Thursday night was the night. In the Life Centre, in the heart of Newcastle, four authors gathered to hear their books fates in the North East Book Award.
Here we are, seated in the very large and intimidating conference room, gradually filling with book-hungry 11-13 years olds, year 7 and 8s from participating schools in the North East. From left to right we have me, the lovely Annabel Pitcher, My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece, the wonderful and enduring Barbara Mitchelhill, Run Rabbit Run, and the inventive (I wish I could write Sci-FI) Philip Webb, Six Days. Sadly my fellow Frances Lincoln author, Chris Westwood, Ministry of Pandemonium, could not be with us.
The first treat of the evening, for all of the writers, was being introduced by three of the young people who had taken part in the award process. I had the pleasure of hearing three pupils from Newminster Middle School in Morpeth, who had trawled the internet (or maybe just this blog) to gather their information, talk all about me. Surreal but very nice!
Next we took to the podium to talk about us, our book and why we wrote it in front of the gathered throng. I did my Pingu impression, (Have you seen it? If not, ask me!) showed off my new Doctor Who socks (I had forgotten mine and they were the only ones on offer at the Life centre), and told them all that it was Charles Dickens’ fault that I killed off one of the character in Too Much Trouble. Oh, I showed off the cover to In Too Deep too.
Then came the big moment! The announcement of the winning book. Chris Westwood’s Ministry of Pandemonium scooped the top prize with Run Rabbit Run by Barbara Mitchelhill receiving a special mention. Huge congratulations Chris – The Great and Dangerous, sequel to the award winner, has just hit my ‘To Read’ pile.
Following this, the authors positioned themselves behind their own tables ready to sign a very, very many books. I love a signing! I got to talk to a long line of children who had read and (mostly) loved the book. I even got to sign someone’s kindle cover.
What a great event. A huge thank you to the organisers, all the schools involved but mostly to the wonderful young people who were so welcoming, complimentary and fun – THANK YOU!