The winner of Lancashire’s Book of the Year Award recently attended a prestigious presentation ceremony at the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Darwin Building to receive the accolade.
Now in its 31st year, it remains one of the few book awards where young people themselves are totally responsible for drawing up the shortlist and choosing the overall winner.
The event was attended by Lancashire County Council Chairman Terry Aldridge, who said: “At the event, I saw for myself a love of reading that is shared by so many young people. This is an initiative that I fully support.”
Natalie Flynn, writer of ‘The Deepest Cut’, visited Lancashire to formally receive her award and meet the young judges who chose the winning title. Natalie was joined at the event by eight of the top 11 shortlisted authors.
Natalie said, “I’m speechless and utterly overwhelmed but ecstatic. It has been an incredible day!
“It is an honour to be recognised for ‘The Deepest Cut’, especially as this is my first novel, but what makes it extra special is that it is the young readers who have chosen the winner, the young people I am writing for, and that means so much.
“It has been an absolute pleasure to meet such enthusiastic young readers and thank you so much for this award.”
The Lancashire Book of the Year was the first regional book award for children when it was originally organised in 1987. It was won that year by Philip Pullman, who went on to great success with the “His Dark Materials” trilogy.
The judges are pupils from school Year 9 (aged between 13 and 14). 18 high schools from across the county took part, with each of Lancashire’s districts represented.
There were 92 books nominated on the list. The young judges came together in March to hear which books had made it to the shortlist. A panel of 36 pupils met up again on Friday 30 June to appraise each of the eleven shortlisted books and debate who should be the winner.
County Councillor Peter Buckley, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “Being introduced to books at a young age is important, as it can build up a love of reading that can stay with you for the rest of your life.
“It’s fantastic to see so many young people so actively involved in judging these awards, and clearly getting so much pleasure from books.
“I really hope that their love of reading continues.”
Pupils from Lathom High School and Bishop Rawsthorne High School announced the winner at the ceremony. Hollie Budgen, a pupil at Lathom High School who attended the ceremony, said: “I really enjoyed reading this book. I think it is one of the best books I have ever read. I’m looking forward now to reading other books that Natalie writes.
“It was good to meet Natalie as well.”
The Lancashire Book of the Year Award was sponsored by UCLan, for the 16th year who this year hosted the Celebration Day, allowing more young people to attend.
This year’s judging schools were:
LSA Technology and Performing Arts College – Fylde
Penwortham Priory Academy – South Ribble
West Craven High School – Pendle
Haslingden High School – Rossendale
Lancaster Girls Grammar School – Lancaster
Whitworth Community High School – Rossendale
Corpus Christi Catholic High School – Preston
Lathom High School – West Lancashire
St Michael’s Church of England High School – Chorley
Bishop Rawstorne Church of England High School – Chorley
Garstang Community Academy – Wyre
St Augustine’s RC High School – Ribble Valley
Penwortham Girls High School – South Ribble
Our Lady’s Catholic College – Lancaster
Blessed Trinity RC College – Burnley
Archbishop Temple School – Preston
Norden High School and Sports College – Hyndburn
Seven of the other shortlisted authors, Faye Bird, Nicci Cloke, Lousie Gornall, Lisa Heathfield, Abbie Rushton, Teri Terry and Lee Weatherly were present at the awards ceremony.
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