UK News January 30th

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This is something I’m going to try – bi-weekly round-ups of UK and US news involving non-big 5 books. (Alternating, so next week will be US, then back to UK, etc.) In each post, I’ll be highlighting cover reveals, interviews, features, lists, and upcoming events. I’m going to try to cover as much as I can, but please comment if there’s things I’ve missed! In addition, any feedback on this – good or bad – would be especially appreciated. For more details, click on links to go to sources, and book titles to go to Goodreads pages.


Down The Rabbit Hole, the children’s/YA radio show, returned with fabulous new hosts! I’ve been on the show a couple of times – once on the panel, once as an interviewer – and it’s a wonderful programme. Over the last seven years Katherine Woodfine, Louise Lamont, Jack Noel, Imogen Russell-Williams and Melissa Cox did an incredible job. The reins have now been handed over to superstar publicity managers Hannah Love (Faber) and Charlie Morris (Stripes), awesome author Sam Sedgman and brilliant Bookseller deputy features editor Caroline Carpenter. All four are incredibly knowledgeable and I’m really looking forward to them hosting. 

The Times Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition deadline was extended until May – well worth entering if you’re a unpublished/unagented author. It’s the competition which launched the prolific career of author Sophia Bennett when she won with Threads, and of MA Griffin (Lifers/Payback) when he won with The Poison Boy, under the pen name Fletcher Moss. Both of those are favourites of mine! In addition, Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison made the 2013 shortlist, and was later published by Chicken House. Lobsters and their other YA book Freshers are two of the funniest contemporary UKYA reads around! It’s a prize with a history of great winners and entrants. (In addition to those mentioned, there have been lots of awesome MG novels which have won.)

Chicken House also revealed the cover to Every Line Of You by Naomi Gibson. Billed as Her meets Girl, Interrupted, this sounds riveting.


On TeachWire, Cynthia Murphy (Last One To Die, Scholastic) wrote about why the horror genre is perfect for reluctant readers.

Keren David’s What We’re Scared Of (Scholastic), about Jewish twin sisters whose mother is targeted by antisemitic trolls, is a recent release I can’t wait to read. Keren’s been busy with some excellent articles in the last week or two. In Vogue, how I speak with my children about the Holocaust – and the many inviolable wonders of Jewish life. In Waitrose Weekend, a warning from history that we shouldn’t ignore. And in Good Housekeeping, taking lessons from the past to tackle modern day antisemitism.

On HITC, thriller author Vincent Ralph interviewed Joseph Elliott about the recently-released The Broken Raven

Yaba Badoe, author of Wolf Light (Zephyr) is interviewed on Stoomio

Superstar book reviewer Imogen Russell-Williams has a round-up in The Guardian, including Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas (Walker Books), First Day Of My Life by Lisa Williamson (DFB) and The Humiliations of Welton Blake by Alex Wheatle (Barrington Stoke)


Helen Corcoran, author of Queen Of Coin And Whispers (Little Island), and Moira Fowley-Doyle, author of The Accident Season, Spellbook of the Lost And Found and All The Bad Apples were interviewed by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald on Redefining Labels.

Sarah Moore Fitzgerald also interviewed Ciara Smyth (The Falling In Love Montage, Andersen), Cethan Leahy (Tuesdays Are Just As Bad, Mercier Press) and James Butler (Dangerous Games, Little Island) about Mental Health And Writing.

Attiya Khan, author of Ten Steps To Us (Hashtag BLAK), and Abiola Bello, Hashtag BLAK co-founder, appeared on podcast Prepublished.


Next Thursday, 4th Feb, at 7pm GMT Housmans will be hosting the online book launch for We Played With Fire by Catherine Barter (Andersen),.

A week later, Andy Robb will be joining Sarwat Chadda to launch Smashed (UCLan Publishing) on February 11th at 7:30 GMT via Crowdcast

And the following day, Friday Feb 12th at 6:30pm GMT, Waterstones are hosting an online event to celebrate Angie Thomas’s Concrete Rose (Walker), with the author in conversation with the brilliant Darren Chetty. 


The Read For Empathy collection books were announced last week in the UK. 

The secondary school collection includes numerous books from indies: 

Clouds Cannot Cover Us by Jay Hulme (Troika)

The Last Paper Crane by Kerry Drewery (Hot Key)

Gloves Off by Louisa Reid (Guppy)

The Gone Book by Helena Close (Little Island)

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas (Walker)

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo (Hot Key)

Chinglish by Sue Cheung (Andersen)

ABA 2020 AND 2021 LISTS

The ABA 2020 and ABA 2021 Long Long Lists also include a ton of books from non-big 5 presses!

2020 list includes

The Darkest Scent by PM Freestone (Scholastic)

Alex in Wonderland by Simon James Green (Scholastic)

Under A Dancing Star by Laura Wood (Scholastic)

My Type On Paper by Chloe Seager (Scholastic)

Take A Chance On Me by Beth Garrod (Scholastic)

Heartstream by Tom Pollock (Walker)

Summerland by Lucy Adlington (Hot Key) 

Into The Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo (Hot Key) 

Throne of Swans by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr (Hot Key)

The Places I’ve Cried In Public by Holly Bourne (Usborne)

Beauty Sleep by Kathryn Evans (Usborne)

My Secret Lies With You by Faye Bird (Usborne)

Summer of No Regrets by Kate Mallinder (Firefly)

Tulip Taylor by Anna Mainwaring

Toffee by Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury)

I Hold Your Heart by Karen Gregory (Bloomsbury)

The M Word by Brian Conaghan (Bloomsbury)

The Colour of Shadows by Phyllida Shrimpton (Hot Key)

Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deidre Sulivan (Hot Key)

All The Things We Never Said by Yasmin Rahman (Hot Key)

2021 list includes

Hold Back The Tide by Melinda Salisbury (Scholastic)

Good Girls Die First by Kathryn Foxfield (Scholastic)

Heartbreak Boys by Simon James Green (Scholastic)

Wrecked by Louisa Reid (Guppy Books)

Song Beneath The Tides by Beverley Birch (Guppy Books)

Every Little Piece Of My Heart by Non Pratt (Walker)

Asking For A Friend by Kate Mallinder (Firefly Press)

Always Here For You by Miriam Halahmy (Zuntold)

We Are Blood And Thunder by Kesia Lupo (Bloomsbury)

After The War by Tom Palmer (Barrington Stoke)

The Last Paper Crane by Kerry Drewery (Hot Key)

Too Dark To See by Chloe Heuch (Firefly Press)

The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker by Lauren James (Walker)

The Pieces of Ourselves by Maggie Harcourt (Usborne)

Hideous Beauty by William Hussey (Usborne)

Midnight’s Twins by Holly Race (Hot Key)

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