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Winners revealed for the FAB Prize 2019

2019 Faber Andlyn (FAB) Prize Awarded Jointly to Nadia Attia and Ayesha Braganza and to Sarah Christou and Simji Park.

Davinia Andrew-Lynch, Nadia Attia, Ayesha Braganza and Leah Thaxton.

Simji Park, Leah Thaxton, Davinia Andrew-Lynch and Sarah Christou. 

The Faber Andlyn BAME Prize for undiscovered writers and illustrators was announced at a reception for agents, media, 2019 shortlistees, past winners and invited guests at Faber & Faber on Tuesday September 24th 2019.

This year, the prize was judged Leah Thaxton, the Andlyn Agency’s Davinia Andrew-Lynch, author Polly Ho-Yen (The Boy in the Tower), illustrator John Aggs (Noughts and Crosses Graphic Novel) and Margaret Casely-Hayford CBE, alongside Faber’s Children’s Publisher, Faber Creative Director, Donna Payne and Children’s Art Director, Emma Eldridge.

In addition to the prize money and a generously donated membership for the Association of Illustrators, the winning illustrators will receive a private consultation with Davinia Andrew-Lynch, Donna Payne and Emma Eldridge, followed by a year of regular mentoring, plus a selection of Faber books. The winning author will receive a private consultation with Leah Thaxton and Davinia Andrew-Lynch, followed by a year of regular mentoring, plus a selection of Faber books.

BookTrust Represents will be offering support and promotion to all the awardees over the next 12 months. This includes opportunities to shadow already established authors and illustrators on school visits, and for all commended and highly commended awardees be guaranteed a place at a BookTrust Represents training workshop of their choosing.

The first prize for illustration was for the first time awarded jointly to Sarah Christou and Simji Park.

Sarah Christou has an MA in Screenwriting and attended the Children’s Book Illustration summer school at Anglia Ruskin University. Sarah has just completed the Faber Academy’s Writing A Novel course.

Simji Park is a freelance illustrator and animator from South Korea. She completed an MA in Animation from the Royal College of Art in 2017.

A Special Commendation has gone to María José Rodríguez Cano (María Coco) and Takae Mizutani. Maria is a Mexican illustrator who recently completed the MA in Children’s Book Illustration in Cambridge and Takae is a Japanese illustrator who graduated from Cambridge School of Art, was then commended for the FAB Prize in 2018 and now works as a freelance illustrator.

The first prize for authors was also jointly awarded for the first time to Nadia Attia, who has written We are the Dead, and Ayesha Braganza for A Girl Called Forest.

Nadia Attia is a journalist and film/TV script reader. She has completed a Curtis Brown novel-writing course and has had short stories published in the City of Stories anthology, Star Songs (bedtime stories) and Luna Station Quarterly. She is a recipient of the London Writers Awards.

Ayesha Braganza has won or been placed in a number of national writing competitions. A lawyer in a previous incarnation, she now shares books through her ‘Book Explorer’ workshops in school libraries. She also supports children’s literacy projects through Doorstep Library and Home-Start.

Special Commendations have gone to Sai Pathmanathan for The Poetic Wisdom Of The Taste Buds, Ten The Gioi for The Constellation of the Red Scorpion and Jhardine Love for Binky, the Truggles and the Triplet.

Sai Pathmanathan used to be a neuroscientist but moved into science communication and education. She also designs greeting cards and gifts when not writing.

Ten The Gioi is a Chinese Vietnamese writer. She graduated from the University of York with a BA in English Literature and currently works in London in digital marketing.

Jhardine Love is a Montserration and Kittian award-winning poet, lyricist and writer.

Shortlistees/Highly Commended in both categories are: Tara Marron, Zoe Logan, Sheraz Arif, Sumana Seeboruth, Olivia Duchess and Muj Shah. In addition, Chiu-hsuan Huang, Sunita Chawdhary, Adrianne Rutherford, Sital Gorasia Chapman, Davina Tijani, Tola Okogwu, Erica Jo Kingsley and Mina Patria were commended for their entries.

Leah Thaxton said: This year, we found the judging an especially hard task: the quality and range of submissions on the shortlist has led us to two sets of joint winners – we admire them all hugely and predict projects for all four in the near future. Sarah Christou has a gorgeously confident line, upbeat and modern but classic too, with a nod to Nick Sharratt but clearly in a league of her own. Simji Park has a stunning texture to her work reminiscent of Maurice Sendak, and a stillness that gives it a unique charisma all of its own. Nadia Attia is an urgent new voice for YA, arresting and absorbing, the storytelling felt effortless and Ayesha Braganza has a purity of voice and vision we found bewitching. Poignant but humorous, and most of all, thrilling.


FAB Prize alumni:

Since the 2017 inauguration of the prize, the previous entrants have gone on to great successes. Faber themselves made one signing from the competition, picture book My Hair from Hannah Lee and Allen Fatimaharan, which published this month. In addition numerous other winners, as well as Highly Commended and Commended entries, have been involved in a myriad of exciting projects.

Since last year there have been a number of major publication deals, including seven deals for Rashmi Sirdeshpande, whose first book, How To Be Extraordinary, has just been published by Puffin, six non-fiction Ladybird titles from Yvonne Battle-Felton, a picture book illustrated by Junli Song entitled Cherry Moon and a middle-grade mystery from Arathi Menthon, published in India. Kereen Getten’s middle grade novel The Last Girl on Sycamore Hill was one of the hottest books in Bologna and is being published by Pushkin Press in 2021 in the UK, following a four way auction, and by Delacorte (Penguin Random House) in the US in a major six figure pre-empt. And last but not least Poonam Mistry has four picture book deals and her first picture book, You’re Safe With Me, was shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal.

Poonam is not the only prize-nominated alumni, Junli Song has been selected for the Bologna Fiere 2018 exhibition, shortlisted for the V&A awards in the student category and longlisted for the House of Illustration/Folio Society Book Illustration Competition. Burhana Islam has been granted a Society of Author’s award, Christine Lalla’s screenplay Catching Rocks was a quarterfinalist in the 2018 Academy Nicholl Fellowship and Monica Parle is one of the London Library’s Emerging Writers.


Numerous entrants commented on how much they valued the network of writers and illustrators built up through entering the FAB prize – each supporting each other’s endeavours.