Judge, Sallyanne Sweeney.

Jane Brittan (3)

Jane Brittan:“I studied English Literature badly many years ago and did a Masters in Creative Writing less badly in 2010. That’s what really got me back into writing stories. I started writing THE EDGE OF ME back in 2011 and the central character, Sanda, came to me as a voice in the middle of the night. Just a voice is all I had but it felt so real, so urgent, so believable that I had to let her live –  to set her free. The Bosnian  War happened when my sons were very little, and the reports of what was happening to ordinary people so shocked me. They stayed with me, and because I wanted to write a book that felt real, that came out of conflict and might resonate with young people, I knew it was right to go back there. As a writer, I’m drawn to cruelty, darkness and the ‘gothic’, but I like redemption and salvation too.”

the edge of me coverJane works with Animation and Illustration undergraduate students on storytelling. She has two grown up sons, a daughter and three stepsons and lives in North London. The Edge of Me is independently published by Blowfish Books and is currently nominated for a Carnegie Medal.

Read our interview with Jane here

Read Jane’s first chapter here in our special compilation post of 2015’s winning and shortlisted novels.

KBNA Trophy 2015



“This had a fantastic opening and the author did a brilliant job of establishing the tone, premise and relationships from the outset. I loved the dynamic between Jaya and her dad and the concept is really exciting. The writing was very filmic and atmospheric. This is an exciting and interesting YA author who I’m sure we’ll hear more about in the future” – 2015 Judge, Sallyanne Sweeney.


Sophie Cameron: OUT OF THE BLUE was written earlier this year – though the idea first came to me in 2010, inspired by Barcelona street artists and Lynx’s ‘Angels Will Fall’ advert, amongst other things. In Out of the Blue, angels have started falling from the sky, each dying on impact and the world becomes obsessed with finding a living angel.”

Sophie is based in Edinburgh, where she works as a Marketing Officer for TRACS (Traditional Arts & Culture Scotland). She has a postgraduate certificate in Creative Writing from Newcastle University and was formerly a mentee on the WoMentoring project. Out of the Blue went on to be longlisted for the Caledonia Novel Award and  a finalist in SCBWI’s Undiscovered Voices 2016. Sophie has now signed with literary agent Hellie Ogden. Read our interview with Sophie here.

Read Sophie’s first chapter here in our special compilation post of 2015’s winning and shortlisted novels.

KBNA Trophy 2015



“I loved the Kenyan setting here and the premise to the novel was very exciting. Neema is a strong character who I think children will relate to and the author draws the reader immediately into her world. A very interesting and enjoyable read” – 2015 Judge, Sallyanne Sweeney.

Dorothy Massey (2)

RED GOD / BLACK GOD originated during a field trip to Kenya whilst Dorothy was studying for an MA in Writing for Children at the University of Central Lancashire. red god black god coverIt tells the story of Neema, a fourteen-year-old Maasai girl who takes a stand against Maasai tradition.

Dorothy is a Literacy and Creative Writing tutor and freelance writer of children’s fiction and educational materials with many years experience of teaching English. Dorothy lives in the north east of England and has published her novel on Createspace.

Read Dorothy’s first chapter here in our special compilation post of 2015’s winning and shortlisted novels.

Read our interview with Dorothy here

 KBNA Trophy 2015


Janine Beacham The Butlers of Silvercrest Hall
Lilian Butterwick A Silent World
Sarah Day I’ve Heard Stories
Mark Dlugash The Takeover
KF Goodacre The Elder Throne
Hayley Hoskins Finding Polly
Alex Ivey The Glass Hotel
Rob Keeley Childish Spirits
Olivia Kiernan Holly Stone: Into the Spider’s Web
Libby O’Loghlin Charlotte Aimes: The Great Alpine Adventure
Mandy Rabin The Girl Who Tangled Time
Honey Stavonhagen Hope Grayling the Blind Detective