When an author sends their work out into the world, what they really want is for people to embrace the book, to love the book, and find something in it that they enjoy. Doesn’t always happen, though. In fact, it’s difficult to even let people know that your book exists, and it’s easy for it to get swept along with all the other books, and disappear.
That’s why it’s so great to be shortlisted for something. It means people have noticed your book, and that they’ve seen something in it they like. So I was excited to learn that My Friend The Enemy was shortlisted for the North East Book Award 2013, along with some other fantastic books – Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell, Frost Hollow Hall by Emma Carroll, Poison Boy by Fletcher Moss, and Chasing The Dark by Sam Hepburn.
And last night was the Award Presentation Party . . .
What a great evening! Over 250 young readers came along and some of them braved the long walk up to the stage to introduce their favourite books – Sarah and Anna did a fantastic job of introducing me (and My Friend The Enemy). I spoke to them before the event and knew they were a little nervous, but no one would have known. They delivered their introduction like seasoned professionals. After our introduction, the authors each spoke for a few minutes, answered a few questions, and then it was golden envelope time.
Well, My Friend The Enemy didn’t win – that honour went to the very deserving Emma Carroll – but MFTE was picked out as the ‘Highly Commended’ book, so that’s fantastic. And what made it even more special was that the voting was all done by the young readers (not a panel of stuffy adults) and that I was standing in front of my home crowd!
So here’s a huge thank you to Eileen Armstrong for organising such a fantastic event, to Sarah and Anna for their brilliant introduction, and to all the young readers who came along to meet us and talk to us afterwards. It is, after all, those young readers who matter the most, and it was such a privilege to see them so excited about books and stories and reading.