Oxfordshire Book Awards Niceness

I love the OBAs. I’ve been gatecrashing them for at least three years now. The 2014 ceremony in November had to be postponed, so it took place on Friday instead and I gatecrashed again – only THIS time I felt slightly more justified because Looking at the Stars is actually on the longlist for the 2015 award, which is SO lovely.

OBAs take place in the Amey Theatre at Abingdon School - along with an audience of 400 children
OBAs take place in the Amey Theatre at Abingdon School – along with an audience of 400 children

This year, Sue Hendra (winner of the Picture Book award for No-Bot, the Robot with No Bottom) and Andy Mulligan (runner-up in the Primary category for The Boy With Two Heads) were able to attend and I had a lovely (if brief) chat with Andy about his new film Trash, which is directed by Stephen Daldry and based on Andy’s book. Andy described a meeting with Stephen and Richard Curtis which made my jaw hit the floor, and also made me determined to go see the film when it’s out at the end of this month.

Kate Sayer, Andy Mulligan and Sue Hendra
Kate Sayer, Andy Mulligan and Sue Hendra

Kate Sayer from the wonderful Story Museum in Oxford (about which I have raved before) told the audience about the current exhibition, 26 Characters (which if you haven’t seen, is really worth a visit) and also the story of Anansi the spider god and his desire to own all the stories in the world.

Kate telling the story of Anansi
Kate telling the story of Anansi

And Sue read from another of her picture books, Supertato (which I absolutely HAVE to own and should have bought at the end of the ceremony but ran out of time, argh!). If you’ve got young kids, BUY IT, it’s hysterically funny.

Sue reads from SUPERTATO and I laugh a LOT
Sue reads from SUPERTATO and I laugh a LOT

Sue and Andy both answered questions from the kids in the audience:

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And then we all went through to the school canteen where tea and squash and cake were laid on alongside the fantastic bookstall run by the brilliant staff from Mostly Books in Abingdon. It was great to see Mark Thornton and his team again, and I got to sign some copies of my own books. It was also lovely to be there with Cas Lester and Jenny Smith (Hi, Jenny! Great to meet you at last!) and to meet Matt Brown, author of the Compton Valance books. It wasn’t until the day before the event that I realised that Matt is the DJ on Heart Breakfast, the only radio show I listen to in the morning (well, to be more accurate, it’s on in the background as I argue with my children about what they’re having for breakfast: “No, ice lollies are not breakfast foods”). So I was actually a little starstruck but I THINK I kept it well hidden…

Poor Matt, in the middle of chatting to fans and I'm grinning away like an idiot
Poor Matt, in the middle of chatting to fans and I’m grinning away like an idiot

Matt’s book Compton Valance: The Most Powerful Boy In The Universe is also longlisted for the 2015 award – good luck, Matt!

Thanks to all the fantastic librarians and staff for organising (and re-organising!) the awards ceremony, and I gather that voting for the shortlist for the 2015 award closes at the end of January, so I hope lots of kids in Oxfordshire are reading RIGHT NOW and voting for their favourites 🙂

And then the very next day, I saw this poster on the Tube! I hope Andy’s film does BRILLIANTLY

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Right! I’d probably get back to writing!

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