Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree was named 2015 book of the year at the Costa Book Awards in London on Tuesday night — the first children’s book to win the prize since Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass in 2001.
The Lie Tree, described by judges as a “multi-layered page-turner”, revolves around 14-year-old Faith, who lives in male-dominated Victorian society but has ambitions to study natural science, just like her father.
Hardinge, 42, said she was totally surprised by the win. “In the wider world sometimes children’s fiction is seen as a bit lightweight in a way that is not deserved”, she said. “The fact that it has been recognised is, from my point of view, completely lovely but from a less selfish point of view I would see this recognition of the wonderful work which is being done throughout in children’s and YA writing.There is a lot of exciting stuff going on and increasing awareness of diversity, there is some very interesting literature”.
The chair of judges, former bookseller James Heneage, said that although Hardinge’s book is very much aimed at teenage girls, it could also be enjoyed by adults. “It has so many great themes and works on so many levels. It is a richly multi-layered book and very clever”, he said.
The Lie Tree is available at Amazon, £6. While you’re there, why not pick up some more YA fiction? It’s not just for teenagers.