Launching the Berkshire Book Awards shortlist

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…

It was a gloomy day outside, but not inside!
It was a gloomy day outside, but not inside!
The welcoming sign outside the lovely library
The welcoming sign outside the lovely library

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.

I look like I'm playing invisible bongos. I have no idea what I was saying here.
I look like I’m playing invisible bongos. I have no idea what I was saying here.

Then I got in the car and drove along the M4 to St George’s School in Ascot…

Lovely old building!
Lovely old building!
and a REAL FIRE in Reception!
and a REAL FIRE in Reception!

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…

And look! There's the shortlist!
And look! There’s the shortlist!

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!

Me with pupils from all the schools who came to the afternoon event - and the shortlist!
Me with pupils from all the schools who came to the afternoon event – and the shortlist!

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

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2 comments

  1. I really LOVED A Library of Lemons!!! I read it recently and it was AMAZING!!! It was one of those awesome books that make you but in the best way possible ( if that makes any sense)
    I’m so so glad that it made the shortlist because it DEFINITELY deserves to!!! ❤❤❤
    Calypso and Mae are amazing!

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