19 November 2009

Booktrust Teenage Prize event

Yes, so the Booktrust Awards Ceremony was on the 10th floor of the Penguin building on The Strand, with a rather extraordinary view of the Thames stretching in both directions.

The prize announcer (who I believe was the chair of the judges?) gave a short summary of each title before announcing the winner - causing me to recite 'The Lady of Shallot' frantically in my head to try to block her out whenever she was talking about one of the titles I hadn't read yet - lest she should give a vital plot point away. This may make me a bit strange.

There was mention of the judges having put an extraordinary amount of work into reading over 100 books in a not very large amount of time. There was reference to them reading well into the night and sending out emails in the early hours of the morning. Danny is the main culprit, I strongly suspect. Much praise was also given to the teen judges who had won a writing competition in order to take part.

I asked fellow judge and previous winner Marcus Sedgwick whether he'd got over the judging process yet. "I'll never get over it," he replied, darkly.

The Graveyard Book as winner came as no big surprise. Neil Gaiman is not only such a strong writer, but also such an extremely original one, that the book seems just made for an award. Chris Riddell, the brilliant illustrator of the children's edition of the book, who came up to receive the award, was given a short speech to read out on behalf of Neil Gaiman - which ended with a laugh when he had to end by thanking himself.

So - lots of wine and chat, not enough canapes - but the event was fun and interesting, and well done Danny and co.

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