Clare Flynn and Jemma Hatt are the winners of the Selfies Book Awards for 2020: Flynn won the adult category with her historical love story The Pearl of Penang, while Hatt took home the children’s prize with her middle-grade adventure The Adventurers and the Cursed Castle. Both authors received a £1000 prize at the online ceremony on Monday, 30th March.

Clare Flynn’s The Pearl of Penang, winner of the adult fiction category
Jemma Hatt’s The Adventurers and the Cursed Castle, winner of the children’s category

The ceremony was originally intended to take place during the London Book Fair, but was rescheduled following the fair’s cancellation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Hosted by BookBrunch md Jo Henry, the ceremony took place on Zoom and was attended not only by the authors but their friends and family members from across the world. Robin Cutler of IngramSpark, one of the judges, emphasised that IngramSpark was fully operational as an ‘essential business’. She also praised the quality of the submissions, adding that the judges had found it hard to pick a winner.

Henry and Scott Pack of Unbound sat alongside Cutler on the judging panel for the adult prize, while Jill Coleman, director of children’s books at BookTrust, author Ken Wilson-Max, and Moon Lane Ink CIC bookseller Meera Ghanshamdas made up the judging panel for the children’s prize.

The first Selfies Award was presented to Jane Davis for her eighth self-published novel, Smash All the Windows, at LBF in March 2019. Davis also attended this year’s award ceremony, giving a short speech in which she underlined the importance of a prize that awards book production and book production standards as well as story. She also spoke about the role of a self-published author, emphasising the importance of building trust in your audience so that they become return customers, and concluded: “I look forward to the day when indie authors will be judged against their traditionally published peers.”

This year’s children’s prize shortlist was:
The Adventurers and the Cursed Castle by Jemma Hatt
Vlad and the Space Race by Kate Cunningham and illustrated by Sam Cunningham
Grandad’s Fish-pond by John Carter, illustrated by Keith Phelpstead
The Wonder Girls by Jan Carr
The Little Cockroach by Susie Violet, illustrated by Alex Patrick
The Christmas Tree Wish by Karen Inglis, illustrated by Anne Swift

The shortlist for the adult fiction prize was:
Going Up by AE Radley
Jaffle Inc by Heide Goody and Iain Grant
Katharina Fortitude by Margaret Skea
Secrets at St Brides by Debbie Young
Notes from the Lost by Cathie Hartigan
The Pearl of Penang by Clare Flynn

Hatt thanked her cover designer Andrew Smith and editor Amanda Horan, and a ‘shocked’ Flynn – whose brother was able to attend the ceremony from Australia – followed suit as she thanked her editor Debi Alper and cover designer Jane Dixon-Smith.