Lovely Leeds Book Awards!

Yesterday morning, I attended the awards ceremony for the 9-11s category of the Leeds Book Awards. A Library of Lemons was shortlisted, alongside five other fab (and very different!) books.

72 schools brought pupils along to the Pudsey Civic Hall, which seats 500 – and the whole thing was organised brilliantly by the Leeds Schools’ Library Service (yes! They still exist! Leeds is fortunate indeed) and supported by many other members of staff in the schools.

The full shortlist was: A Library of Lemons by Jo Cotterill, Murder In Midwinter by Fleur Hitchcock, Invisible Inc by Steve Cole, Beetle Boy by MG Leonard, Cogheart by Peter Bunzl, and Max Helsing, Monster Hunter by Curtis Jobling. The only author who couldn’t be there was MG Leonard (we missed you!) but the rest of us were thrilled to attend.

L-R, Curtis, Fleur, Steve, me, Peter

We were invited to answer questions on writing, interesting jobs we’d had in the past, and specific questions relating to our books. Steve sang a song in a Dalek voice, and Curtis drew Bob the Builder (which he created):

Curtis turns Bob the Builder into a werewolf

Then there was a hilarious section where the host, author Jason Beresford, got kids to dress up and act out a story. And then the announcement…dum, dum, duuuuuuh! And the winner was Fleur with Murder In Midwinter! I was dead chuffed for her because it’s her first award and her book is a thriller for children, which isn’t a genre most people are aware of or think of as suitable for children, and yet why not? Action, adventure, mystery…aren’t they all thrillers really?

After the ceremony we all sat down at signing tables and there were LOTS of books to sign! I was particularly delighted to meet the kids from Horsforth Newlaithes School, who had made me a POSTER! Which was the first thing I saw when I entered the hall, and it made my day – seriously, you guys, awesome work 🙂

Me with the kids from Horsforth Newlaithes, holding my runner-up prize

Thank you so much to everyone involved in organising the event. Regional awards are always so inspiring and a real celebration of the thriving world of children’s reading. A particular feature of this award is that the pupils contribute reviews to the LBA website, which have been fantastic to read (you can read the ones for Lemons here – there are 233 of them!!)

And thank you for my gorgeous giant diamond! I actually squeaked when I saw it. I love it. (Yes, I know it’s not a real diamond, but I’m going to PRETEND it is!) It will sit on my windowsill and catch the sunlight (when there is some, sadly not today) and make tiny rainbows in my writing room. What a lovely memento of a super day.

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