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Catherine Fisher wins the Tir na n-Og children’s literature award with The Clockwork Crow

Huge congratulations to Catherine Fisher after her magical story of snow and stars, The Clockwork Crow, landed the Tir na n-Og children’s literature award last night (16 May) in a prestigious event held at the School of Journalism, Media and Culture, Cardiff University as part of the CILIP Wales Conference. And congratulations too to fellow Firefly author Eloise Williams, shortlisted for her novel Seaglass

Since its inception in 1976 the Welsh Books Council has annually celebrated the best English-language title with an authentic Welsh background.
 
The Clockwork Crow is a gripping tale of enchantment and belonging, set in a frost-bound mansion in snowy mid-Wales, When Seren Rhys is given a newspaper parcel by a stranger late at night in a freezing Victorian train station, she has no idea of what trouble it contains.  
 
Catherine Fisher is an acclaimed poet and children’s author who lives in Newport. She graduated from the University of Wales with a degree in English and has worked in education and archaeology and as a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Glamorgan. She is a Fellow of the Welsh Academy and in 2013 was appointed the inaugural Young People’s Laureate for Wales.
 
Catherine has won many awards and received much critical acclaim for her work including the 1995 Tir Na n-Og Award for The Candleman. The Clockwork Crow was the winner of Wales Arts Review's Welsh Books for Young People 2018 and was shortlisted for this year’s Blue Peter Book Awards. 
 
Sioned Jacques, Chair of the Tir na n-Og English-language Panel, noted 'This novel was considered by the panel to be imaginative, beautifully descriptive, captivating and derivative of many classic titles such as C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia. Yet it is still unique and typical of the high quality expected from an exceptionally talented author such as Catherine Fisher.'
 
She added 'The main character is written in such a way as to make the reader want to be her and to feel empathy for her. It is well-edited with beautiful illustrations and contains some wonderfully atmospheric descriptions of the Welsh countryside.'
 
Catherine Fisher said, 'I'm delighted to win the Tir na n-Og Prize. The Clockwork Crow is a novel that uses Welsh folklore and is set in a Welsh landscape. But I also hope that, as all imaginative fiction should, it will appeal to all readers everywhere.'
 
According to Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Welsh Books Council, 'All the titles shortlisted for this year’s Tir na n-Og award were of an exceptionally high standard, reflecting the quality of books available for children and young adults at present. It is with great pleasure that we warmly congratulate Catherine Fisher and Firefly Press on their achievement.'
 

The Tir na n-Og English-language Award – which recognises the exceptional quality of books with a Welsh background for children and young adults – is sponsored annually by CILIP Wales. 
 
The event began with an entertaining panel discussion in the company of all shortlisted authors and chaired by broadcaster and author Lucy Owen (author of The Sea House). A crew of avid young readers were invited to quiz the authors as part of this year’s shadowing scheme. Free resource packs were also available online so that schools could adopt the role of unofficial judges. 
 
The winning titles in the primary and secondary Welsh-language categories will be revealed on 30 May at the 2019 Cardiff and the Vale Urdd National Eisteddfod at The Millennium Centre, Cardiff. 
 
English-language shortlist:
 
Seaglass – Eloise Williams (Firefly Press) Lark struggles to settle when her family moves to a new site on the coast. A lively and engaging read.
Wales on the Map – Elin Meek, Valériane Leblond (Rily) A lavishly illustrated picture atlas that showcases the best Wales has to offer. 
The Clockwork Crow – Catherine Fisher (Firefly Press) A gripping tale of enchantment and belonging, set in a frost-bound mansion in snowy mid-Wales, from a master storyteller. 
The Storm Child – Gill Lewis (Oxford University Press) A beautifully illustrated adaptation of the Welsh legend of Cantre’r Gwaelod.
 

