Riveting fantasy story scoops Concorde Book Award 2024

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Bookshelves in a library

A novel which tells the magical story of a boy who finds friendship in a ghost who helps provide the courage to escape from oppression has been voted as the 2024 winner of South Gloucestershire’s literature prize for young people, the Concorde Book Award.

Author of ‘Ghostcloud’, Michael Mann, beat off competition from five other young people’s fiction titles to claim the coveted award.

This is the welcome return of the awards after they paused during the covid pandemic, last being held in 2020. As before, this year’s winner was chosen after an exciting district-wide reading challenge in which young people from groups throughout South Gloucestershire read their way through a shortlist of titles.

Votes were cast on World Book Day (7 March) and the winner was announced at a celebration event for the young people taking part at Bristol and Bath Science Park at Emersons Green on Tuesday 12 March.

Winning author Michael Mann attended the event together with special guest authors Jasbinder Bilan, the Costa Award – winning author of ‘Asha and the Spirit Bird’, ‘Tamarind & the Star of Ishta’ and ‘Aarti and the Blue Gods’, and Sophie Cleverly, a previous Concorde Award short listed author of the ‘Scarlet & Ivy’ and ‘Violet Veil’ series.

Chair of South Gloucestershire Council, Councillor Mike Drew, said: “Congratulations to Michael for winning this award from what was a shortlist full of excellent books. Reading can be so important for people of all ages and The Concorde Book Award encourages young people to maintain a passion for reading throughout their teens and enjoy the pleasure and social benefits of reading in groups.”

Winning author, Michael Mann, said: “I’m over the moon to have won the Concorde Book Award 2024. These awards mean so much to us authors, it’s so important to know you’ve connected with young readers – that’s what it’s all about for me. Ghostcloud is my first book and I’m on cloud-9!”

The Concorde Book Award is a long-running book award run by South Gloucestershire schools and public libraries in which groups of young people read a shortlist of novels. They are then encouraged to join a reading group, whether at school or in a local library, to read six books and talk about them with other group members, before voting on their favourite title.

The scheme aims to promote a love of reading among 11-14 year olds (Year 7 to 9 secondary school students, Key stage 3), and thousands of young people have taken part since it was launched in 2007.

The Award is unique in being one of the few literary awards that involves children and young people all the way through from choosing the longlist and the winner, to delivering presentations and author interviews at the annual award ceremony.

Shortlisted books are made available from South Gloucestershire public and school libraries, and voting takes place on World Book Day each year.

This year’s shortlisted titles were:

  • ‘Ghostcloud’ by Michael Mann (Winner)
  • ‘Our Castle by the Sea’ by Lucy Strange
  • ‘Skandar and the Unicorn Thief’ by AF Steadman
  • ‘The Monkey Who fell from the Future’ by Ross Welford
  • ‘Cinderella is Dead’ by Kalynn Bayron
  • ‘The Book Kills’ by Ravena Guron.

For more information about South Gloucestershire Council’s libraries visit www.facebook.com/sgloslibraries or find us on Twitter @southgloslibs