The final judges' meeting took place on Friday, May 28th and after a long debate, with much good argument and many disagreements of a literary kind, the votes were counted up and by a very narrow margin indeed, the winner was declared to be BANG BANG YOU'RE DEAD by Narinder Dhami (Corgi pbks) So many congratulations to Narinder who I believe is coming to the actual award ceremony on June 26th. I'm looking forward to meeting her and to seeing other shortlisted authors too, like Leslie Wilson and Tim Bowler. All the shortlisted books had their passionate advocates as well as readers who didn't like them quite so much. That's to be expected. I don't think argument and debate have ever actually CHANGED a person's impression of a book! The young judges were, as usual, intelligent, lively, loquacious and funny. It was a treat to be there.
As usual, the whole event ran like clockwork thanks to the good offices of Jean Wolstenholme, Jake Hope and the wonderful librarians of Lancashire. Long may they flourish!
PS: I forgot to say when I wrote about the award: we had an adult panel shadowing the children and reading all the books on the shortlist. The book which won the adult vote was GRASS by Cathy McPhail. It's an economical, exciting and moving thriller and I was happy that it got the recognition it deserved. It's published by Bloomsbury in pbk. Do give it a try.