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Scottish Arts Council Children's Book Awards


The children's book 'Oscars', the Scottish Arts Council Book Awards, are presented today in Glasgow. Judges this year have found more than ever to get excited about in the world of Scottish children's fiction, selecting six winning titles and one highly commended book, two more than in previous years.

The awards, totalling £6,000 go to a wide range of titles, from those writing beautifully illustrated books for younger children to those writing exhilarating and thought-provoking books for teenagers.

The winners are:

  • Harvey Angell Beats Time by Diana Hendry
  • Ruthie's Big Old Coat by Julie Lacome
  • How to Avoid Kissing Your Parents in Public by Lindsay McRae
  • Who Is the World For? by Tom Pow and illustrated by Robert Ingpen
  • Second Chance by Alison Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
  • Points North edited by Lindsey Fraser was highly commended.

Julie Bertagna, Chair of the Scottish Arts Council Children's Award Panel said:
""It is often said that great children's fiction interests and excites but also challenges and inspires. Our award winners have definitely proven that to be true. While J K Rowling is the best-known author on the list, the awards given this year show that there is a fantastic quality across a wide range of Scottish children's fiction. With Scotland's great literary tradition it is wonderful to see Scottish writers producing children's fiction that stands with the best in the world.""

James Boyle, Chairman of the Scottish Arts Council presenting the awards said:
"Scotland has a long and rich tradition of writing for children and young people with writers such as J M Barrie, Kenneth Graham and Robert Louis Stevenson and I hope that some of these award winners will go on to take their place alongside these great names. These awards reflect the huge importance which the Scottish Arts Council places on all forms of art for children and young people."

J K Rowling who, as a struggling writer, was helped by an award from the Scottish Arts Council, has decided to donate her award money towards its New Writers Bursaries Scheme to help other first-time authors.

Jenny Brown, Head of Literature at the Scottish Arts Council, encourages new writers to apply for funding: ""JK Rowling and three of the other winners have received funding from the Scottish Arts Council in the past. Their experience shows that funding given to new authors can be crucial in helping them produce work which will ultimately touch many people's lives. The New Writers Bursaries scheme is a pilot scheme introduced in 2001/2 in response to high demand from writers with few or no previous publications. Eight bursaries of £2,000 each are available and who knows? -with the help of a bursary someone for whom writing is still a dream at the moment could end up joining these wonderful authors in winning a Children's Book Award.""

The successful authors said:

Diana Hendry: "I have a slight sense of guilt as I have only been living in Scotland for two and half years but the Award has made me feel very welcome in Scotland and in the book community. I had written two books that had sent Harvey Angell into the past and as it was the millennium I wanted to send him into the future."

Julie Lacome: ""This is the first book I've illustrated which is based on a true story about my childhood. The illustrative style is different from my previous books and I feel allows for more freedom to create individual characters and humour. As I feel it is very different from my previous work, I was apprehensive about how it would be received. I was therefore absolutely thrilled when I received the news that I was to get an award for it. Thank you. You've helped give me the confidence to continue attempting to write and illustrate my own stories.""

Lindsay MacRae: ""I'm delighted. I've never won anything before, not even a raffle, so winning a prize for my poetry is wonderful.""

Tom Pow: ""The question 'Who Is The World For?' was in many ways a 'given', but I worked hard to answer it as clearly as I could and Robert Ingpen illustrated it magnificently. We're both delighted that's been recognised with this award.""

Alison Prince: ""I'm thrilled to bits to receive the Award. It is tremendously important to keep children's writing in the public eye. It tends to be ignored and regarded as something less than 'proper' writing for adults whereas it actually requires very special skills.""

J K Rowling: ""'I'm delighted to be chosen for one of the Scottish Arts Council Children's Book Awards for Goblet of Fire. An award that is so particularly Scottish means a lot to me.""

Lindsey Fraser (Highly commended): "" I am immensely grateful to all the writers for their contributions. Without any input from me beyond the invitation to write, they came up with such original, varied writing, all of it infused with their own experience of being Scottish.""

Pointing to a New Direction in Young People's Fiction

Points North, edited by Lindsey Fraser, was highly commended by the judges in this year's Scottish Arts Council Children's Book Awards. Though a book of short stories would not normally be considered in the Children's Book Awards the achievement of Points North was too great to be ignored.

Jenny Brown, Head of Literature at the Scottish Arts Council said, ""Lindsey has gathered together a group of well known authors, including Gordon Legge, Iain Crichton Smith and Candia McWilliam, many of whom have not previously attempted children's work. They have clearly seized this opportunity and I think this book contains some of the most outstanding examples of children's short fiction I have ever read.""

