Saturday, 25 November 2017

The Mal Peet Children's Book Award

 I'm really very delighted to have received the Mal Peet Children's Book Award for 'The Nearest Faraway Place' at a packed-out event in Delia Smith's Top of the Terrace Restaurant at Norwich City Football Club.  The award was one of eight prizes given out for the 2017 East Anglian Book Awards and I am especially chuffed to have received it not only because winning is nice but also

            i) I am from mighty Felixstowe (full East Anglian credentials) and
            ii) I am also a massive admirer of the late great Mal Peet.

Mal was a fantastic writer and his book 'Life: An Exploded Diagram' is an absolute stormer and one of my all-time favourite reads.  I love this book for many reasons but here are just two of them:

i).  The school, 'Newgate', that Mal describes so unmistakably is very clearly Paston College where I used to work as an English teacher.

ii).  When the central character, Clem, passes his eleven-plus, his nana - who is called Win Little (ha!) - says, ''He go to that Newgate... he'll start to think his shit dunt stink.'

Ah!  Spoken as only an East Anglian could say it.

 Anyway, what a lovely event the East Anglian Book Awards was and is.
The big prize for Book of the Year went to John Berger and John Christie for the non-fiction book 'Lapwing and Fox.'

Other winners were: Sarah Hall for 'Madame Zero' (fiction)
                                  Carl Gorham for 'The Owl at the Window' (biography)
                                  Christine Hiskey for 'Holkham' (history)
                                  Neil Powell for 'Was and Is' (poetry)

A prize for best cover was awarded to 'Was and Is'

The other authors shortlisted for the Mal Peet Children's Award were Francesca Armour-Chelu for 'Fenn Halflin and the Seaborn' and William Bee for 'Migloo's Weekend.'

I feel very honoured to have scooped the prize on this occasion.
Below are some pictures of the event.

I took this one. (Not as big as Ipswich Town's ground).

Picture by Nick Butcher for the EDP
Picture by Nick Butcher for the EDP
My very proud husband took this one :)

'Can you get in height order?'  Photo by Poppyline Press

Photo by pleased me.


Monday, 20 November 2017


OK, this is a long shot because I don't know if anyone reads this blog.  Also,  I'm not on Twitter so that doesn't help either.  But if you are reading this I NEED YOUR HELP PLEASE.

What it is, see, I'm trying to get hold of someone called Annika.

Here's why?

Some weeks ago, I did a book festival thing in Uxbridge at the end of the Metropolitan line.  Annika chaired a panel with me and the writer Alice Oseman.  Before the panel, I'd commented on Annika's very nice notebook [see fig.1].  She'd said, 'Please, won't you have it?'

I'd said, 'Oh, I couldn't possibly.  Oh, OK then.'  And thanks to Annika's sweet generous nature, I'd gone home with a notebook that very neatly summed up my general situation.
But being a firm believer in Swoppsies, I'd wanted to give Annika something in return.  So I asked the festival organiser for a contact address and sent Annika a parcel.  Like I said, this was all some weeks ago.

Yesterday, I went to the post office depot in Norwich and picked my parcel up again.  There are few things more disappointing than thinking you've got a mysterious exciting parcel to collect and then discovering it's actually an undelivered one that you posted yourself to someone else.

I don't want this parcel.  I'm the one trying to send it!

So if you are Annika, please would you drop me an email at  Or if you know someone called Annika who was at Hillingdon Culture Bite in October, please can you tell her to look at this page.  Or if you wouldn't even mind just sharing this post on your social media thing, that would be very nice of you.  Thanks.

PS.  In other news, I'm off to Delia Smith's Top of the Terrace restaurant at Norwich City Football Club on Friday for the East Anglian Book Awards.  'The Nearest Faraway Place' has been shortlisted for the Mal Peet Children's Prize which is lush.  Especially as I am a huge admirer of the great Mal Peet.  I am also a little bit allergic to Norwich City Football Club but that's because I am from Ipswich.  I'll be fine though.