Young Quills Awards 2017 – Winners and Reviews

HA annual award for best historical fiction

Published: 15th June 2017

The Young Quills awards for historical fiction are presented each year by the Historical Association. They recognise the best historical fiction for youth and young readers released in the previous year.

The Historical Association is pleased to announce that the 2017 winners of the Young Quills for Historical Fiction are:

Under 12s

Black Powder Black Powder by Ally Sherrick (Chicken House books)

Set in 17th century England, the story follows one boy amongst the religious complexities of the time. One young reviewer said:

“it was a pleasurable and interesting way to learn about history – it has definitely intrigued me to keep learning about history”

"I am thrilled and honoured that Black Powder has been chosen to win this award. The Young Quills Awards are a great celebration of the power of stories set in the past both to foster an understanding of and empathy with people’s differing experiences and the challenges they face, and to help young readers steer a course through uncertain times. Long may they continue!" Ally Sherrick

12 and over

The HypnotistThe Hypnotist by Laurence Anholt (Corgi Childrens)

1960s America and its racial tensions is the setting for this book. A young reviewer wrote: “This book made want to find out more about what life was like for black people in the 1950s and 1960s in America. The author builds tension in the book, which makes you want to read the next chapter. The writing is very descriptive and it makes you imagine being there.

On his win:

“I have written and illustrated many picture books over the years, but The Hypnotist is my first full-length novel. Trust me, it’s a scary thing to spend two or more years dreaming up a world of characters in your head. You have no idea what people will make of them or whether they will read your book at all. To receive an award as prestigious as the Young Quills, which is judged not only by young readers, but by a team of historians and fellow authors is reassuring beyond words. On behalf of Pip, Hannah, Jack, Zachery, Lilybelle, Erwin and all the folk at Dead River Farm… and from their author too, thank you for breathing life into my dreams. With love and gratitude, Laurence Anholt, June 2017”

All the judges found the decision making very difficult this year – it was such a strong field. I would recommend all of them to a young reader, it’s a shame we can only pick two winners” Rebecca Sullivan CEO of the Historical Association

The shortlist for the categories is created by young readers contributing their own reviews of the books submitted for the year.

The final decision about the winners is selected by an adult judging panel who are interested in the historical accuracy and presentation as well as the engaging narrative and the strength of the fictional representation of history.

The Full shortlist for 2017 is:

Shortlisted for Younger Readers

  • Shield Maiden, by Stuart Hill (Bloomsbury Education)
  • Rose in the Blitz, by Rebecca Stevens (Chicken House books)
  • Wave, by Paul Doswell (Barrington Stoke Ltd)
  • Land of the Gods, by Sally Prue (Bloomsbury Education)
  • Black Powder, by Ally Sherrick (Chicken House books)

Shortlisted for Older Readers

  • The House on Hummingbird Island, by Sam Angus (Macmillan Children's Book)
  • The Girl in the Blue Coat, by Monica Hesse (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
  • Beck, by Mal Peet with Meg Rosoff (Walker Books)
  • Eliza Rose, by Lucy Worsley (Bloomsbury Childrens)
  • The Hypnotist, by Laurence Anholt (Corgi Childrens)
  • Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys (Philomel Books)
  • Clover Moon, by Jacqueline Wilson (Doubleday Childrens)

The awards were presented at the Historical Association Awards evening in Central London on 15 June.

For further information please contact 
Paula Kitching: 07720809481