The inspiration for the book came from Lindsey Fraser of the Scottish Books Trust, who had long dreamed of putting together an anthology of this kind. Explaining what motivated her, she said:

""Editing this anthology gave me the opportunity to blur the distinction between writing for adults and writing for young people. I think it's a distinction which all too conveniently ring-fences writers and I'd like to think that Points North has contributed to a rethink of those occasionally facile categorisations. I am immensely grateful to all the writers for their contributions. Without any input from me beyond the invitation to write, they came up with original, varied writing, all of it infused with their own experience of being Scottish.""

Despite the fact that collections of short stories had not been considered eligible for Children's Book Awards in the past the judges wanted to recognise the innovative and important contribution that Points North has made to children's literature. Therefore a new category of highly commended was created which, though it does not carry with it any financial award, clearly indicates the judges' appreciation of the book and the scale of its achievement.

Julie Bertagna, Chair of the judging panel and herself one of the contributors to the book said: ""Obviously, as one of the writers I was delighted that the other judges felt so strongly about the quality of the book that they wished to give it an award. I am very proud to have my name linked with the other wonderful authors who have contributed to Points North.""

As the editor and one of the contributors to Points North, Lindsey Fraser will receive the book's award in Glasgow on 30 May 2001at the Scottish Arts Council Children Book Awards, along with fellow prize winners.

Details of the Scottish Arts Council Children's Book Awards Winners

Diana Hendry, Harvey Angell Beats Time (Award £1000)
Random House £3.99
Diana Hendry first began writing for children while at Bristol University. Later she had to juggle her writing with teaching at a boys' school as well as at the University of the West of England and tutoring for the Open University. Diana Hendry is now a highly acclaimed adult poet and novelist for all age groups. However, it is perhaps for her Harvey Angell books that Diana is best known: the first of the series won the Whitbread Award for Children's Books in 1991. Diana now lives in Edinburgh and splits her time between her challenging work bringing literature to prisons and psychiatric hospitals, and writing.

Julie Lacome, Ruthie's Big Old Coat (Award £1000)
Walker Books £7.99
Julie Lacome was born in 1961. Her interest in art was encouraged from an early age by her family - her father was Principal of Dundee College of Art and her elder sister and brother in law are both illustrators. After graduating from Edinburgh College of Art and St. Martin's School of Art, London, Julie worked as a freelance illustrator. Her work included illustrating pictures for use on Playschool and designing greetings cards and paper. Her first book was published in 1987 and she has since written and illustrated many books including I'm A Jolly Farmer, which was shortlisted for the 1994 Sheffield Children's Book Award.

Lindsay MacRae, How to Avoid Kissing Your Parents in Public (Award £1000)
Puffin £3.99
As her name suggests, Lindsay MacRae is of Scottish descent. Her Great Aunts - Peigi and Mairi MacRae - were famous Gaelic bards from the Hebridean island of South Uist. At university, Lindsay studied Drama and then Film and Television. After graduating, she sang and played saxophone in various pop groups before moving to Rome where she worked as a newsreader for Vatican Radio. This was followed by jobs in the record industry and journalism before becoming a television presenter for various youth and arts programmes. Since leaving school, Lindsay has performed her poetry live in pubs, clubs, arts centres and schools all over the country, as well as on radio and TV. Her poetry for adults has appeared in several anthologies and she was co-editor of Dancing the Tightrope, a collection of women's love poetry. Lindsay was the first Literature Development Worker in London. Lindsay became a full-time poet in 1993. Her first poetry collection for kids was You Canny Shove Yer Granny Off a Bus!, published in 1995. How to Avoid Kissing Your Parents in Public followed in 2000.

Tom Pow, Who is the World For? (Award £500)
Walker Books
Tom is a native of Edinburgh but has lived the last 25 years in Dumfries, where he lectures in Creative Art at Crichton College. Tom is one of Scotland's best known poets; the winner of two Scottish Arts Council Book Awards for his poetry he has also written three radio plays and a travel book on Peru. He has recently formed Cacafuego Press with the artist Hugh Bryden, and together they hope to ""explore the marriage of image and text in a wide variety of ways."". Who is the World For? is his first picture book and was written for his own children, when he was travelling through Africa a few years ago. Other writer's bursaries have taken him to the Dominican Republic, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil. These opportunities fuelled Tom's belief in the creative partnership between writing and travel, confirming his opinion that ""writing is not a hobby but a way of being in the world"".

Robert Ingpen, Who is the World For? (Award £500)
Walker Books
Robert Ingpen has published more than one hundred books in the last thirty years. In 1986 he was awarded the prestigious international award, the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, and in 1989 he received the Dromkeen Medal for his contribution to illustration in his home country, Australia. Robert is married with four grown up children and four grandchildren.

