Sunday 22 April 2018

Kiran Millwood Hargrave wins book prize with children's tale inspired by the Canary Islands

By Francesca Gosling

The young writer took some influence by acclaimed writer Philip Pullman

Kiran Millwood Hargrave has been named Waterstones Children’s Book Prize winner after wowing judges with her very first novel, The Girl Of Ink And Stars.

The former Cambridge and Oxford university student, 27, was complimented by judges for her “hugely imaginative” story, influenced by traditional tales of the Canary Islands and her own childhood travels to the volcanic island of La Gomera.

The Girl Of Ink And Stars follows the adventures of Isabella Riosse, daughter of a cartographer in the strictly ruled Island of Joya, who can only dream of the faraway places her father documented.

But when her best friend vanishes into a forbidden forest, Isabella takes matters into her own hands and joins the rescue mission.

Originally named The Cartographer’s Daughter, Kiran also took inspiration from Philip Pullman’s The Firework-Maker’s Daughter.

Florentyna Martin, buyer of children’s stories at Waterstones, said: “Our booksellers have assuredly chosen a writer who delivers the whole package: a beautifully written and hugely imaginative story with a strong and loveable protagonist and a page-turning plot.

“It is always exciting when we see this level of outstanding talent in a new writer and Kiran has crafted a mesmerising world full of myths, magic and adventure that evokes an atmosphere akin to Pullman’s His Dark Materials.”

Kiran was presented with a £5,000 prize as she was named winner of the younger fiction and overall book categories during a ceremony with Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell, in London on Thursday.

She follows in the footsteps of previous winners My Brother Is A Superhero by David Solomons, Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher and Artichoke Hearts by Sita Brahmachari.

The older fiction category was won this year by Patrice Lawrence’s east London-based story Orangeboy, while Lizzy Stewart’s There’s A Tiger In The Garden was named best illustrated book.

Press Association

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