Celebrating great books in Oxfordshire

On Friday, I went to the annual Oxfordshire Book Awards. I love going to the OBAs. The organisers are brilliant, and there are always loads of kids from local schools who are passionate about books and reading. The winners get to do a little speech and any local authors who attend are made a fuss of too. We get to sign books after the ceremony (thanks to the fantastic Mostly Books bookshop from Abingdon, whose staff come along with masses of books for the kids to buy) and there’s always cake with the winning book covers on – so clever!

Piers Ibbotson, son of Eva, talks about his mother's book The Abominables, discovered and published after her death.
Piers Ibbotson, son of Eva, talks about his mother’s book The Abominables, discovered and published after her death.
Richard Byrne, writer and illustrator of The Really, Really, Really Big Dinosaur (winner of the picture book category) draws one of the characters from the book
Richard Byrne, writer and illustrator of The Really, Really, Really Big Dinosaur (winner of the picture book category) draws one of the characters from the book
Anne-Marie Conway, winner of the secondary school category with her book Butterfly Summer
Anne-Marie Conway, winner of the secondary school category with her book Butterfly Summer
Butterfly Summer cake!
Butterfly Summer cake!

As if that weren’t enough excitement, last night I went to Sally Nicholls‘s book launch for her brand new novel CLOSE YOUR PRETTY EYES. Sally is a fab writer and I can’t wait to get stuck into her latest – I read the first few pages on the bus on the way home and am already gripped!

Lots of people listened as Sally read an extract from her book...
Lots of people listened as Sally read an extract from her book…
And there was CAKE, of course!
And there was CAKE, of course!
Sally with her new book - a chilling story about a girl carted from foster home to foster home who is being haunted by a ghost...or is she?
Sally with her new book – a chilling story about a girl carted from foster home to foster home who is being haunted by a ghost…or is she?

Events like these are like catnip to an author. They remind us that there are people out there who are just as passionate about books and writing as we are – and that is always LOVELY. I feel I’m surrounded by best friends 🙂

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