NOVELIST Katherine Rundell, whose novel Rooftoppers won critical acclaim, has been shortlisted for one of the country's most coveted literary awards.

Rooftoppers, published in 2013, was the Winner of the Blue Peter Book Award, the Waterstones Children's Book Prize, and shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal.

The story, which told of a shipwrecked girl as she searches Paris for her mother, was inspired by nights as an undergraduate at St Catherine’s College in Oxford trespassing on the rooftops of New College.

Now she has been shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards in the children's book category for her latest story, The Explorer, about four children fighting for survival in the Amazon jungle, published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books.

Ms Rundell, a Fellow of All Souls College, tweeted: "Breaking my Twitter holiday to say I am so thrilled and honoured to be on the Costa Book Awards shortlist in the dauntingly amazing company of Sarah Crossan, Lissa Evans and Kiran Millwood Hargrave."

Oxford author Philip Pullman, whose novel La Belle Sauvage has just been published, offered Ms Rundell to offer and replied: "A thousand congratulations!"

Ms Rundell is competing with Kiran Millwood Hargrave for The Island at the End of Everything (Chicken House), Sarah Crossan for Moonrise (Bloomsbury Children’s Books), and Lissa Evans for Wed Wabbit (David Fickling Books).

Ms Millwood Hargrave is also building a successful career as a children's author.

In March the former Oxford University student was named Waterstones Children’s Book Prize winner after impressing judges with her very first novel, The Girl Of Ink And Stars.

The story follows the adventures of Isabella Riosse, daughter of a cartographer in the strictly ruled Island of Joya, who can only dream of the faraway places her father documented.

Miss Millwood Hargrave, who lives in Oxford, was presented with a £5,000 prize as she was named winner of the younger fiction and overall book categories during a ceremony with Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell.

The author's latest story features a girl, Amihan, who lives on an island where some of the inhabitants - including her mother - have leprosy.

The overall winner of the 2017 Costa Book of the Year will receive £30,000 and will be selected and announced at the Costa Book Awards ceremony in London on January 30.

Also in the running for the prize is former heart surgeon Prof Stephen Westaby, whose memoirs Fragile Lives is shortlisted in the biography category.

His dramatic life story, published by HarperCollins, has already won the President's Choice in the British Meical Association Book Awards.