Death Row Novel Wins Children's Prize

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher triumphed as the overall winner of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2013. The story, Pitcher's second novel, was inspired by her own experiences of writing to an inmate who had been sentenced to execution when she was herself a teenager. The "unsettling" dark tale sees main character Zoe corresponding with the prisoner in order to get her own dark secret and guilt off her chest. Melissa Cox, the buyer for new children's titles at Waterstones, said: "It may not sound the most obvious subject for a teen bestseller - a girl writing to a condemned prisoner confessing her own dark secret - but Ketchup Clouds is a classic coming-of-age story featuring death, betrayal and redemption. "Annabel Pitcher's handling of the subject is beautifully wrought and peppered with humour, layering the everyday teen experience with the extraordinary and traumatic. "It's an unsettling yet fantastically fresh and brave take on the teen confessional. Pitcher is a genuine literary star." Pitcher's book took the award in the best teen book category as well as the overall title, giving her a £5,000 prize.