CRANLEIGH SCHOOL, May 4th: Hundreds of young readers from across the South East gathered together for a celebration of children’s fiction in the first ever Awesome Book Awards prize-giving. Ross Welford won the top prize this year for his first children’s novel Time Travelling with a Hamster.
“I was surprised and delighted to be shortlisted and even happier to have won. The shortlist was impressive. Writing can be a lonely job and awards like these are really important for us to hear from our readers what they thought and for us to meet fellow authors,” said Ross Welford. Ross was presented with his prize by internationally renowned children’s writer and illustrator, Lauren Child, the author of series including Clarice Bean, Charlie & Lola and Ruby Redfort.
The Awesome Book Awards is a new prize that honours the best new fiction authors for young readers aged between 7 and 10. To be eligible for the 2017 award the entrants had to be from lesser known authors, suitable for able readers in the listed age group, appealing to both boys and girls and available in paperback from May 2015.
Cranleigh Pupil Oscar, who voted for the winner and introduced him to the stage said: “Time Travelling with a Hamster is an incredible book! You had to read the whole book to understand the mind-blowing concept of it all. I love so many of the characters I couldn’t possible choose a favourite!”
The other titles shortlisted for the 2017 Awards were: The Clockwork Sparrow (Katherine Woodfine), The Imagination Box (Martin Ford), Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot (Horatio Clare) and Beetle Boy (M.G. Leonard). Thousands of pupils from schools across the South East read the whole shortlist and then voted for their favourite overall.
During the ceremony, introduced by Lauren Child, all of the shortlisted authors read extracts from their work and the overall winner was announced at the end of the evening. The School’s Patron of
Reading, author Cliff McNish, presented the prizes to the pupils who had written the best review of a shortlisted book.
“The Awesome Book Awards are wonderful because it is the children themselves who are voting for their favourite books. Being a writer is a privilege but even better is knowing that people are reading and enjoying what you are writing,” said Lauren Child.
Cranleigh Prep School’s Head of English, Kate Schutte, who came up with the idea for the Awards, said: “It was hugely exciting to have so many schools signed up for our first year. It’s fantastic for younger children to see how these kinds of awards work and for authors to get the recognition they deserve. We really hope that it will help us to foster a great love of reading amongst prep school aged children across the country.”
Ross Welford’s advice to aspiring young writers was: “Finish it! No-one is going to read a half finished novel. The important thing is to get your idea on paper and finish it, then edit and rewrite it afterwards.”
Cranleigh Schools are hoping to make the Awesome Book Awards an annual event and their panel of readers is already hard at work compiling the shortlist for the 2018 awards. To read more about the Awesome Book Awards visit: www.cranprep.org/awesome