This year, Keren David's WHEN I WAS JOE swept all before it. All the Year 9s who made up the judging panel loved it and the two next most popular books were BLACKOUT by Sam Mills and WHISPER MY NAME by Jane Eagland.
The judging process, as ever, brought out the best in the panel of pupils. They argued fiercely for their favourites and were intelligent and articulate and fun throughout. The whole thing ran like clockwork.
The work is done now and we now await the festivities on the 24/25th June when lots of the shortlisted writers come up to Preston for a dinner hosted by University of Central Lancashire (the prize's sponsors) followed the next day by the presentation of the award itself. That's always a lovely occasion. I'm really looking forward to meeting Keren, and the other writers who'll be attending.
Thanks very much to Jake Hope and Jean Wolstenholme and their cohort of excellent children's librarians, and also to UCLAN and the supporting publishers who send the books. Lancashire County Council lets us use their splendid meeting rooms so they deserve a hearty cheer as well.