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THE CATS WE MEET ALONG THE WAY by Nadia Mikail wins the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2023!

A huge congratulations to Nadia Mikail who has won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2023 for her debut novel, The Cats We Meet Along the Way, published by Guppy Books. We are absolutely delighted for Nadia and Bella Pearson, publisher at Guppy Books.

Nadia received the prize at last night’s award ceremony, first winning the Older Readers category, before taking home the overall 2023 prize!

The Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, now in its nineteenth year, is voted for solely by booksellers and seeks to champion new talent in children’s writing. Florentyna Martin, Waterstone’s Head of Children’s said of The Cats We Meet Along the Way “In a phenomenal debut, Nadia Mikail’s prose sparkles in the growing market for older readers. Booksellers were overwhelmed by the tenderness woven through each chapter; the moments of silence between the characters are as truthful and evocative as their conversations. Mikail has ultimately crafted a novel of hope, set against an eventful road trip, that encourages us to share stories and dreams.”

Other Waterstones Booksellers praised the novel as “life-affirming and heart-breaking” with “luscious and lyrical writing” and a “stunning, gently moving read”.

The Cats We Meet Along the Way is a beautifully heart-warming story of seventeen-year-old Aisha, who, with the world ending in nine months’ time, takes a road trip through Malaysia with her mother, boyfriend, and stray cat Fleabag, to track down her sister June. Inspired by Nadia’s experience during the pandemic, this poignant and affecting apocalyptic tale is a moving tribute to finding out what truly matters in life.

After winning, Nadia commented: “I was really missing my family when I started writing this book, and constantly worrying about them during the pandemic, so I wrote it as sort of a worst-case scenario situation, like what would happen if the apocalypse was about to happen, and I was away from my loved ones. In the midst of trying to kind of work out those anxieties through writing, I realised the only thing we can do is care for the people we love every day and hope for a better future for them even when things seem hopeless.”

The news has been announced across the press, including in The Bookseller , the Independent, the Evening Standard and The Guardian, who previously reviewed The Cats We Meet Along the Way as “moving, unique…full of life’s slow richness”.

For the full The Bookseller article click here.

For the full Independent article click here.

For the full Evening Standard article click here.

For the full The Guardian article click here.