Yesterday I went along to the Oxfordshire Book Awards to pick up my award for A Library of Lemons, which won the Secondary category. I say that so coolly, but I was SO THRILLED because as many people will know, I’ve been gatecrashing the OBAs since 2011 (I think), where I have, over the years, listened in awe to such greats as Malorie Blackman, Patrick Ness and Tony Ross.
Yesterday, only the winner of the Primary category, David Baddiel, was there to join me – we missed you, Emma Yarlett! (Emma won the picture book category with her wonderful book Nibbles the Book Monster.) And in fact David had to leave after his acceptance speech because of his son’s birthday, so I was able to bask in solo glory after that…!
It was a wonderful afternoon as ever, and my grateful thanks to all the kids who voted for my book, to Amy from Burford School for reading out her review of the book, to the librarians who organise the whole shebang, to the teachers for bringing the kids along, to the sponsors of the awards and to Mark Thornton for hosting so well. It was also lovely to share the stage with local authors Pam Smy, Ellie Irving and Ian Johnstone (who takes over my mantle as Patron of Reading at Burford School this year – good luck, Ian!)
Below are some photos taken by other people who have generously said I can use their photos here. If you’re wondering what I’m doing surrounded by hundreds of kids in a massive group hug, I encouraged everyone to hug each other at the end of my speech – and it all got a bit crazy and wonderful!