Young Quills 2023 – the longlist

HA annual awards for best historical fiction for young people

Published: 10th February 2023

The Young Quills books for 2023 are now with the reviewing schools, which means that some are right now in the hands of the children who are about to tell us what they think of them!

The Young Quills for Historical Fiction is a competition for adult authors of historical fiction written for children and young people. The books can be on any historical period and subject.

Qualification for entry into the Young Quills only applies to new books which must have been published for the first time in English in the year preceding the competition – so in 2022 for this year’s selection.

Divided by age suitability the books are given to schools on the condition that the children and young people there write a review of the book following our criteria. Those reviews are used as the basis for us to create a shortlist from which the winners are selected. We also publish some of the reviews. All this means that the intended audience of the books are part of the judging process. This year we have also invited some schools to take part through registration, rather than by receiving books.

Previous winners have included Tony Bradman, Ally Sherrick, Barbara Henderson and Lucy Strange.

Even if the school of a child in your life is not taking part in the competition they can still be inspired by what is being read. Take a look at this year’s books or the shortlists and winners of previous years:




For younger readers aged 7–11 years

The Baker by the Sea

White, Paula

Templar Books

Bruno and Frida

Bradman, Tony

Barrington Stoke

The Ever Changing Earth

Baker-Smith, Grahame

Templar Books

The Fire Cats of London

Fargher, Anna


The Reluctant Rebel

Henderson, Barbara


Out of the Rubble  

Nicholls, Sally


The Accidental Stowaway

Eagle, Judith


For intermediate readers aged 11–13 years

The Battle of Cable Street

Landman, Tanya

Barrington Stoke

The Book of Stolen Dreams

Farr, David


Dick Kerr Girls: All Together Now

Ainsworth, Eve


Dogs of the Deadlands

McGowan, Anthony

Rock the Boat / Oneworld

The Elemental Detectives

Lawrence, Patrice


Enola Homes: The Case of the Missing Marquess

Springer, Nancy

Hot Key Books

Fin and the Memory Curse

Stachera, Helenka


The Good Turn

Jackson, Sharna


Journey Back to Freedom

Johnson, Catherine

Barrington Stoke

The Lizzie & Belle Mysteries: Drama and Danger

Williams, J.T.



Bunzl, Peter


The Mermaid and the Millpond

Strange, Lucy

Barrington Stoke

The Ministry of Unladylike Activity

Stevens, Robin


The Misunderstandings of Charity Brown

Laird, Elizabeth


My Friend the Octopus

Galvin, Lindsay

Chicken House

Never Forget You

Gavin, Jamila


Nisha's War

Smith, Dan

Chicken House

Please Write Soon

Rosen, Michael


Resist: One Girl's Fight Back Against the Nazis

Palmer, Tom

Barrington Stoke

Rosie Raja: Churchill's Spy

Ahmed, Sufiya


The Secret of the Treasure Keepers

Howell, A.M.


The Story of Babur: Prince, Emperor, Sage

Anuradha (illustrated by Jane Ray)

Scala Arts & Heritage Publishing

The Tale of Truthwater Lake

Carroll, Emma


The Three Hares: The Terracotta Horse

Lauder, Scott & Ross, David

Neem Tree Press

The Titanic Tunnel

Blackwell, Glen

Zoetrope Books

When the War Came Home

Parr, Lesley


The Whisperling

Hoskins, Hayley


For young adults aged 14 years and above

As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow

Katouh, Zoulfa


Baby Love

Wilson, Jacqueline


Destination Unknown

Konigsberg, Bill


Escape from Chernobyl

Marino, Andy


The Secrets Act

Weatherby, Alison

Chicken House

Soul of the Deep

Bowen, Natasha


For further information on the Young Quills please contact