Oh, yesterday was so much fun! I’d been invited to be the guest speaker for the Berkshire Book Awards, who were announcing their shortlist after several months of voting on the fifteen-strong longlist. The BBAs are unusual in that all the books on the list are nominated by children. Something like 90 schools are involved (imagine the organisation!!) and anyone can nominate a book for the awards, as long as it’s been published in the previous year. I was thrilled that A LIBRARY OF LEMONS made their longlist, and very honoured to be invited to spend the day at two schools in Berskhire talking to lots of pupils. In the morning, I drove to John O’Gaunt School in Hungerford…
I talked about my writing process, and read a bit from Lemons as well as giving a bit of a hint about new books ELECTRIGIRL AND THE INVISIBLE THIEVES and A STORM OF STRAWBERRIES.
Then I got in the car and drove along the M4 to St George’s School in Ascot…
St George’s has a wonderful theatre, and by total coincidence, the older pupils were staging a production of INTO THE WOODS (one of my favourite musicals), and so the stage was decorated with enormous trees that almost perfectly matched my Lemons book cover! I joked that I should have brought some enormous lemons to stick onto the trees…
I had a fantastic time at both schools, and to top it all off, A LIBRARY OF LEMONS made the shortlist! Which was a VERY nice surprise and the real icing on the cake. Thank you so much to the organisers of the BBAs and to the schools for hosting – and thank you to the librarians and staff whose photos I’ve shamelessly stolen from Twitter!
The BBA shortlist is:
A LIBRARY OF LEMONS by Jo Cotterill
TIME TRAVELLING WITH A HAMSTER by Ross Welford
SPUTNIK’S GUIDE TO LIFE ON EARTH by Frank Cottrell Boyce
MAGNUS CHASE AND THE SWORD OF SUMMER by Rick Riordan
HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD by JK Rowling
DREAMING THE BEAR by Mimi Thebo