Ampersand Shortlist Acquisitions 2020

21 Aug 2020 | Hardie Grant Books

Ampersand Prize acquires additional shortlisted titles for publication.

Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing is thrilled to announce that we have acquired two additional titles from the Ampersand Prize 2020 shortlist: Completely Normal (and Other Lies) by Biffy James and We Who Hunt the Hollow by Kate Murray, which will now join our 2022 publishing list.

Completely Normal (and Other Lies) follows sixteen-year-old Stella Cash in the aftermath of the sudden death of popular student Isaac Calder. The tragedy sends the whole school into a spiral of grief, with students rallying around the girlfriend and friends he left behind. But nobody knows Stella was secretly in love with Isaac – and he loved her back.

Meanwhile, We Who Hunt the Hollow is set in a wild near-future of risen seas, acid storms and beasts from beyond our universe. Seventeen-year-old Priscilla Daalman is desperate to become a legendary monster hunter like the rest of her family, but her frightening new superpower has other plans.

‘These two very different stories encapsulate what we love about YA,’ says Senior Editor Luna Soo. ‘In each one there’s a roller coaster of raw emotion; sharp observations about people and society; love, lust and complex friendships; loads of character growth; and, most importantly, great storytelling that will keep you reading well into the night.’

Both Biffy and Kate are excited to join the HGCP family. ‘The Ampersand Prize is such an amazing opportunity for anyone who has a YA story to tell, especially if they're anything like me and need that very helpful deadline to make them actually sit down and write it,’ says Biffy James. ‘I’m so thrilled and grateful to publisher Marisa Pintado and Luna Soo and everyone at Hardie Grant for letting me finally say that I'm about to become a really-truly real-life published author!’

Kate Murray adds, ‘I'm thrilled to be working with the team at Hardie Grant Children's Publishing to bring Priscilla's story to life – this is an absolute dream come true. I can't wait to introduce the world to my ambitious superhero, her snarky mouse, and her family of kickass warrior women.’

The 2020 Ampersand Prize featured particularly exceptional submissions, and was ultimately won by H.S. Valley for her YA novel Tim Te Maro and the Subterranean Heartsick Blues. It follows sworn enemies Tim Te Maro and Elliott Parker, who are in their final year at a boarding school for magical students. The boys team up to do the big egg-baby assignment as a way to get back at their exes – and find something more than spite might be blooming between them.

Advanced reading copies of Tim Te Maro and the Subterranean Heartsick Blues are now available and can be requested via Lauren Draper, Marketing and Publicity Manager: laurendraper@hardiegrant.com