The Scottish Teenage Book Prize 2018: Meet the Authors

The Scottish Teenage Book Prize is a great project to help you inspire teenagers to read for pleasure. The format is simple: teenagers read the three shortlisted books, discuss them, and vote for their favourite. It's one vote per pupil, and the winner is entirely decided by Scotland's teens. With fantastic competitions to enter and a learning resource to help teachers and librarians use the books to plan fun activities, taking part in the prize is truly something to look forward to each year!

First up, let's meet the shortlisted authors and find out more about their books. Don't forget you can check out our author videos too!

Caighlan Smith

Caighlan Smith
At the age of 22, Caighlan already has five novels under her belt, which makes us feel wholly inadequate. Thanks, Caighlan. She hails from Canada and is an accomplished writer of all things fantasy, having been fascinated by mythical stories and creatures from an early age. 

Children of Icarus is a dystopian novel loosely based on the myth of Icarus. It tells the story of a teenager who is chosen to enter a labyrinth as part of a hallowed tradition in her home land. The labyrinth quickly turns out to be a terrifying odyssey, with the threat of death at the hands of a cast of horrific monsters. With echoes of The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner but with a love of mythology at its core, Children of Icarus is a totally gripping and visceral read.

Elizabeth Laird

Elizabeth Laird, image by Anne Mortensen
Elizabeth is a renowned novelist and winner of numerous prizes for children's fiction. She loves to travel, as you'll see from her website, and her books are frequently set on foreign shores. Recently shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie medal for her children's novel The Fastest Boy in the World, Elizabeth is back with Welcome to Nowhere, a hard-hitting but heart-warming book about the Syrian conflict. 

Welcome to Nowhere tells the story of Omar, a twelve-year-old Syrian boy, and his family, who are forced to relocate when the conflict threatens their happy existence in the city of Bosra. The novel places us right at the heart of the experience of refugees and pulls no punches in its portrayal of the hardships they face. It's also a beautiful story about family, and makes for an unforgettable reading experience which you and your pupils will love.

Danny Weston

Danny Weston
Danny Weston loves a good ghost story, and he writes them very well too. He won the Scottish Children's Book Award* in 2016 for The Piper, and he returns with The Haunting of Jessop Rise, another tale which requires the lights on at all times.

Danny Weston is, in fact, the pen name of Philip Caveney. Philip began writing life as an author of adult fiction, but has been enthralling and terrifying young people with his books since 2007. 

The Haunting of Jessop Rise tells the story of William, a fourteen-year-old orphan who is sent to live with his mysterious uncle Seth in the family home on Jessop Rise. Upon arrival, William immediately feels that there's something awry with both Seth and the austere surroundings of Jessop Rise, but he has little idea the ugly and frightening secrets he's about to uncover. It's another fantastic book from Philip/Danny, but he absolves himself from responsibility if you can't sleep for a few nights afterwards.

So there you have it! Don't forget to check out the resources and videos, as well as our fantastic competitions to create comics and book trailers. We can't wait to see which book you and your class decide is the best Scottish teen book of this year!

Image of Elizabeth Laird by Anne Mortensen.

*The Scottish Teenage Book Prize was formerly known as the Scottish Children's Book Awards.