Bookwitch award bites #67

It’s book awards season. Well, strictly speaking I suppose it’s time for an award somewhere in this country most of the year. I have given up trying to remember or keeping track of what goes on.

Nicola Morgan

Earlier this week Nicola Morgan won the RED award for Wasted, and I’m really pleased. It doesn’t matter how good your book is when you’re up against more fantastic books. And with young readers voting, there is no telling how the vote will go. RED is a Falkirk book award, which I had not heard of before. But it’s nice to know they read good books in ‘my Linlithgow alternative.’ (I’m obviously very sorry about anything I said about Falkirk in the past.)

As for yesterday’s award in Salford, it seems Michael Morpurgo won with his most recent (?) dog book. As I’ve mentioned, he wasn’t present, while several of the other shortlisted authors were.

Salford Children's Book Award 2011

That leads me to what many people have been saying over the years, about being invited when they don’t know if they’ve won or not. I can see that you’d not want to miss the Carnegie, even if you’re ‘merely’ a runner-up, but for the many-times shortlisted authors (and some really do seem to be involved in nearly every award) for ‘smaller’ awards it’s awkward to know whether to accept an invitation.

It must be flattering, and mostly fun, while also hard work and scary, appearing in front of large audiences of keen readers. But how many days can you realistically set aside for this kind of thing? Many have a day job, not to mention families. And in these cash strapped times, travelling costs can be prohibitive. Who pays? That seems to vary, but suffice to say that some authors, some of the time, foot at least part of the bill themselves.

And then someone else wins, who’s not even there. There are many good reasons why someone can’t make it, even if there is a whisper that they are the winner. And you can’t very well take away their win and give it to the next person, who just happens to be present. Can you?

(In the photo we have Alan Gibbons as MC, and Ally Kennen, publicist Mary Byrne, Jon Mayhew, Candy Gourlay, the Mayor of Salford – I would guess – and Pat Walsh as well as two unknowns, to me.)

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7 responses to “Bookwitch award bites #67

  1. Still dancing! It was lovely and such a shock (as those who were there will testify), especially after I’d suffered “ordeal by boy who hated the book” in front of hundreds in the morning. By the way, I should point out that the award was UK-wide in terms of the shortlst, though yes, held in Falkirk. It’s a wonderfully well organised one.

  2. Congrats to Nicola! … and Book Witch, I LOVE attending these things – it’s a chance to get out of the cave and meet real people! Salford was particularly lovely – it was my first time in the Lowry and to spend any time in Manchester. Great hospitality was on show! And Michael Morpurgo sent Mary Byrne to do an impression of him, which was great!

  3. Hedli Niklaus

    Have just discovered this great site via Gillian Philip on Facebook. You have probably covered this already but I would add the Patrick Ness Chaos Walking trilogy to my list of top books and authors. The story is so original and thought provoking the moment I finished them I had to send copies to son of 35, great nephew 13, niece 42, and lend them to everyone else! I’m looking forward to those of your eleven that I haven’t read. Thanks

  4. I think it would add a real sparkle if you could. A Come-Get-It-If-You-Want-It award.

  5. Hilary, you would doorstep every awards event, I take it? First through the door gets it.
    Ah, so Mary’s read hair was replacing the red Morpurgo suit? That woman gets everywhere! ;)
    Welcome Hedli. I think you are referring to my annual list of favourites. Patrick doesn’t qualify for 2011, but has been hogging older lists, as he should. In order to keep eligibility down and make the lists manageable, it’s only for books out in any particular year. So just read through five years of Bookwitch and you’ll get most of it!

  6. Excellent. Will get a move on!

  7. That’s the spirit!

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