Alison Prince, Second Chance (Award £1000)
Barrington Stoke £4.50
Alison Prince is an accomplished artist and a respected biographer and poet, as well as one of our top writers for young people. Her life and career to date has been enviably varied, colourful and successful: from penning those immortal words Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew .... for the Trumpton TV series, to writing a novel with the help of 21 Lincolnshire children (How's Business, 1987) to winning the Guardian Children's Fiction Award in 1996 with her contemporary Glaswegian Robin Hood story, The Sherwood Hero. In between times she also won a scholarship to the Slade School of Fine Art, raised three children, managed a small farm in Suffolk and produced major, highly acclaimed biographies of Kenneth Graham and Hans Christian Andersen. For the last fifteen years she has lived in Arran and writes a regular column, On the Green, for the Arran Banner. Second Chance is the second book she has written for Barrington Stoke. Screw Loose was published in 1998 and is one of Barrington Stoke's best-selling titles.

JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Award £1000)
Bloomsbury £14.99
JK (Joanne Kathleen) Rowling grew up in Chepstow, Gwent. She had always wanted to be a writer and wrote her first 'book' at the age of six - a story about a rabbit called Rabbit! She left Chepstow for Exeter University, where her course included one year in Paris. She started writing Harry Potter after the idea occurred to her on an interminable Manchester - London train journey. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published by Bloomsbury Children's Books in June 1997 to great critical acclaim. The second title in the series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, was published in July 1998 and was No. 1 in the overall adult hardback bestseller charts for a month after publication. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was published at 3.45pm on 8th July 1999 to nationwide acclaim and massive press attention. Within the first three hours of publication, it outsold the first 24 hours of Hannibal, and spent four weeks at No.1 in the hardback bestseller charts. The fourth book in the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was published on 8th July 2000 with a record first print run of 1 million copies. It quickly broke all records for the greatest number of books sold on the first day of publication, as well as going straight to the top of the bestseller charts. She lives in Edinburgh and continues to write in cafés.

Lindsey Fraser (editor) Points North
Egmont Children's Books £4.99
Lindsey Fraser grew up in Edinburgh. She worked as a children's bookseller in Edinburgh and Cambridge before returning to Scotland to work with Scottish Book Trust the organisation which promotes the pleasures of reading and books to people of all ages. Clearing My Head is her first published story.

Scottish Arts Council Children's Book Awards Winners 1999-2001

  • Ruthie's Big Old Coat by Julie Lacome
  • Who Is the World For? by Tom Pow and illustrated by Robert Ingpen
  • Harvey Angell Beats Time by Diana Hendry
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
  • How to Avoid Kissing Your Parents in Public by Lindsay McRae
  • Second Chance by Alison Prince.
  • Points North edited by Lindsey Fraser was highly commended

  • Mr Bear's New Baby by Debi Gliori
  • The Queen's Birthday Hat by Margaret Ryan, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont
  • The Story of Scotland by Richard Brassey and Stewart Ross, illustrated by Richard Brassey.
  • Whirlwind by Judith O'Neill
  • Soundtrack by Julie Bertagna

  • Supposing by Frances Thomas and Ross Collins
  • Fighting Back by Catherine MacPhail
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J K Rowling
  • The Boggart and the Monster by Susan Cooper
  • Tom and the Tree House by Joan Lingard "

Notes to editors

  1. The Scottish Arts Council Children's Book Awards were created in 1999 as part of an initiative to encourage and recognise high standards in writing for children in Scotland. The Awards are open to writers and illustrators living in Scotland, or books of particular Scottish interest. Past winners have included Joan Lingard, Susan Cooper and Judith O'Neill (see full list ).
  2. The books were judged by the Children's Book Award Group which comprised:
    Julie Bertagna (Chair): Highly acclaimed author, writing for both younger and older children, and mother.
    Pat Kane: Journalist, author, musician, and father of two.
    Marc Lambert: Assistant Director - Children and Education - of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and father of two.
  3. Transparencies of the winning books available on request.
    Running Order

    12 noon - Photocall for prize winners with children*

    12:30 pm - Start of presentation of Awards

    Jenny Brown, Head of Literature, Scottish Arts Council
    James Boyle, Chairman, Scottish Arts Council

    Speakers: Julie Bertagna, Chair, Scottish Arts Council Children's Award Panel
    Pat Kane, judge, Scottish Arts Council Children's Award Panel
    Marc Lambert, judge, Scottish Arts Council Children's Award Panel

    1 pm - Presentation of awards by James Boyle

    * Children: Sorley Richardson, aged 8 from Edinburgh and Patrick Wallace, aged 8, from Aberdour

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Issued by: Scottish Arts Council

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