The Kelpies Prize – Previous Winners

Here you’ll find information about our previous Kelpies Prize winners. Think you’ve got what it takes? Keep an eye on our website and social media for details of the Kelpies Prize 2020!

2018 winner

And the winner is... Hannah Foley!

Hannah Foley is presented with her giant cheque by award-winning children’s author Lari Don

This year’s Kelpies Prize was won by Hannah Foley with The Lost Wizard of Nine-Witches Wood, a middle-grade fantasy adventure set in Edinburgh.

Part-girl, part-cat, Cat McKeel has always known she’s a little different (after all, the tail is a bit of a giveaway). What Cat doesn’t know is that she holds the key to a magical prophecy – she’s the only person who can bring back the lost wizard of Nine Witches Wood.

Teaming up with her best friend Low (part-boy, part-owl, quite partial to rodents), and with help from her nine witch guardians (plus a few fantastical creatures from Scotland’s rich mythology), Cat is plunged into a haphazard magical world of secret libraries, flying bicycles and not-so-terrifying trolls on her search for the great wizard.

But finding ‘the magic man’ won’t be easy, especially when one of the very witches sworn to protect Cat is secretly working against her to unleash an ancient evil…

2017 winner


Emily Illett won 2017’s Kelpies Prize with The Girl Who Lost Her Shadow – the first time a teen novel has won in the history of the Kelpies Prize.

On the morning of Gail’s birthday, her shadow escapes under the kitchen door. Gail’s not surprised it’s decided to leave. Her dad has left for good and her sister Kay, who has always swum through life with her, is sinking into sadness. Gail is angry: angry that Kay doesn’t seem to care any more. Then Gail’s anger frightens her sister’s shadow away too.

Determined to put things right, Gail chases after it. But where there are shadows, there’s darkness, and Gail discovers she’s not the only one looking for something lost. Gail’s love for Kay will be tested to the extreme, but can she retrieve her sister’s shadow, and her own?

A magical and beautifully lyrical tale of sisterhood, The Girl Who Lost Her Shadow is a story about bravery and the power of friendship, and being strong enough to ask for help when we really need it. Coming in autumn 2019!

2016 winner

Elizabeth Ezra won won the Kelpies Prize 2016 with her sassy witch story Ruby McCracken: Tragic Without Magic. Ruby McCracken’s life is OVER. Her parents have forced her to move to the Ordinary World and that means — new home, new school and worst of all, no magic! Despite her best witching efforts, the Ordinary World remains tragically magic-deprived, until Ruby receives a mysterious hext that seems to offer an answer. That is, if she can figure out what it means and, more importantly, who sent it. Packed with great humour, loveable characters and witty banter, Ruby McCracken: Tragic Without Magic is perfect for fans of Witchworld and The Worst Witch.

2015 winner

Mark A. Smith won the Kelpies Prize 2015 with his superhero caper Slugboy Saves the World. Thanks to an unfortunately tasty-looking radioactive garden slug, eleven-year-old Murdo McLeod is now the world’s worst superhero. It’s a world where superhero competition is fierce, and Slugboy is so underrated he doesn’t even make the list when an evil mastermind devises a plan to capture all the other superheroes. Now, Slugboy has to use his not-so-super and oh-so-gross abilities to free the other superheroes and save the world. Let’s hope he doesn’t slip up.

2014 winner

Renfrewshire primary teacher Lindsay Littleson won the Kelpies Prize 2014 with the funny and beautifully written The Mixed-Up Summer of Lily McLean. Lily’s got loads going on with her loud, messy family and distracted mum. But when she starts getting warnings about a holiday on the little Scottish island of Millport, her summer gets weirder and weirder… Sequel The Awkward Autumn of Lily McLean was published in March 2017. Lindsay was also shortlisted for the Great War Dundee Children’s Book Prize 2014 with her novel Shell Hole.

2013 winner

Alex McCall won the Kelpies Prize 2013 with Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens. The city of Aberdeen is being terrorised by giant robot chickens who want to peck out every last sign of human resistance. Jesse and his friends must hatch a plan to defeat the fowl fiends in this wierd and wonderful adventure. Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens was a winner at the 2015 Scottish Children’s Book Awards. Revenge of the Giant Robot Chickens is Alex’s second book.