Young Writers Prize – The Shortlist!

After many weeks of reading, discussing, debating and deciding we have finally narrowed down the entries to the Guardian Hot Key Books Young Writers Prize into a short list of 10 entries, 5 into the 9-12 age category and 5 into the 13-19 age category (see our press release here). We are hugely excited about finding our final winners but in the meantime….

We have created infographics throughout the process of reading, long listing and short listing for you to compare and contrast. We are particularly pleased with the international scope of the competition!

Over 300 entries!

Over 300 entries!

The final 10!

The final 10!

The long list of 20

The long list of 20

The Finalists

We were absolutely blown away by the incredible quality of the submissions that we received – cutting them down to 20 was hard, 10 near impossible! But we are very pleased to introduce our final 10 young writers…

9-12 Short List

Jake Schiffler – Ozer and The Proots

jake photo

Jake is 20 years old and has lived in Seattle Washington all his life.
Jake is studying Environmental sciences and English at University, and this is his first attempt at writing for children.

Cassie Leung – A Jar of Magic

Cassie 1Cassie is 21, she teaches English in Japan. Aside from writing, she tries to catch up on the list of books that friends insist she will love and learn Japanese so that she knows what she is buying at the supermarket.

Heather Lawson – That’s Charming
Heather Lawson
Heather is 22 and lives in Fife, Scotland. Heather completed her first full length novel after trying out NaNoWriMo and has since written three more!

Cethan Leahy – Moor
Cethan 1
Cethan is 25 and is from Cork in Ireland. He has been writing fiction for many years and is also an avid film maker.

Kate Herrell – Ragamufffin

Kate HerrellKate Herrell is 22 and lives in Denver, Colorado.
Kate is an avid reader and loves acting, the theatre,  and the stage.


13-19 Finalists

Alexa Adams – Pamplona

Press Release Photo - Alexa AdamsAlexa Adams is 22 and is in the process of acquiring a Master of Science in Library Science from the University of Kentucky. She works in two different libraries and spends her time learning how to be the best possible YA librarian.

Catherine Queen – The Twain

Catherine MillerCatherine is 25 and a newly qualified English teacher living in London. After a degree in Classics at Oxford University she spent a year teaching in Greece, where she fell in love with the country!

Joe Ducie – The Rig

Joe DucieJoe is 24 and lives in Perth, Australia, although he is originally from Cumbria. Joe has a degree in Counter-terrorism, Security and Intelligence. He has also studied Creative and Professional Writing at Curtin University.

Katie Coyle – Vivian Versus the Apocolypse


Katie is 25, she grew up in a small suburban town in New Jersey. She has an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh.

Katie O’Neill – The Clock Eye Corporation

Katie_ONeill_PhotoKatie is 21, she was born in Christchurch, New Zealand and studied Japanese and English Literature at the University of Canterbury. She is passionate about stories and illustration.


We hope you enjoyed a brief introduction to our finalists – notice anything strange? Let’s put it this way… we think we have a bit of an ‘abundance of Katherines!’ You’ll be hearing a lot more from us, and from them – so stay tuned!

5 responses to “Young Writers Prize – The Shortlist!

  1. Pingback: The Unhelpful Guide to Not Understanding MOOR (My Hot Key Books/Guardian Young Writers Prize Entry) « Cethan Leahy

  2. Pingback: Exciting News « Catherine Queen

  3. Pingback: Shortlisted for the Hot Key Books & Guardian Young Writer’s Prize | Have Scotch, Will Write

  4. Congratulations to every one of the finalists. Very best wishes for ALL your writing careers. Can’t wait to read the winners work.
    Stan Mills

  5. Pingback: New website « Catherine Queen

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