Firefly Authors at YALC

We are delighted to announce that two Firefly authors will be appearing at YALC this year, part of the London Film and Comic Con 26 - 28 July 2019.  Kate Mallinder (Summer of No Regrets) and Anna Mainwaring (Tulip Taylor) will be on the Friday panel, with Sabina Khan, Clare Rees and Dan Freedman.  We can't wait!  More information and tickets HERE

Flight takes off

We are over the moon that WW2 adventure MG novel Flight by Vanessa Harbour and edited by Janet Thomas has been longlisted for the prestigious Branford Boase Award 2019 and shortlisted for the Sheffield Children's Book Awards 2019.

The Branford Boase Award was set up to reward the most promising new children's writers and their editors, as well as to reward excellence in writing and in publishing. The Award is made annually to the most promising book for seven year-olds and upwards by a first time children's novelist. The short list will be published on the 1st of May, 2019. The winner will be announced on 3rd July at a ceremony in London. 

If Jakob sneezed, he could die.

Austria 1945. After losing his family, Jakob shelters with Herr Engel in a rural stable, where they hide the precious Lipizzanner stallions they know Hitler wants to steal. When a German officer comes looking for Jakob and finds the horses, Jakob and his guardian know they must get the stallions to safety, but the only way is straight through Nazi territory.
 
Joined by Kizzy, an orphan Roma girl, the three must guide the horses across the perilous Austrian mountains. Will they reach safety? What will be waiting for them on the other side?
 
Praise for Flight:
 
New Statesman's Best Children’s Books of Summer 2018
 
South Wales Evening Post Children's Book of the Week
 
‘You know from the first page that you are in the hands of a great storyteller’ James Nicol
 
‘A powerful, page-turning, unforgettable adventure... I loved it!’ Cathy Cassidy
 
‘the perfect ingredients of horses, an exciting and engaging plot, believable characters and that little sprinkle of magic writing which I know will make it a huge success.’ Lucy Coats
 
‘This is enchanting storytelling with character at the heart, in a historic setting, with timeless values, and very much reminiscent of the classic assuredness of Morpurgo.’ Vashti Hardy
 
‘An exciting addition to the war story canon.’ Charlotte Eyre, The Bookseller
 
'I absolutely love this book! It's a stunningly good adventure story with all the big heart, sharp style and fast pace of a classic children's novel.' Amanda Craig

 

Firefly Set to Soar

We are very excited to announce that we have teamed up with entrepreneur Robin Bennett of Quarto Translations in an investment deal which will boost our award-winning list of children’s and young adult titles. 

Robin Bennett has founded more than a dozen successful businesses including publishers’ translation specialists, Quarto Translations, and has now come on board with Firefly as Commercial Director.

“I think Firefly has huge potential and we’ll be looking to build step by step on its core business of producing excellent MG and YA fiction that children want to read,” he said. “We will also be looking at future opportunities including translated books and foreign rights sales.”
 
Publisher Penny Thomas said:  “We are delighted to welcome Quarto Translations on board, and to have Robin Bennett working with us; I know we will benefit hugely from his experience and enthusiasm. 
 
“Firefly has come a long way in six years, with the invaluable support of the Welsh Books Council, our wonderful authors, directors, staff and freelance team and many others. We will now be able to underpin this success and take it to the next level in what is a challenging, but hugely exciting and rewarding business. 
 
“We have a strong backlist and an incredible line-up of books and authors going forward, including forthcoming titles from Shoo Rayner, Jennifer Killick, Catherine O’Flynn, Horatio Claire, Catherine Fisher, Jon Blake and Eloise Williams, and so a great deal to look forward to.”
 
Firefly Press and Quarto Translations can be found on Stand 1D49 in the Children’s Hall at the London Book Fair, March 12th – 14th. 
 
Firefly will also be represented on the Wales stand 5C129 at LBF; and part of a Wales presence at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, April 1st – 4th with the support of the British Council Wales. You can find us on the Publisher’s Association Collective Stand 25 B 84. Come and see us!
 
We are represented by Bounce Sales & Marketing, and by Margot Edwards Rights Consultancy for rights enquiries. 
 
We also have a new HQ at D.20, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cyncoed Road, Cardiff CF23 6XD.