Monday, 18 May 2015

Grampian Children's Book Award 2015 & Aberdeenshire Schools Tour

Self portrait on Stonehaven beach.

Back in the attic after a fantastic week in Scotland for the Grampian Children's Book Award, plus a tour of schools in and around Aberdeenshire. It's the third year I've been lucky enough to be shortlisted for the award (last year Waiting for Gonzo actually won!) and my third Scottish tour. I always have a great time visiting 'The Shire' and this year was one of the best yet.

GCBA posters by students at Bridge of Don Academy.

The GCBA award ceremony at Aberdeen University on Wednesday was attended by nearly six hundred staff and students from schools all over the region, some of whom had travelled long distances to be there. Cathy MacPhail was a great host, and I was honoured to be sharing the stage with her, and fellow shortlisted authors, Kevin Brooks and James Dawson

The students had all read the books, written reviews, drawn posters (see pic above) and made book trailers for the shortlisted titles. Congratulations to James Dawson, whose chiller thriller Say Her Name was voted the winner. 

As always at these events, it was really inspiring to be in a room with so many enthusiastic young readers (and writers). Respect and thanks to the students and staff at all the schools, and to the GCBA team for making it all possible.

My GCBA books haul, including the winning title "Say Her Name".

I'd also like to take the opportunity to say a few thank yous to the staff and students at the schools I visited on my tour. S1, Gill and Liz at Bridge of Don Academy, who kicked things off on Tuesday morning; Jan, Kerry and Linda, and S1 students at Torry; Mandy, Karen, Jenny, Sarah and S2 students—who produced some great work during our workshop—at Northfield Academy. Thanks to Mandy and S3 at Ellon Academy; Katie, Kerry and S1 at The Gordon Schools, and Jackie at Alford. Finally, thanks to Jill and her team at Mearns in Laurencekirk, plus a special thanks to Daniel who was at the workshop I ran during my first visit to Mearns in 2013. (see pic) I was really chuffed that he took the time to stop by in the library to say hello.

Daniel (far left), me, and Mearns' students in our younger days!

At the risk of the thanks being longer than the tour, much appreciation also to Marion for organising EVERYTHING, and to Liz, Jan, Katrina, Marion, Katie, Jackie and Jill for taking turns to drive the tour bus—thanks all for your company. Apologies if I've missed anyone.

When visiting places, I like to sample the local cuisine.
I didn't actually try the deep fried Mars, but the fish supper was grand!

As was this ROWIE. Thanks to Jan at Torry for
treating me to this traditional Aberdeenshire delicacy.