Young Quill Awards shortlist 2010

Published: 26th June 2010

The Historical Association announces the shortlist for the inaugural Young Quills Award  

The Historical Association, in association with BBC History Magazine, are delighted to announce the selected shortlist for the inaugural Young Quills award for children's historical fiction.

This new prize has three separate categories; Young Fiction (for under 7 year olds), Older Children (8-12 years old) and for Teenage Fiction. The selection procedure of the shortlist is believed to be unique as it is determined on reviews written by children reviewers in each category.

In order to qualify for the shortlist the submitted works had to conform to two criteria:

  • That the children reviewers enjoyed the book and would recommend it.
  • That the review contained evidence that ‘the history was good' and that the reviewer had both learnt something and was keen to find out more.


The short listed works selected by the discerning reviewers are:  

Older Children's Fiction Category

  • The Half Magic by Annie Barrows (Bloomsbury)
  • Day of the Assassins by Jonny O'Brian (Templar Publishing
  • Thief! John Pilkington (Usborne)
  • Hetty Feather Jacqueline Wilson (Doubleday)


Teenage Fiction Category

  • The Wild Man by Mark Barratt (Red Fox)
  • Dido by Adele Geras (David Fickling Books, Random House)
  • Far From Home by K.M. Peyton ((Usborne)
  • Jimmy's Stars by Mary Anne Rodman (Usborne)

For the Young Fiction category there was just one submission, In Egyptian Times by Kate Davis and Alfredo Belli. Published by Usborne it met with great favour by all the young children who read it or to whom it was read, not to mention those parents who read it.

The reviewers for this year's prize were drawn from children at five schools:

Helpringham Primary School in Lincolnshire

Deansfield Primary in South London

Fortismere Comprehensive in North London

Harris Academy in South Norwood

Ilfracombe Art College in Devon

The Historical Association is absolutely delighted with the range of works that have been selected to go forward to the final judging panel and congratulates all those who have been selected.


The four judges are:

Eleanor Updale, author of the multi-award winning Montmorency series and this year's hit title, Johnny Swanson.

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces.

Christine Counsell, Senior Lecturer in History Education at Cambridge University.

David Martin, History and Elearning Adviser


Lucy Worsley said:

"Opening a historical novel should be like time-travel, it should give you a glimpse of another world.  Historians need to be able to imagine alternative worlds to our own, and good fiction helps us to do just that.  I'm always on the lookout for the brilliant historians of the future, and many of the best of the current crop were inspired by historical fiction as kids.  So there are a just a couple of the reasons why this award is jolly important."

The judges' deliberations will culminate in the formal gala ceremony this autumn (date and venue to be announced soon) when the winners will be announced.

Rebecca Sullivan, CEO of the Historical Association concludes:

‘The Historical Association's aim is to promote an awareness and enjoyment of history, and there is no doubt that historical fiction is one of the best ways of to this. Our thanks go to all the schools that took part, and to the publishers and authors who submitted works for consideration.'