Shortlist announcement: The Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award 2013

Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award was jointly founded by Frances Lincoln Ltd and Seven Stories - National Centre for Children’s Books in memory of Frances Lincoln (1945-2001). The award aims to encourage and promote diversity in children’s fiction.

The Award, now in its fourth year, continues Frances Lincoln’s tradition of promoting writing that contributes to social and cultural tolerance and is for a manuscript that celebrates cultural diversity in the widest possible sense, either in terms of its story or the ethnic and cultural origins of its author.

Seven Stories' partnership work with literary organisations in the north-west encouraged a handful of entries directly and helped to promote their diversity focused activities nationally. They ran creative writing workshops in Liverpool and worked with English students to develop critical reading skills. As well as teaming up with Commonword in Manchester to promote the Award.

Overall, entries for this time demonstrated a wider-ranging exploration of cultural diversity. In particular, more entrants entered from the UK and more of these being on the basis of their own cultural origins. This year, for the first time, each of the three shortlisted writers is eligible because of their own cultural origins as well as their stories.

Comments from the judges:

I am proud that the Award is achieving exactly what it set out to do – to discover and encourage new writers of exciting, culturally diverse fiction.”
Janetta Otter-Barry, Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

Diversity in children’s books is crucial – in this ever-shrinking world we are all foreigners somewhere. I’m delighted to be part of an award recognising the importance of this element in young people’s fiction.”
Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty (The National Council for Civil Liberties)

I am proud to play my small role in a great initiative to encourage more diversity in children’s fiction.” Alex Wheatle, author

The award feels hugely positive because its format allows consideration of diversity and its shifting cultural base. The award has been structured to bring together writers, publishers, literary arts agencies, libraries and schools, which gives a potent base and a powerful reach. It is, arguably, through working together that we have the best leverage for changing the literary landscape so that it encompasses and embraces wide- ranging experiences and lifestyles.” Jake Hope, Book Consultant

We were impressed with the standard of the entries and the range of the stories. We looked for a strong story that an 8 to 12-year-old would want to read rather than a worthy book that overtly explores social issues.Kate Edwards, chief executive of  Seven Stories – National Centre for Children’s Books

The writers will celebrate at a ceremony at Seven Stories on 23rd May 2013, when the winner will be announced. The award will go to the best work of unpublished fiction for 8-to-12-year-olds by a writer, aged 18 years or over, who has not previously published a novel for children.

John Nicoll, founder of the award, will present a cheque for £1500 to the winner, who will also receive a full editorial consultation with leading literary agent Caroline Sheldon.

Press enquiries to:
Nicky Potter E: T: 020 8 889 9735 M: 0771 5587948

Download the full Press Release here.

The Shortlist (in alphabetical order)

Collectively, the judges felt that their short-listed selections are important stories with ambitious subject matters, authentic diversity references, humanity and humour, as well as worthiness and grit.

One of a Kind by Jude (Najoud) Ensaff

Samosa Girl by Swapna Haddow

You're Not Proper by Tariq Mehmood