November 23rd, 2015

guardian children's fiction prize 2015

This was a busy weekend! I'll blog next about the pirate shenanigans at the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators Conference next, but first up, Thursday night's Guardian Children's Fiction Prize ceremony. Big congratulations to David Almond, who scooped this year's prize with A Song for Ella Grey! (Here he is with writer SF Said and me.)

David's books reworks the myth of Orpheus, whose wife Eurydice has died, about how he travels to the underworld to bring her back. (You can read a Guardian review by Marcus Sedgwick here.) I don't think anyone was surprised David had won, only that he hadn't won the prize earlier! (You can only win it once; Philip Reeve won it for the fourth book, A Darkling Plain, in his Mortal Engines quartet, so our books are disqualified.) I haven't yet read A Song for Ella Grey but I'm excited to dive in. (Click here to see the books on the prize longlist.)

Other highlights of the evening: Seeing illustrator and writer Michael Foreman and his hot-off-the-press new book spanning his career, A Life in Pictures. I think the last time I saw Michael was in 2008, one of the very early book events I went to, as a reviewer. He has an amazing career and he'd only just seen the first copy of this book; Philip and I felt honoured to get a peek. Seven Stories centre in Newcastle will be hosting a year-long exhibition of his work, tied in with the launch of the book, so if you're up there, do go along to see it! Here's a peek at some of his work on the Guardian website.

Second highlight, An Island of Our Own-shortlisted author Sally Nicholls brought along her new baby and I got to give it a cuddle. :) I've read An Island of Our Own and really enjoyed it, particularly the way she portrayed the Internet. So many stories I hear about kids and the Internet are about its dark side, but Sally focuses on the amazing power of the Internet for good, and how the young people in the story interact with it.

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scbwi conference 2015

Here's my favourite photo from this year's conference of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators in Winchester: debut author Kathryn Evans modeling her Seawig in front of seafaring costume judges Philip Reeve and Jonny Duddle.

Photo by Teri Terry

And check out the party costumes of organisers Dom Conlon (fish bones in the beard!) and George Kirk (giant squid, with Seawig!).

Photos by Philip Reeve, George Kirk & Candy Gourlay

The SCBWI Conference is a great chance for long-time friends and total newbies to meet up, celebrate their books, learn how to make and pitch new ones and generally muck about.

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