The winner of Lancashire’s Book of the Year Award has attended a prestigious presentation ceremony at County Hall to receive the accolade.
Now in its 29th year, it remains one of the few book awards where young people themselves are totally responsible for drawing up the shortlist and choosing the overall winner.
Sarah Mussi, writer of ‘Riot’, visited County Hall to formally receive her award and meet the young judges who chose the winning title. Sarah was joined at the event by four of the top ten shortlisted authors.
Sarah said, “I am absolutely thrilled and overwhelmed to have won the Lancashire Book of the Year Award.
“It is an honour to be recognised for ‘Riot’ but what makes it extra special is that it is the young readers who have chosen the winner, the young people I am writing for, and that means so much.
“It has been an absolute pleasure to meet such enthusiastic young readers and thank you so much for this award.”
The Lancashire Book of the Year was the first regional book award for children when it was originally organised in 1987. It was won that year by Philip Pullman, who went on to great success with the “His Dark Materials” trilogy.
The judges are pupils from school Year 9 (aged between 13 and 14). Twelve high schools from across the county take part, with one school representing each of Lancashire’s districts.
There were 64 books nominated on the list. The young judges came together in March to hear which books had made it to the shortlist. A panel of 24 pupils then joined the chair of the judging sessions, freelance children’s book specialist, Jake Hope, to read and appraise each of the ten shortlisted books.
County Councillor Marcus Johnstone, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: “Being introduced to books at a young age is important, as it can build up a love of reading that can stay with you for the rest of your life.
“It’s fantastic to see so many young people so actively involved in judging these awards, and clearly getting so much pleasure from books.
“I really hope that their love of reading continues.”
Anna Greenhalgh, from St. Christopher’s CE High School in Accrington, announced the winner at the ceremony. Anna said: “I really enjoyed reading this book. I think it is one of the best books I have ever read. I’m looking forward now to reading other books that Sarah has written.”
The Lancashire Book of the Year Award was sponsored by UCLan, for the 14th year.
The young judges of this year’s award were:
Unity College, Burnley – Abigail Graham and Samuel Brenkley
St. Augustine’s RC High School, Clitheroe – Annabelle Wilcock and Zac Jordan
West Craven High School, Barnoldswick – Jody Holden and Lucy Whipp
Lancaster Royal Grammar School, Lancaster – Rowan Myall and Ed Deeks
Cardinal Allen Catholic High School, Fleetwood – Sophia Rapaccioli and Sofia Raseta
LSA Technology and Performing Arts College, Lytham St. Anne’s – Kiera Tatton and Finn Thomson
Holy Cross High School, Chorley – Emily Eccles and Declan Grinshaw
Ormskirk School, Ormskirk – Nadia Brady and Emma Gill
Wellfield High School, Leyland – Aimee Brook and Alisha Ibitoye
St. Christopher’s CE High School, Accrington- Anna Greenhalgh and Thomas Mooney
Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School, Rossendale – Iona Rogan and Elizabeth Marney
Christ the King Catholic Maths and Computing College, Preston – Luqman Bokhari and Obaid Wahdati
Four of the other shortlisted authors, Alan Gibbons, Virginia Bergin, Laura Jarratt and Louise O’Neill, were present at the awards ceremony.
For information on Lancashire County Council’s Library and Information Service, visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/libraries