New judge: BBC presenter Katie Derham joins Oscar's Book Prize 2018 as a judge (Photo: Evening Standard)
BBC presenter Katie Derham joins the judging panel for Oscar’s Book Prize 2018.
The £5,000 award seeks to find the best book published in 2017 for children aged five or under. It was set up in memory of Oscar Ashton and pays tribute to his love of stories and children’s imagination. HRH Princess Beatrice, a judge for the prize in 2016, is patron.
Derham, 47, who has two children, said: “Reading books to, and with, children has been one of my greatest joys. Now my girls are 17 and 12 they love passing on their favourites to their little cousins. I am thrilled to support Oscar’s Book Prize and have the chance to immerse myself in the best new books out there for little ones.”
Julia Eccleshare, a children’s book editor and editorial advisor for the website Lovereading4kids, is also new to the judging panel. She said: “I am delighted to be a judge of Oscar’s Book Prize this year. Already it has made a significant contribution in recognising the importance of books in entertaining even the youngest children and developing their young minds. That is what the best children’s writers and illustrators do. I never tire of discovering brilliant new authors and illustrators and can’t wait to get stuck into all the books that are going to be submitted for this wonderful prize.”
Derham and Eccleshare are joined by Brigitte Ricou-Bellan, director of books at Amazon UK, which, together with the National Literacy Trust, is supporting the prize for the second year running. The Evening Standard has supported the prize since its inception.
As in previous years, Oscar’s parents James Ashton and Viveka Alvestrand are also judges. They said: “Oscar’s Book Prize began in 2014 as a simple commemoration of our son. Going into our fifth year and thanks to the work of a dedicated team of supporters we have built an award that has been embraced by publishers, authors and illustrators, as well as parents, for whom reading with their young children is as important to their development as it should be enjoyable.”
George Osborne, editor of the Evening Standard, said: “Oscar’s Book Prize celebrates that greatest literary achievement – a book for young children that stays in our memories – and commemorates a young boy, Oscar, who never leaves our memories.”
Publishers are invited to submit up to five entries each for the 2018 prize, up from three previous years. Entry forms and rules can be found here. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on May 14. The closing date for submission is 5PM on March 16, 2018.