Flipping Nora! This month just gets better and better! First it was The Carnegie Medal nomination, now I’ve just found out that We Can be Heroes has also been long-listed for The Redbridge Children’s Book Award AND short-listed for The Centurion Book Award. I’m shocked and honoured and completely humbled – and more than just a little bit excited about all this. I can’t honestly begin to explain how utterly wonderful it is to think that anyone out there is even reading the book; so the idea that folks might think it is worthy of short-listing/long-listing for an award is simply mind-blowing.
It’s especially lovely because both awards have been voted for by young readers. The Redbridge Children’s Book Award is run by schools and libraries in the London Borough of Redbridge. Aiming to highlight the best new reading for children and teenagers and to get young people reading and talking about books, long-listed titles are selected by school librarians, library staff and children. I love the idea that over the next few months pupils in Redbridge schools will be sitting round talking about, and getting excited about books – including my book! I also love it that they’ll be writing their own stuff at the same time. What a totally amazing award!
The Centurion ‘s Children’s Book Prize is voted for by school students and librarians in my home city of Bath which makes it a really special one for me. And no, I haven’t been going round Bath bribing ‘da yoof’ with bubble gum lollipops (although I do always carry a stash in my handbag for anyone who can do my ‘Smurf’ challenge – drop me a line if you want to know more!) But I still have this little fantasy about walking into Waterstones (or Mr B’s or Toppings or Smiths or Ex Libris or any of the other fab bookshops in Bath and around!) and seeing someone actually buying a copy of We Can be Heroes. Or – even better – sitting on the bus, or on the platform at the station, or in the park with my kids and seeing a total stranger actually reading it! Mind you, I’m not sure I’ll be able to behave with any dignity if this actually ever happens so perhaps the parents of Bath should lock up their book-reading kidd-winkles for fear of them being accosted by a crazed midget local author with a handbag full of sweeties! I suppose what I’m saying is that being short-listed for a Bath based award is pretty darned exciting for me so thank you, students of Bath and Centurion folks!
Right, now I mustn’t get carried away with all this. I have another novel to finish the copy edits on (it’s called Pop! and it’s Billy Elliot meets The X Factor via Slumdog Millionaire and I am dead excited about it). I’ve also got another very new manuscript which I am anxiously awaiting my agent’s verdict on – so I need to get my head out of the clouds and keep scribbling! But excuse me if I just do a little jig and sing a few verses of The Smurf anthem first cos this week I’m, feeling a bit like a contestant on The X Factor – and I just don’t want the journey to end!!!