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Waterstones Book Prize – Bath Spa University

Mel Darbon nominated for children’s book award

Tuesday, 13 February, 2024

Bath Spa University graduate Mel Darbon has been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize Award 2024

Mel's book ‘What the World Doesn’t See’ has been nominated in the Books for Older Readers category, with her novel offering a powerful insight regarding disability, grief and love. 

A blue front cover of a book with sketches of a boy and a girl and red text that reads What the World Doesn't See

Mel is a graduate of Bath Spa University’s MA Writing for Young People course, with her experiences on the course empowering her mission to give a voice to young people who may otherwise not be heard.

Speaking about her shortlisting, Mel said:

“I couldn’t be more honoured, or more delighted, to have been shortlisted for this special award, not just for me as a writer, but for the voice it gives to people with learning disabilities. Thank you.”

What the World Doesn’t See is a fast-paced, powerful novel about grief and disability infused with love and warmth. The book was inspired by Mel’s own experience with her younger brother Guy, who had severe learning disabilities and was unable to speak for himself. Guy sadly died whilst Mel was writing the book. 

Mel has been shortlisted alongside five other nominees in the Books for Older Readers category, with each category winner receiving £2,000. The winners will be revealed at an evening ceremony on Thursday 21 March. 

Speaking about this year’s shortlist, Waterstones Head of Books Bea Carvalho said: 

“There is something for every child here, with books both to encourage new readers and to challenge already passionate bookworms. Whether holding up a mirror to the real world or conjuring fantastical realms, delving into history or mining our own times, these books are united by enormous heart and imagination, and show Children's publishing to be as inspiring as ever.”

The Waterstones Children’s Book Prize Award is one of the most prestigious accolades for children’s books in the UK. First awarded in 2005, the award has acted as a launching point for many of the UK’s best-known children’s authors and illustrators.

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