Annabel Pitcher also won the Best Book for Teens category earlier in the evening, before being crowned the overall winner of the prize this year. Last year, Annabel Pitcher was shortlisted in the same category for My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece.
The teenage protagonist of Ketchup Clouds reveals a terrible secret through a sequence of letters to a condemned murderer in a Texan jail. The idea was inspired by the author’s own experiences of writing to a death row prisoner as a teen.
Melissa Cox, Children’s New Titles Buyer for Waterstones praised the winner: “It may not sound the most obvious subject for a teen bestseller – a girl writing to a condemned prisoner confessing her own dark secret – but Ketchup Clouds is a classic coming of age story featuring death, betrayal and redemption. Annabel Pitcher’s handling of the subject is beautifully wrought and peppered with humour, layering the everyday teen experience with the extraordinary and traumatic. It’s an unsettling yet fantastically fresh and brave take on the teen confessional. Pitcher is a genuine literary star.”
The Waterstones Children’s Book Prize was created to reward and champion new and emerging talent in children’s writing. It is unique in that it is voted for solely by booksellers across the country. Now in its ninth year, the Prize consists of three categories, to reflect the breadth of quality in children’s books: Best Picture Book; Best Fiction for 5-12s; and Best Book for Teens.
The winner of Best Fiction for 5-12s is Wonder, a debut novel by US author, R J Palacio.
The winner of Picture Book is Lunchtime by Rebecca Cobb triumphed in the Picture Book category with Lunchtime.
As category winners, Annabel Pitcher, R J Palacio and Rebecca Cobb each received a cheque for £2,000. As the overall winner, Annabel Pitcher is awarded a further £3,000. The winning authors will see a significant boost in sales, and the promise of an ongoing commitment to their writing career from over 280 Waterstones bookshops nationwide.
- Lunchtime by Rebecca Cobb (Macmillan Children’s Books)
- Rabbityness by Jo Empson (Child’s Play)
- Oh No George! by Chris Haughton (Walker)
- The Worst Princess by Anna Kemp & Sara Ogilvie (Simon & Schuster)
- The Journey Home by Frann Preston-Gannon (Pavilion Children’s Books)
- Can You See Sassoon? by Sam Usher (Little Tiger Press)
- The Wolf Princess by Cathryn Constable (Chicken House)
- Atticus Claw Breaks the Law by Jennifer Gray (Faber and Faber)
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio (Random House Children’s Books)
- The Secret Hen House Theatre by Helen Peters (Nosy Crow)
- The Chronicles of Egg: Deadweather and Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey (Puffin)
- Barry Loser: I Am Not A Loser by Jim Smith (Egmont)
- Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (Random House Children’s Books)
- Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt (Egmont)
- Insignia by S.J. Kincaid (Hot Key Books)
- Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Bloomsbury Children’s)
- Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher (Indigo)
- Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind by Andy Robb (Little Tiger Press)