Updated: Feb 21
It's rare for me to take time off writing these days. However, going up to Falkirk earlier this week was a great reason to pause and update everyone on what's been happening.
When I found out last year that "Sky Thieves" got shortlisted for the Red Book Award 2019 I knew we were in for a good ceremony. My book was shortlisted alongside three others: "I Am Traitor" by Sif Sigmarsdóttir, "Sunflowers in February" by Phyllida Shrimpton and "Kick" by Mitch Johnson. As part of this reading initiative, the children from participating secondary schools around Falkirk pick the books that appeal to them most and vote for their favourite. For the authors, the two-day event consisted of school visits (I had a pleasure of visiting Bo'ness Academy and Denny High School) and an award ceremony.
Here's me doing a talk at Bo'ness Academy (we had a spare few minutes to take some selfies at the end!)
The next day we went to Falkirk Town Hall to attend the ceremony. On arrival we were greeted by a team of uber-friendly librarians and the colour red, which permanently decorated the walls of the FTH.
Shortly after opening of the ceremony, all four authors were invited to give short speeches to the schools present.
Here's me (or more like my ghost) giving a speech. Note the all-in-red decor.
Following the speeches, there was a showcase of alternative book trailers produced by the kids. This was probably the best part of the whole ceremony. The children acted out scenes from the shortlisted books and us authors voted for our favourite trailers at the end.
Here are a few images from the "Sky Thieves" trailer.
Next, came time for book signing and chatting to the children individually. Around us, as we did this, were some very creative drawings of alternative "Sky Thieves" book covers as well as Top Trump Cards the children put together at school.
Once we'd finished signing, we were invited to the red sofa for a Q&A session, during which children asked the authors any burning questions on their minds.
Here's a photo from this session.
And the winner was announced! This year's winner of the Red Book Award was Phyllida's "Sunflowers in February."
Though "Sky Thieves" didn't win this time, it was great to be part of "Red" and celebrate reading with the children of Falkirk. A huge appreciation goes to the incredibly hardworking and inspiring librarians who run the award. Also a huge "thank you" to the teachers, who've been supporting the kids on their journey and putting together the artwork and videos of the books.
A really amazing experience up in Scotland. See you all again soon!