Cristy Burne


Leave a comment

Writing, Book-Weeking, Monstering on!

Writing, writing, writing

Well, it’s been a busy time and I’m flat out writing a 4th Takeshita Demons book….YAY! This does mean I’ve been massively distracted from blogging (sorry!), but I do tend to go into my cave when the writing’s really working.

And it’s working! (I always say that in the beginning of a book, then fall apart in the finale for a Long Troubling Period before finding my way again.)(Fingers crossed and here’s to avoiding the Long Troubling Period this time round, if possible!)

Childrens Book Week Month

And of course…it’s AUGUST! Which means Australian libraries and schools are gearing up for heaps of fabulous authorly writerly artistly events. This year I’m busy for every day of Book Week, and I can’t wait to get started! I love meeting readers and sharing spooky demon stories, so watch out!! If your school is coming to see me, I’m already thinking of ways to scare you 🙂

And Monstering on?

And just to prove that the third book is just as exciting as the first, here’s a little proud moment for me to share 🙂 (YAY!) This week I received a catalogue in the mail from my publisher, Frances Lincoln Childrens Books, and voila! In it was a sneak peak of their new fiction titles for January-July 2012: Wee hee! Monster Matsuri was on the back page 🙂 I’m so proud 🙂

Well…enough chest-beating. Time to get back to the real work of WRITING! Cheers for now and see some of you soon!


Leave a comment

Announcement of the winner of the 2011 Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Childrens Book Award

Announcement of the winner of the 2011 Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award

This year’s  Diverse Voices award was presented last night at Seven Stories, the UK’s national centre for children’s books

and…

Helen Limon accepts her prizeIt was won by Helen Limon for Om Shanti, Babe, a story about growing up, family and friendships that the judges described as ‘Fabulous . . . laugh-out-loud funny’.

Enter the 2012 award!

The closing date for the next award is 31st December 2012.

Want to enter in 2012? This is what the judges are looking for…
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 Om Shanti, Babe was unanimous. The panel said: “The story is authentic, the narrative voice rock solid throughout, and it’s laugh-out-loud funny.”

More on Om Shanti, Babe
Om Shanti, Babe
is the tale of teenage Cassia, who is forced to drop her preconceived ideas when she joins her mother on a business trip to south India, takes in fair trade and environmental issues alongside Cassia’s struggles to accept her mother’s new Indian partner, her spiky tussles with fashion-mad friend-to-be Priyanka and her crushes on pop star Jonny Gold, and Dev, a boy she meets on a train.

More on the Diverse Voices award
The Award, now in its third year, was founded jointly by Frances Lincoln Limited and Seven Stories, the national centre for children’s books, 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 eight to 12-year-olds that celebrates diversity in the widest possible sense.

Ongoing success for the award…
To date Janetta has commissioned or published six books by writers who have entered the award: the Takeshita Demons trilogy by Cristy Burne, winner of the inaugural award, Too Much Trouble by Tom Avery, the 2010 winner, and A Hen in the Wardrobe and Chess and Chapattis, the first two titles in the Cinnamon Grove series by Wendy Meddour, who entered the 2009 award.

Paying tribute to the success of the Award, Janetta said:

”The exceptional quality of the winners of the first two awards is a real measure of the success of our Diverse Voices joint venture with Seven Stories. I am proud that the Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award is achieving exactly what it set out to do – to discover and encourage new writers of exciting, culturally diverse fiction.”

More about the shortlist
By coincidence, both the winner and the second-placed author in this international award are from Newcastleupon-Tyne (the judges are not given any details about the writers until they have made their decision).

Karon Alderman, who teaches literacy skills to adults, received the Highly Commended award for For Keeps, the tale of a young asylum seeker and her  family.

Australian author Michelle Richardson received a Special Mention (an award which the judges can choose to give to a manuscript that shows great potential but is not ready for publication) for Tek, about a young girl from the Aboriginal Australian Murrinh-Patha community who can communicate with the ngepan, the spirits of the dead.

Meet Helen Limon…
The winning author, Helen Limon, lives in rural Northumberland with her partner, a painter. Her daughter, who is studying tailoring in London, had an influence on the character of Priyanka with her passion for fashion. Helen spent her childhood mostly abroad until she was 10, including four years in Penang, Malaysia, where she learned about life in England from second-hand children’s books.

“Until we came back to England, in the 1970s, I thought most British kids were a cross between The Family from One End Street and Enid Blyton’s Famous Five.”

