By now I suppose everyone knows that I won the Eilis Dillon Award for Best First Book at the CBI/Bisto Childrens Book Awards last week. I should have blogged about it earlier but the week passed in a blur and I'm only getting back to reality now.
It's probably the oldest of cliches but I was thrilled just to have been shortlisted for the award and never expected to go any further so it was with a sense of stunned disbelief that I made my way to the stage to accept the award from Senator David Norris (erudite, entertaining, and someone I greatly admire). Apart from the award itself - a beautiful glass sculpture that I'll unfortunately have to hand back at the end of the year - I was presented with a stunning inscribed glass plate (to keep forever and ever and ever and...)
The day itself was hugely enjoyable. Myself and my wife met my publisher Scott (meandmybigmouth) Pack at our hotel and made our way into the Hugh Lane Gallery where the ceremony was taking place. There we were joined by my parents and I spent the time befoe the ceremony talking to the invited childrens school and library groups as well as meeting some of the other nominated writers.
The TV report on the day should be available here (at least for a while longer anyway). The two shifty looking characters at the beginning of the report are not, in fact, in a police line-up but Scott and me posing for photos (and yes, fashion fans, he did wear a shirt for the day).
The real trick was getting the trophy safely back to the hotel afterwards without dropping it. I certainly didn't want to be famous as the man who broke the Eilis Dillon Trophy - especially not in it's 20th year.
Now, I'm afraid it's back to reality as I struggle wth the fortunes of Harry in his third adventure.
The full list of winners is (and rather than write them all out I ingeniously cut and paste from David Maybury's excellent blog, which you should all visit regularly):
Bisto Honour Award for Writing goes to Siobhan Dowd for Solace of the Road
Teenager Holly Hogan is a troubled young person. Adopting a blonde wig and the assumed identity of fearless and reckless Solace, she journeys across England towards what she hopes will be a better future in Ireland. A finely constructed novel, beautifully written by a master storyteller.
Eilis Dillon Award for a First Children’s Book goes to Bob Burke for The Third Pig Detective Agency
This is the story of Harry Pigg, one of the three famous little pigs who built houses during our childhood. Now grown up, he ekes out a precarious existence as a private detective. This excellent pastiche of detective fiction is a vibrant, lively and funny book.
The Children’s Choice Award goes to Jane Mitchell for Chalkline
Chalkline tells the tale of the capture of Rafiq by soldiers of the Kashmir Freedom Fighters when they raid his village in search of new recruits. They roughly draw a line in chalk on Rafiq’s class-room wall and declare that any boy whose height reaches the line will be taken to fight. Chakline is a chilling account of the conditioning of a young boy to accept violence as normal, to stone or be stoned and ultimately to kill or be killed. A well-told, well-researched and cleverly plotted tale that is an intense read.
the overall Bisto Book of the Year Award AND Bisto Honour Award for Illustration goes to Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick for There
This alluring picturebook is one that will draw every reader, child and adult, into its charming spell. The little girl’s persistent self-questioning is a true and honest echo of the voice of a child as she comes to terms with what she knows and what she doesn’t. The harmonic interdependence of images and text is achieved with artistic brilliance and a disciplined pared-back writing style.