Bath-based writer Jasbinder Bilan has been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2020, widely regarded as one of the most prestigious accolades for children’s books in the UK.
Bilan has been nominated in the Younger Fiction category for her novel Asha and the Spirit Bird.
Jasbinder said: “What makes the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize so special is that it’s voted for by the wonderful booksellers themselves, so I am thrilled and honoured to be shortlisted.
“There are so many amazing books out there, so I’m really thankful to be chosen.”
In Asha and the Spirit Bird, Bilan tells the story of Asha who lives in the foothills of the Himalayas. Money is tight and she misses her papa who works in the city.
Guided by a majestic bird which Asha believes to be the spirit of her grandmother, she and her best friend Jeevan embark on a journey to the city, across the Himalayas, to find her father and save her home.
Jasbinder Bilan graduated from Bath Spa University where the seeds of her story were nurtured. She now lives with her family in Bath and splits her time between teaching and writing.
Every year, Waterstones’ expert booksellers are called upon to vote for the books they believe are the very best in new children’s writing and illustration.
Now in its sixteenth year, the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize has become a formidable platform for emerging talent, demonstrating its enduring relevance by bringing the best new books to readers’ attention every year and launching the careers of many children’s book authors and illustrators.
Last year’s winner The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Raúf, Waterstones’ most successful winner yet, shot to the top of the bestseller charts following the Prize announcement and the novel saw an increase in sales of over 500%.
The shortlists consist of eighteen books across three categories. Six books will compete within each category to be crowned Category Winner, with the three category winners then vying for the overall title of Waterstones Children’s Book of the Year 2020.
The winners will be announced at an evening reception at Waterstones Piccadilly (London), Europe’s largest bookshop, on Thursday 26th March, 2020.
The winner of each category will receive £2000, with the Overall Winner receiving an extra £3000.
In the event that the Prize is awarded to a partnership, the prize money will be split equally between the joint winners.
The winning authors and illustrators will also see a significant boost in sales, and the promise of an ongoing commitment to their writing career from all Waterstones shops nationwide.