POPULAR author Gillian Cross has added another honour to her collection after schoolchildren voted her as Bolton Children’s Fiction Award Winner 2014.
Some of the UK’s top children’s authors joined Gillian, winner of the 1990 Carnegie Medal and 1992 Whitbread Children’s Book Award, at the ceremony hosted by Bolton School.
The books shortlisted for the award were Gillian Cross, After Tomorrow; Sam Hepburn, Chasing the Dark; Gareth P. Jones, Constable & Toop, Gill Lewis, Moon Bear, Jon Robinson, Nowhere, and Julia Golding, Young Knights of the Round Table.
Since September children from schools across Bolton have been reading the books, taking part in discussions and workshops to decide which author is worthy of the prize.
Gillian said: “It is absolutely fantastic to have been chosen as this year’s winner. I really value that the award has been voted for by young people, they are the people who we want to read our books.
“They say they have enjoyed reading the book, and I think they have been excited about working together with other schools. From this, I would like the young people to get a sense of the huge number of exciting different books out there. The books they have read for the awards are just tip of the iceberg.”
The ceremony was introduced by 2006 Bolton Children’s Fiction Award winner Joe Craig.
He said: “It is a huge honour for all of us to be here, and it’s a pleasure for me. When I wrote my story about a genetically engineered assassin, I didn’t know if anyone else would like it — I just knew that I loved it. To find out that the people of Bolton liked it too was a huge boost.”
The second highlight of the ceremony saw teenager Daniel Taylor win the only proof copy of Jon Robinson’s novel Anywhere, which has not yet been released, after his name was picked in a prize draw.
The 13-year-old from Westhoughton High School said: “It is great to win the manuscript, there is no other copy like it.
“Jon is one of my favourite authors because his books are futuristic and exciting.
“It has been good taking part in the awards.” Cassia Drummond, aged 11, added: “It was fun reading all the books. It was really exciting meeting the authors because you get to meet the people behind the books.”
The competition was organised by the school’s library service.
Senior librarian Maria Howarth said: “I think the awards have been amazing, we have had a phenomenal response and all the authors attended.
“Through the awards I would like young people develop their enthusiasm for reading.”