Southern Schools Book Award 2005 Presentation Evening

The author and past Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo has won the 2005 Southern Schools Book Award with his work Private Peaceful. Highly Commended was Anne Cassidy with Looking for JJ.

Other titles selected for the shortlist were Bali Rai’s Rani and Sukh , Celia Rees’ Pirates! and Tom Pow’s The Pack.

This second Southern Schools Book Award ceremony was held at Eastbourne Central Library on Friday 20th January 2006. It was the culmination of several months of reading, discussing and debating for the students of nineteen schools across the region. Voting took place early in December. The winning title however remained a closely guarded secret until the actual event.

The 2005 shortlist was selected not just by librarians and teachers but also with a high level of input from students. Each title, recognised for its standard of excellence, generated lively discussion across the schools. The content of the books was reflected by the final voting figures which were very close indeed.

presentation_eve_05_announceHost for the evening was Eleanor Updale: author of the Montmorency series of books and last year’s first ever SSBA winner. Eleanor introduced the authors who spoke about themselves, their work and read a short passage from their respective books.

Sadly Michael was unable to attend the evening event but Eleanor read a moving passage from Private Peaceful and a short message sent by the author.

presentation_eve_05_2Around 170 students attended the evening, each of whom received a £5 book token from sponsor Daniel Tenant of Microlibrarian systems. They were able to purchase copies of the shortlist from Waterstones Book Shop who were also present.

Students then went in search of the authors and the venue became alive with the excited buzz of reader and author questions and answers.

Congratulations to Michael Morpurgo and Anne Cassidy and an enormous thank you to all the others authors who attended our students’ evening. Also to Elean

or, a wonderful host.

Members of the SSBA would also like thank their sponsors Softlink, Browns Books, St Bede’s School, Morrisons, and East Sussex County Council Schools Library Service.

The SSBA is now heading off to the start of its third year, a year in which we will be welcoming new schools including Roedean School in South Africa!

“The Southern Schools Book Award has the potential to become one of the top teenage awards going ” – an observation from Celia Rees following Friday’s event.