Young Quills Historical Fiction Awards 2013

November 19, 2013

images-1The Historical Association is now accepting books for the Young Quills Historical Fiction Awards 2013.  Books will be going out to schools for review in December. The winners will be announced in the spring. Reviews of books entered for the award will be posted on the HA website. Reviews of 2012 entries can be found at:

Publishers should send their entries to Alf Wilkinson, c/o 59a Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4JH.


The Young Quills Historical Fiction competition is held annually, in part to recognise good historical fiction writing, and in part to encourage youngsters to develop a love of history and a feel for the period they are studying. The Young Quills is, we think, unique in that it is the readers – young people – who decide the shortlist.

Why Young Quills?

One of the strengths of writing historical fiction is that historical knowledge can be learnt at any age and in many different ways, from real life testimony to fictional accounts. One of its weaknesses is that myths and untruths about historical events or people can be become just as accepted as real facts. That is why authors who write historical fiction and do it well should be acknowledged and promoted. If those authors also help capture the imagination of young audiences, making the past real and accessible they and their work should be celebrated.

That is the purpose behind the Young Quills, an award that is all about historical fiction that is enjoyed by young people. New publications of historical fiction written specifically for a younger audience are selected each year to be reviewed by young people themselves. From their reading and discussion two shortlists are made, the best of primary historical fiction and the best of secondary historical fiction

The Prize

This prize has two separate categories; Young Fiction (for under 11 year olds), and Older Children (11+years old). The selection procedure of the shortlist is believed to be unique as it is determined on reviews written by child reviewers in each category. Most importantly young people nominate, review and shortlist the publications they have enjoyed. Only then do adult judges get involved with the final decisions – just to make sure on historical accuracy and to bring together the views of the young reviewers.

In order to qualify for the shortlist the submitted works had to conform to two criteria:

  • That the children reviewers enjoyed the book and would recommend it.
  • That the review contained evidence that ‘the history was good’ and that the reviewer had both learnt something and was keen to find out more.

 The Young Judges

10 copies of each book are sent to primary or secondary schools across England and a Library Reading Group to review and shortlist the books.

Previous Winners

Previous winners include Jacqueline Wilson, Jill Harvey and Theresa Breslin  

Awards are made at the Historical Association Awards Evening in June.

Posted by Richard Lee