After spending her early adulthood travelling in Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand, Helen arrived in the North-East as a student at Newcastle University. She started writing in 2000 when she set up a children’s literacy project in a neglected allotment behind a Metro station in Newcastle. The project turned into a publishing venture for local authors and illustrators, Zed Said. Helen has just finished a PhD in creative writing at Newcastle University.

But where do you get your ideas?
The inspiration for Om Shanti, Babe came from encounters with local people on a 2009 visit to Kerala.

She said: “Talking to the mothers about their lives and their ambitions for their families, and listening to what the children said they wanted, inspired the story and made me conscious of the social and environmental themes that are woven into the book.

“My characters are not the sort of children that get written about much and I lived most of my life not in England, so I do sort of know what it is like to be different inside your head even if you look like everyone else on the outside.”

Launch of Too Much Trouble

From left to right, Helen Limon (2011 winner) Tom Avery (2010 winner – Too Much Trouble was released on the night) and Karon Alderman (2011 runner up)

And a Too Much Trouble party to boot!
The presentation at Seven Stories also celebrated the publication of Tom Avery’s contemporary Oliver Twist story, Too Much Trouble, winner of last year’s Award.

Presenting the Award, John Nicoll, Managing Director of Frances Lincoln, said:

“I’m delighted, once again, that the judges have found such a worthy winner, whose writing both entertains, and helps the young reader to understand the ever more complex society in which they are growing up. Truly this seems like a worthwhile project and one of which Frances would have been proud.”

Accepting the Award, Helen Limon said:

“I am thrilled to have won this award. Om Shanti, Babe was inspired by the families I met in India and the very positive response to the book is a tribute to them. Growing up, making friends and forming loving families across cultures is what my story and Diverse Voices is all about.”

Kate Edwards, chief executive of Seven Stories, added:

“Last year’s Diverse Voices Award winner Too Much Trouble, deserves to be a big hit. It’s a great story that brings the plight of many young victims of crime and exploitation to the fore. I’m delighted that 2011’s winning manuscript is another page-turning adventure, this time set in India. Seven Stories is committed to this prize and our work to promote new storytelling and to celebrate and recognise different cultures and experiences. 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.”

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

The Shortlist
The judges discussed a short list of four titles, without knowing anything about the authors. The range of material
impressed them. The decision to give the Award to the winner was unanimous.

The Winner: Om Shanti, Babe by Helen Limon
Synopsis: Cassia joins her mother, who runs a fair trade craft shop, on a buying trip to India, a country that she
mostly knows from her Bollywood dance routines. Troubled by a friendship gone sour at home, and feeling out of
place in a new culture that challenges her assumptions, she reacts badly to her mother’s relationship with an Indian
colleague. As Cassia sheds some of her preconceived ideas, she finds friends where she least expects to and starts to
realise her dream to follow her mother into business.

Highly Commended: For Keeps by Karon Alderman
Synopsis: Benedicta (Ben), her mother and younger sister are asylum seekers from Cameroon. While their
uncertain future and hand-to-mouth existence cast a shadow over Ben’s friendships and fun times at school glee
club and on church outings, she has decided that Newcastle is her home. With her friend Becky, she resolves to
help a bullied schoolfriend, Jaz.

Special Mention: Tek by Michelle Richardson
Synopsis: Tek accompanies her cold and distant father, an expert on Australian Aboriginal culture, to a desert
army base where her gift for communicating with the ngepan (spirits of the dead) surfaces just when it is most
inconvenient. (Michelle lives in Australia. She did not attend the ceremony.)

Enter the 2012 award!
The closing date for the next award is 31st December 2012.


Leave a comment

Gather your courage and enter: Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Childrens Book Award

THIS PRESS RELEASE WENT OUT THIS WEEK: HAVE YOU READ IT YET?
What are you waiting for??? 🙂

REMINDER OF DEAD LINE   – it is not too late to enter…..

The closing date for the current Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Award is Friday 25th February 2011.

“Gather your courage and just do it: this award is the break you’ve been looking for.

Anyone with a secret manuscript in their bottom  drawer or a story brewing in their head should enter the Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Childrens Book Award. It’s free to enter, you can enter by email, and if you make the shortlist, your writing life will never be the same.”
From Cristy Burne, winner of the inaugural award with Takeshita Demons (selected for Children’s Book Week, Booked Up and January 2011 Blue Peter Book Club title)

“Hello all you budding writers,

Just a year ago I was in your shoes, attempting feverishly to finish that manuscript ready for the big deadline.  The good news is that you still have time.  You still have time to tweak that bit of dialogue, tidy up that plot twist and sharpen that characterisation.

