Awards and Prizes in the UK and abroad

Awards and Prizes in the UK

Booktrust's Best Book Awards

The Best Book Awards seek to unearth the very best children's books the UK has to offer, and honour authors and illustrators who continue Britain's proud heritage of storytelling.

The awards are aimed at children of pre-school age to 14 and have ten awards across five categories including; picture books, fiction, non-fiction, humour and digital. There is also a lifetime achievement award for an influential children's writer or illustrator.

Children are invited to read the books, take part in activities, and vote for their favourites online. 

The Branford Boase Award 

The Branford Boase Award was set up to reward the most promising new 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 novelist.

The CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals 

The CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals are the UK's oldest and most prestigious children's book awards. 

  • The CILIP Carnegie Medal is awarded by children's librarians for an outstanding book for children and young people. 
  • The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded by children's librarians for an outstanding book in terms of illustration for children and young people.

CILIP run a shadowing scheme for both medals, engaging thousands of children and young people in reading the books on the shortlist. 

The Commonword Children’s Diversity Writing Prize

The Commonword Children’s Diversity Writing Prizewelcomes submissions from unpublished children’s authors whose writing embraces ethnic diversity either through their own ethnicity and culture and/or in their writing.

 

Costa Children’s Book Award 

Since their launch in 1971, the awards have rewarded a wide range of excellent books written by authors based in the UK and Ireland. Uniquely, the prize has five categories – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children's Book with one of the five winning books selected as the overall Costa Book of the Year. It is the only prize which places children’s books alongside adult books in this way.

The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize

The prize was founded in 1967 and is awarded annually to fiction written for children aged eight and above. It is the only children’s fiction award selected by fellow writers. The winning author receives a cheque for £1,500. 

Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize

The Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize aims to recognise the achievements of young translators at the start of their careers. The prize is open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 34, with no restriction on country of residence. It was launched in 2010 as part of Harvill Secker’s centenary celebrations, and is an annual prize, which focuses on a different language each year.

The Little Rebels Award 

The Little Rebels Award for the best radical fiction for children aged 0-12 is given by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers and administered by Letterbox Library. The award is designed to recognise a rich tradition of radical publishing for children in the UK.

Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation

The Award is presented biennially and recognises the best translation into English of a children's book published within the previous two years.

The purpose of the Award is to celebrate the best translation of a children’s book from a foreign language into English, thereby promoting children’s literature across different cultures, making great stories more accessible to young readers. It also highlights the important role of the translator, who can often be overlooked.

Red House Children’s Book Award 

This is the only national book award voted for entirely by children. There are three categories: Younger Children, Younger Readers and Older Readers. 

The Roald Dahl Funny Prize

The Roald Dahl Funny Prize was launched by Booktrust in 2008 in association with Michael Rosen, Children’s Laureate 2007–2009. It aims to promote laughter and humour as a feel-good factor when reading, to draw attention to funny books as readable and enjoyable books, and to reward authors and illustrators who write and illustrate books using humour.

The Prize has two categories - funniest book for children aged six or below and the other for seven to fourteen. The winner of each category receives £2,500.

The Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize 

Publishers across the UK submit their best recent books that communicate science to young people. An adult shortlisting panel narrows down the choice to a shortlist of six books. The winning book is selected by groups of young people from schools and youth groups around the UK. These groups together form a judging panel that looks at all the shortlisted books and chooses a winner.

School Library Association Information Book Award

The SLA Information Book Award is an annual event – and a major development for information books – designed to support school libraries and to reinforce the importance of non-fiction whilst highlighting the high standard of resources available.

The UKLA Book Award

The UKLA Book Award is unique as it is the only national book award selected by teachers from both the primary and secondary sectors.

The United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA) is a registered charity, which has as its sole object the advancement of education in literacy. For UKLA, giving classroom practitioners the opportunity to read a number of new children’s books is as important as finding an overall winner. Research carried out by members of UKLA (Cremin et al 2008) clearly demonstrated the links between teachers’ knowledge of children’s books and the likelihood of pupils becoming successful readers. 

The Muslim Writers Awards

The Muslim Writers Awards seeks to encourage and support young writers to become the confident communicators of tomorrow. MWA provide the platform which young writers can use to harness their skills, investing in their writing talent and turning it into a long-term interest kept up way into the future.

Poetry Awards for Young Writers

The Basil Bunting Poetry Award

The Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts (NCLA) launched a new Basil Bunting award in 2012 – the Young People’s Poetry Award with categories for 10-14 year olds and 14-18 year olds.

The John Betjeman Poetry Competition for Young People 

The John Betjeman Poetry Competition for Young People  was founded in 2006 to commemorate John Betjeman through encouraging children to read, write and be inspired by poetry. The competition is open to young people, aged 10-13 living in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. The winner receives £1000 (£500 to the winner and £500 to the English department of his or her school). 

Christopher Tower Poetry Competition

Established in 2000, the Tower Prizes are recognised as among the most prestigious literary awards for young people. The Christopher Tower Poetry Competition is the UK’s most valuable prize for young poets. The first prize is £3,000, with £1,000 and £500 going to the second and third prize winners. In addition to individual prizes, the students’ schools and colleges receive cash prizes of £150.  

Entrants are required to be least 16 years of age and under 19 years of age. They must be in full or part-time education at a school, college or other educational institution in the UK. Students enrolled on higher-education courses are not eligible to enter the competition. Entries must be no more than 48 lines in length and only one entry per student is allowed.

Foyles Young Poets of the Year Award

The Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award is open to all young writers aged 11–17. Poems can be on any theme and of any length, and it is free to enter. With over 7,000 young people entering the competition each year it is one of the largest of its kind. 

International Awards and Prizes

The Caldecott Medal (USA)

The Caldecott Medal was named in honour of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children, published by an American publisher in the United States in English during the preceding year. There are no limitations as to the character of the picture book except that the illustrations are original work. ‘Honor Books’ are also truly distinguished. The award is restricted to artists who are citizens or residents of the United States. Books published in a US territory or US commonwealth are eligible.

 

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards (USA)

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.  The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.
 

The Newbery Medal (USA)

The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children, published by an American publisher in the United States in English during the preceding year. There are no limitations as to the character of the book considered except that is original work. ‘Honor Books’ are also truly distinguished. The award is restricted to authors who are citizens or residents of the United States.

The Pura Belpré Award (USA)

The Pura Belpré Award, established in 1996, is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.