Piers Torday has won the 2014 prize for his book, The Dark Wild. The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize is the only children’s book award to be judged by authors and this year’s judges were Frank Cottrell Boyce, who called The Dark Wild “wildly inventive, moving and gripping”, Katherine Rundell who found it “an adventure boldly imagined and brilliantly executed: full of suspense without ever sacrificing warmth” and Gillian Cross who said it was “a fantastic example of how a book for children can be serious without preaching… a sobering parable about our attitude to the natural world.”
The Dark Wild is the follow-up to The Last Wild which was shortlisted for 2 children’s book awards earlier this year. The Dark Wild continues the story of Kester, a 12-year-old boy who is so traumatised by the death of his mother that he loses the ability to speak. Set in a dystopian version of Britain, where wildlife is virtually extinct and where food is desperately short, it sees Kester discover that he can talk with animals. They, in turn, are revealed to be planning an uprising against their human enemies.
A gripping eco-adventure story for ages 9+ with an important underlying message about the our impact on the natural world.
Talking about the story, the author said:
“It was bizarre – I was writing it at the time of all the floods and the extreme weather, and I was thinking, if we are going to be hostile to the world, it may choose to be hostile to us,” said Torday. “What I’m trying to do through the story – the only thing we can do through stories – is to ask young readers to think about these things, the environment, our relationship with animals … What excites me is trying to take the things we’re all talking about in our world, the big questions which we’re asking at the moment, and try and find a way of reacting to them for a younger audience.”
The last book in the trilogy, The Wild Beyond, will be published in April 2015.