Diverse Voices
gives you the opportunity to meet some wonderful people, have your manuscript read by a host of excellent critics and possibly work with the great team at Frances Lincoln to publish your book.  So don’t give-up, don’t stop now, don’t falter at the final hurdle.

All the very best, hopefully meet you one day!”
From Tom Avery, winner of the 2010 award with Too Much Trouble (publication: June 2011)


Frances Lincoln Limited, the award-winning publisher, and Seven Stories, the Centre for Children’s Books, are delighted with the success to date of the Diverse Voices Award, set up 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 exceptional quality of the winners of the first two awards is a real measure of the success of our Diverse Voices joint venture with Seven Stories.

And by the time the third winner is announced in June 2011 I will have commissioned or published six books by writers who entered the award: the Takeshita Demons trilogy by Cristy Burne, winner of the inaugural award, Too Much Trouble by Tom Avery, the 2010 winner, and A Hen in the Wardrobe and Chess and Chapattis, the first two titles in the Cinnamon Grove series by Wendy Meddour, who entered the 2009 award.

I am proud that the Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Award is achieving exactly what it set out to do – to discover and encourage new writers of exciting, culturally diverse fiction.”
From Janetta Otter-Barry at Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

For full details about the award and to download an entry form go to
www.sevenstories.org.uk

Alternatively, contact the Award Co-ordinator, Helena McConnell by email diversevoices@sevenstories.org.uk or helena@sevenstories.org.uk


Leave a comment

Free resources for UK Children’s Book Week

Check out some of Shirin Adl’s fab Book Week illustrations!

Free Children’s Book Week resource pack!
Woo hoo! Another surprise in the mailbox this week:
A pack of fun things to celebrate UK Children’s Book Week (4 – 10 October 2010), complete with stickers, posters, a Best Book Guide and booklet full of Children’s Book Week resources (including teaching ideas, tips for planning a writer visit, activities and more!).

The resource packs are free and were posted to all English state primary schools, public libraries, special schools and initial teacher training institutions.

This year’s Children’s Book Week theme is BOOKS AROUND THE WORLD, so even if you’re not living in England, the pack contains heaps of relevant stuff to do and explore.

If you’d like a peak, free downloads of the Children’s Book Week pack are available on the Booktrust website. The pack features awesome artwork by illustrator Shirin Adl.

Key stage two activities: Takeshita Demons

Frances Lincoln Children’s Books are the major publisher sponsor of this year’s Children’s Book Week in the UK, which means Takeshita Demons is lucky enough to be featured in the book week pack.

Children’s Book Week is also sponsored by Crayola (thanks from kiddies everywhere!) and run by Booktrust.

Australia’s Children’s Book Week: not long to wait!

I’m doing some Aussie library visits for Australia’s Children’s Book Week (21 – 27 August) so plan to cross-pollinate and add the UK stickers to my pile of giveaways 🙂

And the last word goes to Children’s Laureate, Anthony Browne, author and illustrator of nearly 40 children’s books:

‘This year’s Children’s Book Week theme of books around the world provides a wonderful opportunity to explore and celebrate difference, as well as to read books that transport us to new places and introduce us to new cultures.

One thing that my travels have taught me is that children around the world have a lot in common; hopes, fears, joys, but most of all, a love of stories.’

And I couldn’t agree more! 🙂 🙂


Leave a comment

Who made the shortlist? 2010 Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award

Yesterday I was stoked to report that Tom Avery is the winner of this year’s Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award. Today, we take a look at other writers recognised at the award ceremony:

There was a shortlist of six titles discussed by the judges, and three other writers were invited to the Award ceremony to recieve awards and constructive feedback.

So who were these three other writers?

Highly Commended: Goal Dreams by Remi Oyedele
(Goal Dreams also recieved an Honorable Mention in the Literary Storm Novel Competition, so watch this space for further success for Remi Oyedele!)

Synopsis: Goal Dreams is a coming-of-age story about Ade Coker, a 12-year-old aspiring footballer from south-west Nigeria.  Ade’s pursuit of football glory sets in motion events that see him acquiring a new family, suffering from exploitation and travelling across the globe before discovering that dreams can be realised in various forms.

