On Friday, I took a train up to Newcastle for the North East Teenage Book Award, which ACID had been shortlisted for along with Kerry Drewery's A DREAM OF LIGHTS, Paula Rawsthorne's BLOOD TRACKS, Alison Rattle's THE QUIETNESS, Laura Lam's PANTOMIME and Matt Whyman's THE SAVAGES.
The awards ceremony was held at Newcastle's Centre for Life. All six of us authors were able to attend along with over 200 students from 26 schools plus teachers, parents and librarians, with professional storyteller Alec Williams hosting the event. Students had been chosen to introduce each of us – my student was Lucy, who read out one of the loveliest reviews for ACID I've ever had! Then we had to each give a short speech, and answer some questions posed to us by the various schools.
And then they announced the winner…
I was so shocked – I didn't think I was in with a chance as the rest of the shortlisted books are absolutely fantastic and all equally deserving of the award (you must read them if you haven't already!). I actually got choked up when I was saying thank you to everyone! And Kerry Drewery, who I share an agent with, won the Highly Commended award. Needless to say, we now have a very happy agent - go, Team London Independent Books!
It means so much to have won this award because the winner is voted for by the teenagers themselves – our readers. It was wonderful to meet so many of them afterwards at the book signing and chat to them. I even met some aspiring authors – I hope I'll see their books on the shelves some day!
So a HUGE thank you to everyone who voted for ACID, to Alec for being such a fantastic host and to the organisers for arranging such a great evening, especially Eileen Armstrong. Here is my winner's certificate and my trophy – a 'Geordie' mug which I will treasure.
And as if that wasn't exciting enough… ACID has been shortlisted for the Doncaster Book Award (I LOVE the reviews on ACID's post!), and longlisted for the Branford Boase Award along with several author friends including Helen Douglas, CJ Flood, Dan Smith, Emma Carroll, Fletcher Moss, Sarah Naughton and Amy McCulloch. This award also recognises the editors of the books, which makes it extra-special, as editors are often the unsung heroes of the book world.
Happy Monday, everyone!