The YA Book Prize has been awarded to a novel about a romance-obsessed teenager who realises she is asexual and aromantic.
Alice Oseman, an author and illustrator who was born in 1994 in Kent, said she was “gobsmacked” to win the £2,000 prize
She was chosen from a 10-strong shortlist that also included books by Alex Wheatle, Meg Rosoff and Patrice Lawrence.
Loveless, Oseman’s fourth novel, follows 18-year-old Georgia as she begins university with her best friends.
She goes in search of romance but when her attempts to spark a relationship cause conflict in her friendship group she begins to question why she feels little sexual attraction to others.
Oseman said: “I was absolutely gobsmacked to hear that I’d won the YA Book Prize 2021. Loveless was the most difficult creative project of my life, and I am so utterly thrilled that it has won such a prestigious award.
“The UK is home to such an incredible and unique YA literature community, it’s an honour to have been chosen as this year’s YA Book Prize winner.”
Oseman has written four young adult contemporary novels with HarperCollins Children’s Books, including her debut Solitaire, which was published when she was 19.
The annual YA Book Prize was launched by book trade magazine The Bookseller in 2014 in partnership with Hay Festival, and honours the book that judges feel is best-written and they are most likely to share with young people.
Caroline Carpenter, The Bookseller’s deputy features editor and chair of the YA Book Prize, said: “Congratulations to Alice and Loveless. As well as shining a light on a topic that is rarely covered in fiction, I’ve no doubt that this book will resonate with all teenagers who are trying to find themselves.
“In my opinion, Alice is one of the most exciting young creatives working in the UK today and Loveless, with its important messages about self-acceptance and friendship, is a very worthy winner of this year’s prize.”