Commended: Rafi Brown and the Candy Floss Kid by Sue Stern

 

Synopsis: Rafi Brown and the Candy Floss Kid is the story of two children misunderstood by adults: mildly dyslexic Rafi draws brilliant cartoons, but is bullied by his teacher, Horrible Hegarty. Carer of a mother with M.E, Candy defies the educational welfare officers. The two bunk off to the People’s History Museum, where Rafi is inspired by a photograph of child printers during the Russian Revolution to draw an exciting graphic story. Back at school, Mrs Hegarty collapses at her desk, but Rafi saves her. Truth is revealed, Rafi’s gift is acknowledged, and Candy joins him and his mates at school.

Special Mention: Story Thief by Karon Alderman

Synopsis: Story Thief is the story of an 11-year-old failed asylum seeker called Arlie.  She tells the story of the days following the arrest and detention of her family as she tries to hide from the authorities.  She is supported by her friend Louise and two boys who have their own reasons for staying in hiding.

Tom Avery, winner of the 2010 award, will be featuring more from these talented writers on his blog: Too Much Avery.

Congratulations to everyone shortlisted, and to everyone who entered! Keep entering, keep writing!! I seriously think the best way to keep writing is to keep getting little drip-drops of encouragement, especially if it comes in the form of someone in the industry picking your manuscript as being worthy. If they’re not your mother or your spouse, and they still think you can write…then it’s probably true! So go for it and keep writing!

I didn’t place anywhere in the first writing competition I ever entered, but I won that same writing competition two years later, and with the same manuscript (only I’d been working on the manuscript for those two years, so it was a pretty different book by thhen :-))(and MUCH better!). So….hang in there, keep writing. Keep trying. If you want it bad enough, you’ll get it.

xx

 


2 Comments

Interview with Tom Avery, winner of the 2010 Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award

So by now you might already know: the winner of the 2010 Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award is Tom Avery with Too Much Trouble. But who is Tom Avery? And what was he doing before the Frances Lincoln Award team got their hands on his manuscript?

Well, I’m glad you asked, because…..I’m lucky enough to have the answers!! Thanks to Tom for taking the time to answer my questions while he was preparing for the award ceremony….it’s pretty nerve-wracking, but in a totally wonderful way!

So first: a synopsis of the winning manuscript: Too Much Trouble

Too Much Trouble is the story of two brothers, Emmanuel and Prince.  Emmanuel tells us his story as he looks back on how events led to him holding a gun to a man’s head.  The story opens on an ordinary day for the boys at school where they strive to go unnoticed, fending for themselves on handouts from their drug-dealer uncle and living in a house where they compete for space with their uncle’s marijuana.  But life changes completely when their temperamental uncle decides the boys are too much trouble and withdraws his already limited support.  Left to look after themselves, the brothers are led into a life of crime from which Emmanuel cannot see a way out.

How cool does that sound!?!?! I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

And so now…some Q&A time with Tom:

Tom with his class

1)      You are going to work as a teacher with a focus on communication and language. Do you have a favourite activity for encouraging primary school kids to love reading?

It sounds simple, but reading great stories to children really makes a difference.  Children love having books read to them, they get to experience the story without the barriers that might be in the way if they read it themselves.  I remember reading ‘Prince Caspian’ to a class, before the Disney film came out, they loved it, and it spurred them on to read the other Narnia books.  I had boys competing to be the first to finish all seven.

2)      You currently teach a unit called “How much freedom do you have?”: What are your students’ reaction to the themes you work on? Are they interested in freedom, discrimination, equality, etc? Do they see it as relevant to their own lives?

Most pupils are completely engaged with the themes that the unit touches on, so much more so than I could have hoped for when I planned the module.  We look at religious freedom, through the events of the gunpowder plot, and have long debates about the school holidays based around Christian celebrations, the majority of the pupils are Muslim and are only allowed one day off of school a year for religious observance.  We look at freedom of opportunities, through the life and actions of Rosa Parks, growing up in an ethnically and economically diverse city the pupils know all about this.  We also look at the way asylum seekers are treated in regards to freedom by studying the wonderful book, ‘The Island’ by Armin Greder, which couldn’t be more relevant to some pupils as they have come to Britain as asylum seekers.  The only problem is, the children then start questioning all the things that they’re not allowed to do in school!

3)      Had you entered any other competitions before the DV award? Any you recommend?

I have never entered a writing competition before.  A friend who had read parts of my manuscript ‘Too Much Trouble’ recommended that I enter, I am very glad that they did.

4)      Do you think there’s a place for ‘diverse voices’ in children’s literature?

