Published: 13 March 2023

Creative Writing alumna shortlisted for prestigious book award

Rachael Davis, University of Surrey Creative Writing MA alumna, has been shortlisted for the 2023 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, for her story I am NOT a Prince, in the Illustrated Books category.

The book is a fairy tale for the 21st century that challenges gender stereotypes and encourages children to be proud to be themselves. The story, centres around a little frog named Hopp, who certainly has no aspirations to be a prince! 

Rachael comments:

“I’m so proud and honoured that I am NOT a Prince has been shortlisted. When I was a book-loving 14-year-old just starting my first job at my local bookshop, I would never have believed it if someone had told me that twenty years later one of my stories would be shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. 

“As a mixed-race woman of colour I often felt stereotyped and pigeon-holed – and sometimes still do! I wanted to write an uplifting and fun, modern fairy tale that broke stereotypes, and was as inclusive as possible. I hope lots of children can relate to I am NOT a Prince, including the LGBTQ+ community.” 

Paul Vlitos, Head of Creative Writing at Surrey, comments: 

“Rachael made the absolute most of her studies at Surrey, combining English Literature modules with Creative Writing options and applying herself with equal eagerness and dedication to each. She is not just a talented and versatile writer, but someone who thinks deeply about how the stories we tell can reflect the world and might help change it.” 

The winners of the award will be announced at the end of March 2023.   


Rachael is a mixed-raced Black children’s author represented by Alice Williams. She grew up in a low-income single-parent family and studied Mathematics at Oxford University before doing a masters in English Literature at the University of Surrey. Rachael writes inclusive and empowering books for children of all ages, both fiction and non-fiction, and is passionate about showcasing diversity, STEM and mental wellness. 

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