The winners will be announced at a ceremony at Waterstones Piccadilly in central London on March 22. Last year’s winner The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave saw a sales uplift of 1,400 per cent after her victory was announced.
Six books are shortlisted in each of three categories: Illustrated Books, Younger Fiction and Older Fiction. Each category winner receives £2,000 and the overall winner is awarded an additional £3,000.
Simon said:“I was excited, delighted and honoured to discover that Lucia and I were shortlisted, especially so given the award is bookseller-voted and my local branch of Waterstones has been so supportive of my books. Hopefully this nomination will help raise awareness of an important issue that’s close to my heart - uncontrollable cravings for cake!”
Simon lives in Chichester, where he was born and raised. After graduating from Exeter University he became a primary school teacher. Teaching rekindled his love of children’s literature, particularly picture books, so much so that he decided to try writing his own. In I Really Want The Cake he tells the story of a mischievous little girl with a sweet tooth, the book illustrated throughout by Lucia Gaggiotti.
Oliver Browning, bookshop manager at Waterstones Chichester, said: “Like the deliciously-illustrated cake in the book, Simon Philips’ brilliantly-inventive, witty rhymes have proved irresistible with booksellers and Chichester’s youngest customers alike. I Really Want The Cake really was our standout and most talked about picture book of last year, the story of temptation and chocolate cake unsurprisingly resonating with a lot of children (and booksellers!). Simon was also kind enough to come along to do a reading and I’ve not seen our children’s department so packed before or since.”