What would literature be without ‘diverse voices’?  Children read books about children because they can relate to them; they can see a small part of themselves reflected in the story.  We live in an increasingly multi-cultural and diverse world, particularly in the cities of Britain, and all these diverse children need to see parts of their story reflected in what they read.

5)      You and your wife both work after your toddler is asleep. Any tips to other writers who are also parents?

Number 1 – Keep writing.  It’s very easy to sit down in front of the T.V. after a days work, then playing with, feeding, bathing, dressing and putting to bed your kids.  But if your dream is to be a writer you’ve got to keep writing.

Number 2 – Prepare to be interrupted.  If your children are anything like mine they don’t do what you expect, but that’s why they’re so gorgeous.

Number 3 – Marry someone wonderful.  My wife is so amazingly encouraging.

Sorry, not very practical.

[But if I can butt in here: I think they’re great answers, and thus very practical :-)]

6)      Is Too Much Trouble your first attempt at writing a book?

‘Too Much Trouble’ is my first finished manuscript.  I have started other books in the past, but have always lost confidence at some point, again I point to my wonderful wife’s encouragement for finishing ‘Too Much Trouble’.

Geraldine Brennan, a judge of the award, spoke to Tom about what inspired him to write Too Much Trouble.

Tom Avery, 26, grew up in Lewisham with two older brothers and a younger sister.  He trained as a primary teacher at the University of Greenwich and taught in New Eltham for two years before joining Queensbridge School, a performing arts college in Moseley, Birmingham. In September he will start a new job as co-ordinator of English, communication and language at Torriano primary school, round the corner from Frances Lincoln.

How did you start to write and what helped you?

I have wanted to be a writer since the end of primary school but I always lacked the confidence to get beyond the first few chapters. My wife Chloe encouraged me to stop talking about the story that was in my head and put something on paper around the time we had our son, who is now 15 months old. She is a freelance fashion designer and we both have to wait until Caleb is in bed to focus on our own work.

I wrote most of the book that became Too Much Trouble and various friends and colleagues commented on it as well as Chloe and my mum, a midwife who is a prodigious reader. I redrafted it several times and the Diverse Voices competition gave me a deadline to finish it and make it slightly shorter and more compact.

How did you come to focus on the issues of gun crime and unaccompanied refugee children?

In the places I’ve lived in and know about – Lewisham, Hackney and inner-city Birmingham – I became aware that these issues affected the lives of the young people I was meeting and I couldn’t ignore them. Like Emmanuel in Too Much Trouble, there are so many young people taking on responsibility that they shouldn’t have to deal with.

What did you enjoy reading as a child and what do you like to read now?

There were lots of books at home and I got lots more out of the school library. I remember Roald Dahl, Michael Morpurgo and the Allan Ahlberg poetry anthology I Heard it in the Playground. Later, I got into fantasy and enjoyed Ursula LeGuin and Jostein Gaarder. As an adult, I love Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns) and all Nick Hornby’s books because his characters always seem real, tangible and organic: you aren’t aware of them having been written.

As a teacher, I love exploring books with pupils and I’ve enjoyed reading Louis Sachar’s Holes and Frank Cottrell Boyce’s Millions to classes.

What else do you enjoy about teaching?

I like encouraging children in whatever their passion is and getting them to think about the world we live in. I thought about being an architect when I was in sixth form but I spent my gap year running youth groups for my church – my dad, a maths teacher, had run the children’s group when I was younger and I had helped with that and enjoyed it – and I realised then that I loved working with young people. I trained as a primary teacher and spent two years teaching Year 4 and 5 in south-east London before my current job at Queensbridge. It’s a very diverse school: half the children do not speak English as a first language and there are 17 languages spoken in the school.

My main role is teaching a cross-curricular unit of work for Year 7s called: ‘How much freedom do you have?’  We look at religious freedom, freedom of opportunity, discrimination, equality, protest and so on through English, history, RE, citizenship and geography.  There’s a lot of scope for creativity.

The closing date for the 2011 Award is 25th February 2011. For entry forms contact:

E: diversevoices@sevenstories.org.uk     T: 0845 271 0777

For more details visit http://www.sevenstories.org.uk


1 Comment

Announcing the winner: 2010 Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award

 

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: diversevoices@sevenstories.org.uk   T: 0845 271 0777

The closing date is 25th February 2011. 

Press enquiries to Nicky Potter    E: nicpot@dircon.co.uk   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

 

2009 Winner

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.