It’s only a couple of weeks ago that I was at the 2014 Oxfordshire Book Awards, so proud to be on the longlist for the 2015 awards – and yesterday I found out something even better – Looking at the Stars has made it through to the shortlist!!
I am SO thrilled. There was some really stiff competition on the longlist and I feel all warm and fuzzy that the pupils of Oxfordshire have voted for my book. Of course, there’s still stiff competition from my fellow shortlistees (is that a word?) Virginia Bergin (Rain), Jane Hardstaff (The Executioner’s Daughter), Sophia Bennett (The Castle), Marcus Sedgwick (She Is Not Invisible), Phil Earle (Bubble Wrap Boy) and Roddy Doyle (Brilliant). I feel I ought to read all the other books on the list just so I know what I’m up against – and then I think maybe that’s a bad idea because I shall probably be so impressed by everyone else that I’ll want to go and hide!
There are some wonderful books in the primary and picture book categories too, and to be honest (yes, really!) I am just utterly delighted to be included at all. There’s a lovely article in the Bicester Advertiser listing all the books, and including a photo of me taken at the recent event at Burford library, when I gave out prizes to the short story winners.
The winner is announced at the end of March and although I’d love to win (well, who doesn’t like winning?), I’m quite sure that the pupils of Oxfordshire are perfectly capable of selecting a really stonkingly good book in the secondary category – after all, they’ve done it before – and I shall be there again at the awards ceremony in November whether I win or not because reading is brilliant and books are brilliant and kids are brilliant and THAT’S why I write books for young people.