guppy-single-mono copy Guppy Books


On Friday last week, the judges and I met on Zoom to discuss the shortlisted titles for the 2021 Guppy Middle Grade Open Submission – and I am thrilled to announce that the winner of this year’s competition is James Dixon with his atmospheric, evocative and moving novel, THE BILLOW MAIDEN. And the very worthy runner-up is Carrie Sellon, with her wonderfully funny and sparkling, PIZZA PETE AND THE PERFECTLY BONKERS PIZZA PLACE.

It is so heartening to see so much talent around in the midde-grade writing world. The shortlisted novels were so broad in scope and theme, with some fabulous concepts and writing. To reach the last 10 out of 300 is no mean feat, so congratulations to all the shortlisted authors: Zareena Subhani, Sarah House, Emily Randall, Amy Feest, Olu Oke, Sam Oaten and Cathryn Norriss.

A huge thank you to the awesome panel of judges this year – librarian Jenny Jones, teacher Rich Simpson, editor Adamma Okonkwo and editor/author Linda Sargent. Their expertise and love of children’s books was absolutely invaluable to the process, and I’m grateful for their time and energy when they are all so busy. Also, to the wonderful Fern Tolley who helped with the longlist, and the students from the Publishing Course at Oxford Brookes University for their help with the initial submissions.

And finally, HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to James and Carrie!