Bridesmaids star Chris O'dowd's TV presenter wife Dawn O' Porter and British actress Emerald Fennell have been shortlisted for the U.K.'s coveted Children's Book Prize. O' Porter's first novel for youths, Paper Aeroplanes, which was inspired by her own upbringing on the British island of Guernsey, is up for Best Book for Teens, while Anna Karenina star Fennell is in the running in the Best Fiction for 5-12s section for her release Shiverton Hall, about the strange goings-on in a haunted school.
Fennell will compete against screenwriter and director Soman Chainani, whose book The School for Good and Evil has already been picked up for a film adaptation by executives at Universal Pictures.
Performance poet Laura Dockrill and TV producer Piers Torday, son of late Salmon Fishing In The Yemen author Paul Torday, are also nominated in the same category for their works Darcy Burdock and The Last Wild, respectively.
The recipients of the two awards, in addition to the Best Picture Book title, will be announced in April (14), with the three winners then going head-to-head for the overall Children's Book Prize title.
Salmon Fishing In The Yemen author Paul Torday has died at the age of 67. The writer, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2007, passed away on Wednesday (18Dec13) in Northumberland, England.
Torday found fame in his 60s, with the 2007 release of his first novel, Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, which sold more than 500,000 copies worldwide.
The book was adapted into a movie, which starred Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor, in 2011.
Kirsty Dunseath, publishing director at the firm Weidenfeld and Nicolson Fiction, says, "In many ways Paul Torday invented his own genre. His extraordinary fiction was filled with warmth and a wry, humane wit. He was a gentle observer of the foibles of human nature and our social behaviour."
His agent, Mark Stanton, adds, "He was a writer of rare talent, and a true gentleman. Paul, I raise a glass of the finest Bordeaux to you."
The British author's other works include The Irresistible Inheritance of Wilberforce, The Girl on the Landing and The Hopeless Life of Charlie Summers.