For the first time in the award’s history, two authors have shared first place in South Gloucestershire’s literature prize for young people the Concorde Book Award.
Murder mystery thriller ‘One of us is Lying’ (by Karen M McManus) and the moving and powerful novel ‘Paper Butterflies’ (by Lisa Heathfield) have both been chosen as the 2019 winners. The two authors beat off competition from four other shortlisted young people’s fiction titles to jointly claim the coveted award.
Once again this year’s winners were chosen after an exciting district-wide reading challenge in which hundreds of young people from public and school library reading groups throughout South Gloucestershire read their way through a shortlist of six books.
Votes were cast on World Book Day (Thursday 7 March) and the winner was announced on Tuesday 12 March at a gala event at the Bristol and Bath Science Park at Emersons Green.
Vice-Chair of South Gloucestershire Council Cllr Brian Allinson presented the award. He said: “I’m thrilled to have been involved with the Concorde Book Award this year. Congratulations to all the young people who have taken part, their enthusiasm and love for reading really is inspiring. My thanks go to South Gloucestershire’s libraries and schools who have worked together to organise this award, which celebrates young people’s reading and gives young people a stage to share their interests and achievements. Finally, congratulations to the two authors for their well-deserved wins.”
Receiving the award, ‘Paper Butterflies’ author Lisa Heathfield said: “I’m incredibly honoured to have won the Concorde Book Award 2019, particularly as it was voted for by teen readers. And it was such a special event – meeting the fantastic students and sharing their love of books. I spend my days writing away at my kitchen table, so it really is a dream come true to hear their love for Paper Butterflies.”
The awards event saw a number of young people give presentations about their favourite books and conduct interviews with the shortlisted authors who attended. This year’s award ceremony was also co-hosted by three young people from Abbeywood Community School and The Castle School.
Guest speaker, author Virginia Bergin had an inspirational message for the audience: “I think the Concorde Book Award is a brilliant event – and a brilliant way to get the word out there: you CAN become an author.”
The Concorde Book Award is a long-running ‘young people’s Booker’ 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 giving 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 in March each year.
This year’s shortlisted titles were ‘A Place Called Perfect’ by Helena Duggan; ‘A Pocket Full of Murder’ by R J Anderson; ‘Kick’ by Mitch Johnson; ‘One of us is Lying’ by Karen M McManus; ‘Paper Butterflies’ by Lisa Heathfield; and ‘The Explorer’ by Katherine Rundell.
Participants are also encouraged to contribute to a dedicated online forum as part of the process of sharing views on each book http://concorde2019.edublogs.org/. There is an award for the group that makes the best contribution to the blog.