Woo hoo! A huge congratulations to Tom Avery, who is the winner of the 2010 Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award, which was presented at Seven Stories, the national Centre for Children’s Books, yesterday.
Here’s the media release:
Tom Avery, a teacher working in a culturally diverse inner city school, has won the Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Award 2010 for Too Much Trouble, a story the judges described as ‘an Oliver Twist of our times’. The contemporary adventure story is a dramatic page-turner about Emmanuel and Prince, two brothers who fall in with a gang of pickpockets when their family abandons them. Fast paced and full of tension, it explores big issues such as illegal immigration, what makes a family and the ethical dilemmas surrounding crimes committed for survival.
The Award was founded jointly by Frances Lincoln Limited and Seven Stories, in memory of Frances Lincoln (1945-2001) to encourage and promote diversity in children’s fiction. The prize of £1,500 plus the option for Janetta Otter-Barry at Frances Lincoln Children’s Books to publish the novel is awarded to the best manuscript for 8 to 12-year-olds that celebrates diversity in the widest possible sense.
The distinguished panel of judges for this international Award, who are not given any information about the writers until they have made their decisions, agreed that the standard of entries this year was consistently good. There were more contemporary stories to enjoy, compared to the entries for last year’s inaugural Award, with settings ranging from Nigeria to Newcastle, Manchester and the Midlands. The judges looked for a strong story that an 8 to 12-year-old would want to read rather than a worthy book that overtly explores social issues. The decision to give the Award to Too Much Trouble was unanimous. The panel said:
“The author has set out to create an Oliver Twist of our times and has pulled it off. The gritty reality is important with such serious subjects but Avery is very adept at writing and does what fiction is meant to do. He takes reality and heightens it but not to the point where it loses credibility.”
Tom Avery teaches in a large comprehensive school where there are 17 languages spoken and half the children do not speak English as a first language. The other schools he has worked in have also included children from diverse cultural backgrounds. He explains the inspiration for his story:
“I wrote Too Much Trouble when I heard the story of a boy and his sisters who had been sent to live in England without their parents. I couldn’t stop thinking about what that responsibility must be like. In the end I had to put the story down on paper.”
The presentation at Seven Stories also celebrated the publication of Cristy Burne’s Takeshita Demons, winner of the inaugural Award and the first in a trilogy. The book will have a page feature in Booktrust’s Children’s Book Week pack which will be mailed to all primary schools. Takeshita Demons has also been selected for this year’s Booked Up list.
Presenting the Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award 2010 on 8th June, at Seven Stories, the national Centre for Children’s Books, John Nicoll, Managing Director of Frances Lincoln said:
“Frances was passionate about nurturing new talent on the Frances Lincoln Children’s list, and she would be delighted with the success of the winner of the inaugural Award. Today we are here to celebrate Tom Avery’s achievement and to wish him success. The Takeshita demons followed our heroine from ancient Japan to modern London, the demons in Too Much Trouble surround us now – reported daily in the news – and Tom’s story helps children to understand the suffering that some children have to tolerate, without being didactic. It’s a great read and I am pleased to announce that Janetta Otter-Barry will be working with Tom so that you can all read it.
By extraordinary co-incidence, and this seems stranger than fiction – please remember that the judges do not know anything about the writers and this Award is international – Janetta will find it easier to see Tom from September because he is moving to work in the nearest school to Frances Lincoln, Torriano Primary School.
I would also like to thank Seven Stories for all they have done to make the Award such a success.”
Accepting the Award, Tom Avery said: “ I am delighted to have won this Award and thrilled that Too Much Trouble has been so well received. The opportunity to express different perspectives on the world, like Emmanuel’s, is what makes Diverse Voices so special.”
Kate Edwards, Chief Executive of Seven Stories, the national Centre for Children’s Books added:
“The Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award is going from strength to strength. Once again we’ve had a fantastic response to the Award from unpublished writers in the UK and beyond, and we’ve enjoyed involving Seven Stories staff and volunteers in debating the entries. We are proud to be associated with the publication of last year’s winner, Takeshita Demons, and are delighted that it will be included in the Booked Up list. This goes to prove that there’s a very real place for this Award, ensuring that books which recognise and celebrate cultural difference are published for today’s children. We are looking forward to celebrating with Tom Avery, the winner of this year’s Award. The strength of our partnership with Frances Lincoln Children’s Books and the enthusiasm of the judges have, once again, made the Award a great success.”
For entry forms for the 2011 Award contact E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 0845 271 0777
Press enquiries to Nicky Potter E: email@example.com T: 020 8 889 9735 M: 0771 5587948
Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award 2010
The winner of the Award is chosen by an independent panel of judges. The distinguished panel of judges includes:
Trevor Phillips – Chair of The Equality and Human Rights Commission
Jake Hope – Children’s Librarian for Lancashire Libraries and a freelance consultant
Geraldine Brennan – Journalist and former Books Editor at the TES
Mary Briggs – Co-Founder of Seven Stories, the Centre for Children’s Books
Janetta Otter-Barry – Janetta Otter-Barry Books at Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
In June 2009 Cristy Burne won the inaugural Award with Takeshita Demons. Her book is published by Janetta Otter-Barry Books at Frances Lincoln Children’s Books on 8th June 2010 (ISBN: 9781847801159 Price: £5.99). It is the first in a trilogy. Publication of the second book, The Filth Licker, is scheduled for June 2011. The books have fabulous illustrations by Siku, who is a well-known illustrator of comic books and graphic novels. His best-known book is The Manga Bible.