Stockton Children’s Book of the Year 2019

Some big news. Boyband of the Apocalypse has won the Stockton Children’s Book of the Year Award for 2019! To say I was shocked is an understatement. This is the 22nd year the prize has been running and has had some incredible books win it, like Skellig and The Last Wild. I was properly honoured and excited to be a part of it. There was a ceremony with the mayor and everything.

Boyband was up against four other brilliant books:

Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy

A Far Away Magic by Amy Wilson

Noah Scape Can’t Stop Repeating Himself by Guy Bass

The Ice Garden by Guy Jones

One of the great things about this award was that the books shortlisted were all voted on by the schools involved in it. Children were encouraged to read as many as they can and write reviews for their favourites. The best reviews from each school were picked and the winners got to go to the ceremony where they all received certificates and book tokens for winning.

The shortlisted authors got to visit some of the schools during the day before the ceremony so I spent much of the day talking about Boyband and trying and failing to convince kids I had once been in One Direction.

Afterwards it was on to the ceremony. I had been asked by lots of people if I had come up with an acceptance speech and I had said no, because OBVIOUSLY I wasn’t winning. In fact I had to lean heavily on the old awards ceremony cliches of “just being happy to be nominated” and “haven’t prepared a speech”. Of course I always thought people were lying when they said those things but now I don’t know, because in my case they were genuinely true. So I think I remembered to thank everyone but just in case, thanks to my wife and family, David O’Connell for his brilliant illustrations, my agent Jodie, my editor Katie, Lauren, Charlie and everyone else at Stripes, the kids for voting for me and enjoying the book, all the librarians involved in making the award such a success and Guy, Guy, Vashti and Amy for making the day such good fun.

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