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Reading Celebrated at Fiction Award Ceremony

  • BCFA authors and local pupils
  • BCFA workshop Christopher Edge
  • BCFA signing Emma Carroll
  • BCFA Workshop Laurence Anholt
  • BCFA signing Theresa Breslin
  • BCFA Old Boy compere
  • BCFA ceremony
  • BCFA younger fiction winner Lisa Thompson
  • BCFA winner Tamsyn Murray
  • BCFA authors with Head Girl and Captain
  • BCFA Authors and Bolton School pupils

Six authors and more than seven hundred pupils enjoyed a morning of celebrating reading before the announcement of the 2018 Bolton Children’s Fiction Award winners. Bolton School hosted the Award Ceremony and a morning of sessions with all six of the shortlisted authors.

Twenty-three schools attended the 2018 Award Ceremony and morning of author talks. This year for the first time primary schools were involved, reading three books selected from the shortlist as most appropriate for younger readers and voting for a Younger Fiction winner. The whole of Years 5 and 7 at Bolton School’s Junior and Senior Schools also took part in the day.

Following a warm welcome from Miss Hincks, the Girls’ Division Headmistress, pupils dispersed around the School to enjoy two sessions with the visiting authors: Laurence Anholt (The Hypnotist), Theresa Breslin (Caged), Emma Carroll (Letters from the Lighthouse), Christopher Edge (The Jamie Drake Equation), Tamsyn Murray (Instructions for a Second-Hand Heart) and Lisa Thompson (Goldfish Boy).

The authors gave interesting and individual presentations. They talked about their work, with particular focus on the book that was shortlisted for this year’s award, but also discussed reading, their other books, writing and the publishing process, where they find inspiration and how they develop ideas. Christopher Edge even explained elements of quantum physics and Schrödinger’s famous experiment in his session! Many pupils took advantage of the opportunity to ask probing questions based on their reading for the Award.

After lunch, there was a book signing in the Boys’ Division Great Hall. Book sales by pre-order and on the day were provided by Ebb & Flo Bookshop, and pupils were delighted to have the chance to chat with the authors and get their books signed.

Pupils returned to the Girls’ Division Great Hall for the main event. The Bolton Children’s Fiction Award Ceremony was compered by Old Boy and crime fiction author Robert Parker. Robert, who left the school in 2001, gave a summary of his career so far. He also spoke about the importance of seeing the silver lining in everything and his attitude of using rejection and bad reviews to spur him on.

A series of fantastic book trailers created by pupils from St James’ were shown, each one highlighting a different book from the shortlist and capturing the emotion, excitement and key themes of the story. This was followed by a few words from each of the shortlisted authors.

Laurence Anholt spoke of books as doorways to other worlds, and said that enjoying reading is about finding the right book and the right door. Theresa Breslin read an excerpt from Whispers in the Graveyard which was about the power of words and reading. Emma Carroll talked about being a writer as a ‘dream come true’ and the way that bookworms feel about books. Christopher Edge mentioned NASA’s Voyager spaceship and his regret that children’s books weren’t included on the Golden Record, because they help to make sense of the world. Tamsyn Murray was delighted to be in a room full of people who love reading. Lisa Thompson offered her top five pieces of advice to the young writers in the room. They all thanked the audience and said how pleased they were to have been shortlisted for the Award.

Then the time finally came for Robert to announce the two winners to the excited audience:

The Younger Fiction winner was Lisa Thompson with Goldfish Boy.

The Bolton Children’s Fiction Award winner was Tamsyn Murray with Instructions for a Second-Hand Heart.

In a letter to all of the staff who attended the day with their pupils, Tamsyn wrote: “At a time when we are often told reading is in decline, I can’t tell you how much pleasure it gave me (and all the other authors) to know that we were in a room full of children who were already readers, a lot of whom had read some or all of the phenomenal shortlisted books. Your students are the real winners, because I believe reading is at the heart of everything we do and it confers so many gifts. ... It was a real thrill to stand and look around the room at all of you. It means ever such a lot to have won – thanks again for all you’ve done to make the award a success.”

The day of author sessions and the ceremony was organised by Head Librarian Mrs Howarth and the Bolton School library staff. Throughout the day, they were ably assisted by Prefects, Monitors and Year 8 and 9 Ambassadors who had been chosen for their active participation in the Award in previous years.

Mrs Howarth and the librarians are already considering books for the 2019 Bolton Children’s Fiction Award, and pupils were asked for their suggestions on the day. Next year’s shortlist will be launched on 28 September 2018.


Read more about the books on the 2018 shortlist here.

Re-live the excitement of the Award from launch to winner announcements on Twitter here.

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