Southern Schools Book Award 2013 Presentation Evening

malorie_drum_rollJanuary 10th 2014 marked the tenth annual Southern Schools Book Award Presentation Evening which was held again this year at Roedean School. The event was hosted by author and Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman who won the award last year with her book Boys Don’t Cry.

The five shortlisted books for 2013 were Kevin Brooks with The Bunker Diary, Kate Cann with Witch Crag,
Sally Gardner with Maggot Moon, Michelle Harrison with Unrest and broadcaster Simon Mayo with Itch.

The presentation was attended by some 290 young judges and represented 34 schools from across Kent and Sussex.

Malorie began the evening by introducing each author in turn and they were then invited to speak briefly about their book and read a short passage. Sadly Michelle Harrison was unable to attend having just had a baby boy before Christmas and Simon Mayo was presenting his radio show. Simon had sent a short video clip in which he spoke about Itch and Malorie read a message of thanks from Michelle… and so the fun had begun!

The evening moved on with the young judges again this year receiving a £7 book token which was handed to the school representative by benefactor Joolz Clothier.

kevin_acceptance-3Then of course the moment everyone was waiting for. Accompanied by a foot drum roll, where Malorie encouraged the judges to make as much noise as possible, the Highly Commended title was announced. It went to Kate Cann for her book Witch Crag; she accepted her award to cheers from the audience. Now an even louder drum roll as slowly Malorie took the card from the gold envelope and proclaimed that Kevin Brooks was the 2013 winner. A deafening cheer this time as a visibly moved Kevin collected his award and responded to the judges. The Bunker Diary is a gripping book that had generated a great deal of discussion across the schools.

Malorie then rounded the evening with thanks to the judges, organisers and to Roedean School and was thanked in turn by a Roedean student who handed her a beautiful basket of flowers.

authors_signing-3-smallgirls_in-_queue-1The judges then eagerly moved on to spend their book tokens on a range of the authors’ books brought to Roedean by the owners of the local book shop Book Nook, after which they queued to meet and have their purchases signed by the authors.

And so another great and very entertaining evening came to a close with Kevin agreeing to uphold the SSBA tradition by hosting next year’s award event.

Just some of the comments received:

Thank you and all the organisers for Friday, what a wonderful evening, such a lot of organisation and you did, as always, a splendid job.
Davison High School for Girls

Great evening as usual, well done to you and your team, our students had a fabulous time.
Hove Park School

Thank you so much for organising a fantastic evening on Friday – I can’t imagine how much work it took to pull it off! Our students loved it and I thought Malorie Blackman was a great host.
Blatchington Mill School

Grateful thanks go to the staff and students at Roedean School, authors, Book Nook, Joolz Clothier and of course the young judges.