So chuffed to get an email in my inbox this morning saying ‘I Predict a Riot has been longlisted for The Amazing Book Awards. Partly, of course, cos it’s a Sussex Awards and Sussex holds a very special place in my heart. Happiest days of my childhood were spent flying kites on the Devil’s Dyke up on the South Downs, rockpooling at Rottingdean, playing in the woods in Patcham and finding pebbles on Brighton Beach. So this one’s a bit close to my heart.
But the ABAs are also really special because they’re all nominated by kids in schools, which always makes it particularly lovely to be on the shortlist. Every year from a long-list of selected books the schools choose their favourite 5 titles because student voice is the most important part of the ABAs. When it comes to voting there is no panel vote or veto. Only the students can decide who their bronze, silver and gold winners will be.
As an author-teacher (or am I a teacher-author? Actually it really depends on what day of the week you ask me. And let’s not even get into the fact that I’m also two authors at once – check out www.cateshearwater.com if you don’t already know about my not-so-secret alter-ego identity!) Anyway, suffice to say I teach English some days and I write on others, so it makes me particularly excited to see students being given a voice, empowered to talk about and rant about and moan and rave about books. It just makes me feel a bit warm and fuzzy. I won’t go on about this (cos I really could) but let’s just say that it’s not a coincidence that it’s an English teacher and a book that makes all the difference for one of my most beloved characters in ‘I Predict a Riot’ – because I think that the books you love when you’re a teen do shape who you are, open your eyes, expand your horizons, enrich your life, enlarge your sympathies, challenge your preconceptions, rock your world – leave a fossil print on your soul.
So, I love and award that gets students reading and I am unutterably chuffed to have been longlisted for this one! Thank you @SussexABA!