After weeks of reading, discussing and reading some more, we have chosen a shortlist of five contenders for the 2010 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing. We were really impressed with the high standard of entries this year, and look forward to the continued growth of the prize, now in its third year.
And the shortlisted titles are…
Haunting the Dead, Tiffany Chapple
The Diamond Factory, Julie Harris-Spearritt
Breken Crossing, Jane Higgins
Youth Bytes, Stephen Turner
How to Talk to Girls, Philippa Werry
Congratulations to each of these authors! The winner will be announced at the Australian Booksellers' Association Conference in Brisbane on July 12, and on the Text website later that day. The winning book will be published by Text in mid-2011.
Read on to find out more about each of the shortlisted authors and their work.
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HAUNTING THE DEAD
Meredythe Jones is a seventeen-year-old necromancer. Growing up in the human world she’s had to hide her abilities, but now she’s been dragged into Faerie Land, where she finds herself caught between two princes, Armille and Mordred. Each prince tries to prove his right to the throne of their dead father before Meredythe raises the king to choose an heir. But Meredythe may have unleashed forces beyond her control…
About the author: Tiffany Chapple is in her third year of a Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in creative writing, at Queensland University of Technology.
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THE DIAMOND FACTORY
It isn’t easy being one of only two boys in Grade Four at Dry Gully Primary School. And things don’t get any easier when Gray realises he’s the only one who can see the great big slug stealing the toffees his class made for the school fete. When Gray finds a slug in his own backyard he discovers it has amazing abilities: not only does it grow rapidly overnight, but it poos diamonds! Gray knows if he kept the slug forever he’d be one rich kid. But the slugs just want to go home. Should Gray do the right thing—or solve his family’s problems?
About the author: Julie Harris-Spearritt has been published in Australia, USA, UK, Germany and France since 1992. She has been writing since the late 1970s and got her break in 1991 when her first novel was shortlisted in an Australian writing competition. Julie has also written for theatre and musical theatre.
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The year is 2199. As his city descends into war, sixteen-year-old Nik dreams of being chosen for the Intelligence Services—it’s either that or be conscripted to fight Breken hostiles over the river on Southside. He doesn’t know that the military has other plans for him. When his school is bombed and his young friend, Sol, is kidnapped by hostiles, Nik and Sol’s sister, Fyffe, track the kidnappers into the Southside slums. When Fyffe disappears, Nik infiltrates Breken high command in his hunt for her and Sol. There he discovers the truth about the hostiles, their uprising and his own past.
About the author: Jane Higgins is a research sociologist at Lincoln University, New Zealand. In her past, she has been a university lecturer as well as an amateur astronomer, dancer and musician. She continues to be a bookworm and bibliophile, especially of classic science fiction. She lives with her partner in Christchurch, NZ.
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Five smart and talented teenagers are brought together by a software millionaire to start an online youth news service. They have no choice in the matter—they might be smart, but they’re also in big trouble with the law in various ways. But the teenagers discover real trouble when an Aboriginal girl brings them the case of a cop who might just have murdered her brother. With no one else to turn to, and their own problems to deal with as well, each member of the team needs to step up and show what they’re made of: break the story, expose a corrupt cop, and stay alive while doing it.
About the author: Stephen Turner has been a writer since he could read, and has worked in journalism and editing, but now works with computers at a local high school. From Sydney originally, he’s escaped the rat race and now lives with his wife and three children in Coonabarabran.
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HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS
Sam Richmond’s mates all have exciting plans for the holidays. When Sam has to confess his own plans—going to visit his grandmother—his mates think it’s a great joke, and Sam is convinced he’s going to be bored out of his brain. But things turn out quite differently. For a start, there’s his mad-genius uncle, and there are mysteries to be solved: things that are missing, relationships that are fractured, and that other question that’s always at the back of Sam’s mind—how on earth do you talk to girls without going red, stammering, saying something stupid or doing all those things at once?
About the author: Philippa Werry has written many stories, plays, poems and articles for children. Her most recent novels are The Great Chocolate Cake Bake-off, Enemy at the Gate (shortlisted for the 2009 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards) and A Girl Called Harry. She lives in Wellington.