Oxfordshire Book Awards ceremony 2022

Jo Cotterill wearing a rainbow dress and a rainbow headband, standing in front of a screen showing "The Oxfordshire Book Awards 2022" and pictures of some of the winning books
“It felt like a real celebration and a proper show rather than a fusty award ceremony.” Judith Bovington, Chipping Norton School

Yesterday, I was thrilled to be Master of Ceremonies (i.e. the one with the microphone, ahahaha!) for the 2022 Oxfordshire Book Awards. The Awards Ceremony hasn’t happened since 2019, and it was SO exciting to be back in person! We were hosted by Magdalen College School, which is a new venue for the OBAs, and Michelle McDonough, librarian and teacher extraordinaire, had coordinated everything to perfection, from parking for the minibuses (nineteen schools attended! NINETEEN!) to hundreds of cupcakes with the OBA logo.

The OBAs have been running since 2008 and are divided into three categories: Picture Book, Junior Novel and Secondary Novel, with a winner and a Highly Commended in each category. All the authors and illustrators of the six books were invited to the ceremony (the results are announced in June). Local authors were also invited along and Blackwells Bookshop brought boxes and boxes of books to sell at the end.

It was an ACTION-PACKED ceremony – too much to talk about here! but here are a few of my highlights:

“Captain Ironside and Dave the Parrot”

♥ Listening to Charlotte Guillain, winner of the picture book category for What Did The Tree See?, explain how she came up with the idea for her beautiful story. The oak tree is the narrator and we see the progress of a thousand years from its perspective. Sam Usher, the illustrator, then joined us on Teams and led a Draw-Along of a pirate (which the children named Captain Ironside, and his parrot Dave The Parrot!) and then drew the most incredible ice cream sundae, helped by flavour suggestions from the kids: alongside the usual vanilla, pistachio and chocolate, we also had “rainbows”, “cacti”, “cheese”, “tin cans” and “my hopes and dreams”…the results were hilarious!

♥ Giving out Golden Tickets to children who could answer a Golden Question correctly (thank you, KidsLitQuiz online for the super questions!). Golden Tickets could be exchanged for FREE BOOKS at the end! There was HUGE competition and excitement!

♥ Running a Vi Spy Quiz, based on Maz Evans‘s fantastic winning book of the Junior Novel category, which went down a STORM and earned three winning teams a Golden Ticket each.

♥ Watching Hannah Shaw turn a pencil into chocolate – real Unipiggle magic!

♥ Dancing along to John Dougherty singing the Stinkbomb & Ketchup-Face theme song.

♥ A Teams drop-in from the lovely Phil Earle, winner of the secondary category for When The Sky Falls, a truly wonderful book. The children were completely silent when he asked them whether they’d have the bravery to shoot a dangerous wild animal if a bomb were likely to destroy its cage.

♥ Hearing from Tim Collins that after he read our some brilliant mind-bending puzzles, Blackwells book stall sold out of both his Sherlock Bones books!

THIS feedback board, full of amazing comments from the kids:

Thank you so much to: MCS, the teachers who brought the children, giving up their own after-school time to support the event, the caterers, the tech team, the visiting authors: Hannah Shaw, Jess Butterworth, Vanessa Harbour, Tim Collins, John Dougherty, Kathryn Foxfield, Tracy Darnton, Sam Pope and Adam Guillain. DOUBLE the thanks goes to the OBA committee: Leoni Barnes, Michelle McDonough, Carol Exell, Elizabeth Hess, Judith Bovington, Samantha Birket, Linda Stone.

Biggest of all thanks though, goes to the CHILDREN: the reason we were all there in the first place, the reason authors write books – the best energy, excitement and enthusiasm you could get. THANK YOU for coming and for being such an amazing audience! I hope you’re looking forward to reading the books on the shortlists for next year’s awards!


One thought on “Oxfordshire Book Awards ceremony 2022

  1. Reblogged this on childtasticbooks and commented:
    I thoroughly enjoyed attending the Oxfordshire Book Awards on Thursday 10 November at Magdalen College School. It was thrilling to attend a book awards – as an author! And to meet so many other lovely writers and of course the children and teens who make our jobs worthwhile. Huge thanks to Jo Cotterill for hosting such a fun day and for Magdalen College School for hosting it.

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