Authors

Meet the 2017 shortlisted authors


Born in 1959 to a Dutch family with Persian roots, Laurence Anholt spent his early years in Holland. He trained as a painter at Falmouth School of Art where he met his wife, the artist, Catherine Anholt. Laurence went on to take a Master’s Degree in Fine Art at the Royal Academy in London.

The Anholts have produced more than 200 children’s books, which have been translated into 30 languages. Their titles have won numerous awards including the Nestlé Smarties Gold Award on two occasions. Many of their books are written by Laurence and illustrated by Catherine, but Laurence has written for several other artists including Arthur Robins and Tony Ross, and in addition, he self-illustrates his Anholt’s Artists series, an introduction to great art for young children.


Queen of Teen 2014 Juno Dawson is the multi award-winning author of six novels for young adults.

Juno also wrote the bestselling non-fiction guide to life for young LGBTQ+ people, THIS BOOK IS GAY. In 2016 a follow-up, MIND YOUR HEAD, featured everything a young person needs to know about mental health.

Juno’s titles have received rave reviews and have been translated into more than ten languages around the world.

Juno grew up in West Yorkshire, writing imaginary episodes of Doctor Who. She later turned her talent to journalism, interviewing luminaries such as Steps and Atomic Kitten before writing a weekly serial in a Brighton newspaper. In 2015, Juno announced her intention to undergo gender transition and live as a woman.

Juno writes full time and lives in Brighton. In her spare time, she STILL loves Doctor Who and is a keen follower of horror films and connoisseur of pop music.


Alan Gibbons has been writing children’s books for twenty three years. He is the winner of the Blue Peter Book Award 2000 ‘The book I couldn’t put down’ for his best-selling book Shadow of the Minotaur. He was a judge of the 2001 Awards.

His books have been published in Japanese, German, Italian, French, Thai, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Swedish and other languages.

Alan was a teacher for 16 years, working with KS1, KS2 and KS3. He has made numerous visits to schools and libraries, colleges and education conferences in the UK and overseas, speaking at the AISA and ECIS conferences in Nairobi and Istanbul.


Before becoming a mum to her three sons, Lisa was a secondary school English teacher and loved inspiring teenagers to read.

Lisa Heathfield launched her writing career with Seed, her stunning YA debut about a cult. Paper Butterflies, her second novel is beautiful and heart-breaking. Her third novel Flight of a Starling will be published in 2017 by Egmont.

Lisa lives in Brighton.


Tamsyn Murray was born in Cornwall in the Chinese Year of the Rat. This makes her charming, creative and curious (on a good day) but also selfish, restless and impatient (v. v. bad day).

After moving around a lot when she was growing up, she now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband, daughter and son. At least her body does. Her mind tends to prefer imaginary places and wanders off whenever it can but that’s not necessarily a bad thing in a writer.

Tamsyn writes everything from picture books to YA. She teaches City University’s Writing for Children course in London. She loves hearing funny stories but advises people to be very careful what they say to her, especially if she has a pen in her hand…


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