Archive for April, 2012

Queen of Teen shortlist announced

2012’s Queen of Teen shortlist has been announced. An award that celebrates the hugely significant part that fiction can play in teenage years, this year saw thousands of heartfelt nominations from teenagers across the country – and the first ever male writer to be shortlisted. The ten fabulous authors who have been nominated for this year’s most glamorous award are:

Cathy Cassidy
Maureen Johnson
Sarah Webb
Joanna Nadin
Cathy Hopkins
Samantha Mackintosh
Chris Higgins
Hayley Long
S.C. Ransom
James Dawson

The award will be presented at a glittering award ceremony at Queen of Teen HQ leafy Surrey in July, when the writers of the best nominations will be invited along with their favourite authors and other special guests. This is a truly majestic celebration of a thriving and important genre.

Readers aged from 9 to 18 can vote now for 2012’s Queen of Teen by visiting

Reigning Queen of Teen Cathy Cassidy, author of the Chocolate Box Girls books, said: “I’ve had lots of fun since being voted Queen of Teen… it’s an amazing award because it’s all about YOU, the super-cool reader gals out there. Your votes and views really DO count!”

Queen of Teen 2012

Your favourite character’s favourite food

From Oliver Twist pleading for more to Katniss Everdeen hunting squirrels for meat in The Hunger Games, food has always played a prominent part in fiction tales. The Famous Five were notorious for enjoying a hearty meal with lashings of ginger beer, and even M. C. Beaton has managed to base one of her popular Agatha Raisin tales around a hog roast. But have you ever been tempted to try some of the foods on offer in your favourite fiction books? At the Book People, we thought it would be fun to have a look at the cookbooks available that bring these fictitious treats off the pages and into your kitchen.

Nominated for World Book Day, Roald Dahl’s Completely Revolting Recipes and Other Tasty Treats features 50 recipes that bring everything from the BFG’s Snozzcumbers to James and the Giant Peach’s Crispy Wasp Stings on a Piece of Buttered Toast to life. Complemented by the brilliant Quentin Blake’s trademark illustrations, this is a delightfully different cookbook that will appeal to kids of all ages. As the BFG would say, the food in there is scrumdiddlyumptious.

A couple of children’s favourite bears also like to dip their paws into cookery. Winnie-the-Pooh loves his honey and Pooh’s Yummy Cookbook will help his young fans make brilliant cakes, pies and biscuits – including his favourite, yummy honey cakes! Everyone’s favourite Peruvian bear Paddington, however, much prefers marmalade and the family-friendly Paddington’s Cookery Book shows how this can be used as a tasty ingredient in lots of recipes. From sticky marmalade sausages to bear-faced party pizzas, there’s sure to be something to appeal!

What food from fiction do you think would make the perfect recipe for a real-life cookbook?

The Genius of Dahl

Any fans of Roald Dahl should keep an eye on the television this Sunday night as David Walliams presents a documentary all about him in Perspectives: David Walliams: The Genius of Dahl (10.15pm, ITV1, 22 April). Walliams’ children’s stories, such as Gangsta Granny and Billionaire Boy, have been frequently compared to the man behind The BFG and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and in this special programme, he pays homage to the master of storytelling. Indeed, Walliams will even read some extracts from Dahl’s unforgettable books.

Walliams gets the chance to visit Dahl’s home and sit in the hut where all the classics were written and discovers more about the man behind the stories by talking to his widow Felicity and illustrator Quentin Blake. Walliams also takes a look at the influences on Dahl’s work – from growing up in Cardiff to the Norwegian folk tales he enjoyed as a child, alongside some awful personal tragedies. The hour-long programme features contributions from Joanna Lumley, Michael Rosen and also Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly – the team behind the phenomenally successful musical of Matilda.

You can buy the complete Roald Dahl Collection from the Book People for just £15.99 here.

World Book Night

World Book Night takes place on 23 April and millions of people all across the world will have the chance to take part in this celebration of books. Tens of thousands of people will be gifting books to people throughout their communities to help spread the joy of reading. Celebrated in the UK, Ireland, Germany and the USA, this year’s list of 25 titles is exceptional and any book is sure to be enjoyed by anyone lucky enough to receive a copy. With such a tremendous array of books on offer, at the Book People we thought it would be nice to share our views on some of our favourites from the list.

The Book ThiefMarkus Zusak
Written by the Australian, Markus Zusak, The Book Thief is a quite extraordinary read that is fully deserving of the many awards it has won. Set during the Nazi regime, this is the story of nine year-old Liesel and her relationship with her foster family, as well as her penchant for stealing books. The hugely emotional story is surprisingly narrated with a great deal of warmth and humour by Death himself.

Notes from a Small IslandBill Bryson
Voted the book that best represents Britain back in a World Book Day poll in 2003, Notes from a Small Island found the intrepid travel writer Bill Bryson taking a final trip around Great Britain before moving back to his home country of the United States. A heart-warming homage to the country that is full of humour, Bryson lists a range of facts information on various areas.

MiseryStephen King
One of Stephen King’s most well-known novels, this psychological horror is one that sticks in the memory. Also made into a hit film starring Kathy Bates and James Caan, it tells the story of Paul Sheldon, the author of a bestselling series of book starring Misery Chastain. After a drink-driving car crash, he is seemingly ‘rescued’ and nursed by his number one fan Annie Wilkes. But she is not all she seems and what follows is a brutally dark tale of obsession.

Let the Right One InJohn Ajvide Lindqvist
A gripping, stylistic book from Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let the Right One In tells the story of 12 year-old Oskar and the vampire child, Eli. Mixing elements of horror with a truly touching story of friendship, love, loneliness, growing up and rites of passage, there are many dark elements but they are all explored expertly in this finely crafted and distinctive read that will keep you entirely engrossed.

Touching the VoidJoe Simpson
Touching the Void is the startling true story about mountaineers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates’ ill-fated climb of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985. Joe gives a detailed account of the ordeal once they reached the summit and the perils the pair faced when they were confronted with an impossible situation. An outstanding award-winning read that is also a compelling testament to friendship.

Why not tell us what your favourite nominated title is this year?

World Book Night

Orange Prize for Fiction 2012 shortlist announced

The shortlist for the seventeenth Orange Prize for Fiction has been announced. The UK’s only annual book award for fiction written by a woman celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing throughout the world.

The Orange Prize for Fiction was set up in 1996 to celebrate and promote fiction by women throughout the world to the widest range of readers possible. Judged by Joanna Trollope, Lisa Appignanesi, Victoria Derbyshire, Natalie Haynes and Natasha Kaplinsky, 2012’s winner will be announced at a prestigious ceremony at London’s Royal Festival Hall on 30 May.

The 2012 shortlist for the Orange Prize for Fiction is:

Esi EdugyanHalf Blood Blues
Anne EnrightThe Forgotten Waltz
Georgina Harding – Painter of Silence
Madeline MillerThe Song of Achilles
Cynthia Ozick – Foreign Bodies
Ann PatchettState of Wonder

The winner will be presented with a cheque for £30,000 and a limited edition bronze statue known as ‘the Bessie’, created by artist Grizel Niven.

Previous winners include Téa Obreht for The Tiger’s Wife (2011), Lionel Shriver for We Need to Talk About Kevin (2005), Andrea Levy for Small Island (2004) and Helen Dunmore for A Spell of Winter (1996).

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