Archive for June, 2011

Prestigious literary award axed

It was announced earlier today that the annual John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, that was due to be hosted in the autumn, has been postponed due to a lack of funding.

Booktrust, who organise the award  – which has been running in various forms since 1942 – have revealed that a lack of funding was behind the decision to postpone a prize that seeks to boost the prospects of emerging authors aged 35 or under.

This setback was accompanied by news that Booktrust have been forced to suspend its £2,500 Teenage prize and its three Early Years awards, worth £6,000 in total, also because of a lack of funds.

The news is a serious blow to emerging young authors and several former winners of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize have expressed their disappointment at the news, with 1966 winner Margaret Drabble commenting that “its disappearance would be a great loss to hopeful authors and the literary world”.

It remains to be seen when the award – that was  initiated in 1942 by Jane Oliver in memory of her husband, an author who was killed in the war – will return, although in a statement Booktrust suggested that it would be “back with a bang as soon as possible”.

More tasty giveaways!

The Book People never stop giving away fantastic book-related prizes and this month is no different.

Our incredible prices for Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook and the second instalment from Tarek Malouf – Cake Days – helped to make the renowned confectioner a huge sensation and now you can sample their finest cupcakes with this brilliant prize! Simply click here and answer the simple question to be in with a chance!

Win some Hummingbird Bakert treats!

If you don’t have much of a sweet tooth do not fear, as we have a great prize to help you cook up some savoury Chinese cuisine. Enter our simple competition to win an exclusive signed copy of Ching-He Huang’s fantastic cookbook, Ching’s Fast Food.

Win a signed copy of Ching's Fast Food

A great weekend for award-winning Michael Morpurgo

His talent is undoubted and has consistently been recognised with awards and acclaim over the last two decades, but rarely can Michael Morpurgo have experienced as fruitful a few days as those that passed this weekend.

Michael Morpurgo wins another award

Michael Morpurgo poses with the Red House Children's Book Award

Shadow – the story of a young Afghan boy named Aman and his heartening relationship with a brave dog, set against a harrowing backdrop of contemporary war – scooped two prizes at the Red House Children’s Book Award on 11 June, while the stage adaptation of Morpurgo’s novel War Horse secured five Tony awards the following day.

Nominated in the Younger Readers category against The Great Hamster Massacre by Katie Davies and Sophie McKenzie’s Time Train to the Blitz, Shadow won that category and amassed enough votes from the children that took part to seal the overall award.

The Red House Children’s Book Awards took place at the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham, with Morpurgo becoming the first author to win the prize three times, following the previous success of his novels Kensuke’s Kingdom and Private Peaceful. He commented that it was ‘particularly lovely’ to come out on top of a competition that saw a total of 158,069 votes from children and young adults across the UK.

In New York the following day, War Horse – a play adapted from Morpurgo’s 1982 novel – scooped a total of five prizes at the Tony Awards, most notably Best Play and Best Direction of a Play. Morpurgo has initially stated that playwright Nick Stafford and his team ‘must be mad’ to try and make a play from his best-selling novel, so he’ll no doubt be thrilled (and a little bit surprised) to the adaptation earn such high acclaim.

The Tiger’s Wife clinches Orange Fiction Prize

The Tiger's Wife, winner of the Orange PrizeThe Orange Prize always throws up some interesting surprises – like this year’s winner, Tea Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife, which triumphed over the bookies’ favourite, the bestselling Room by Emma Donoghue.

Obreht is the youngest author to win the prestigious prize, now in its 16th year, and her novel draws on her Serbian/American background. With the Balkan war back in the headlines after the arrest of Ratko Mladic, the book feels particularly relevant. It tells the story of Natalia, a young doctor who is visiting an orphanage when she hears that her beloved grandfather has died. As memories of her grandfather consume her, she begins a journey to try and understand why he spent his last days searching for an immortal vagabond. But how does the tiger’s wife come into the story? You’ll have to read the book and find out!

We know that Book People customers always enjoy reading the Orange Prize shortlist – especially because we always offer it at the best price around – so why not try all six books so you can be the judge? Don’t forget to let us know – on Facebook or Twitter or by reviewing our Orange Prize Collection – whether you think The Tiger’s Wife is a worthy winner!

Julia Donaldson named as new Children’s Laureate

No doubt to the delight of young readers across Britain (and their parents), Julia Donaldson has been unveiled as the seventh Children’s Laureate. Following in the footsteps of the brilliant Anthony Browne, who has acted as a wonderful ambassador for children’s books, the author of bestsellers such as The Gruffalo and Stick Man will look to champion literacy campaigns that are close to her heart.

Discover Julia Donaldson's wonderful books

Discover Julia Donaldson's incredible books!

Given the incredible success of The Gruffalo and all its related merchandise (not to mention a West End show), Julia Donaldson will be a popular choice and one who will increase the public awareness of the important role reading plays in a child’s development.

Her name itself has already done much to make the British public aware of what the Children’s Laureate does and why the position is so important. With a grant of £15,000, Donaldson will look to work on some worthy causes:

‘As someone with minor hearing difficulties myself, I am very interested in promoting signed stories for deaf children, and of course I want to add my voice as Children’s Laureate to the libraries campaign. So drama, music, stories for deaf children, libraries, plus building on the great work of my six predecessors as laureate: these will be my “big things”.’

Here’s hoping she achieves all she can to help improve the provision of children’s books and literacy levels across Britain.

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