The winner of this year’s Eleanor Farjeon Award for Outstanding Contribution to the World of Children’s books is author Michael Morpurgo in what is a well deserved accolade for the celebrated children’s author.
The award is administered by the Children’s Book Circle and the organisation chose Morpurgo because of how he has inspired a deep passion throughout his career.
Morpurgo was handed the award by Anne Harvey, executor of the Eleanor Farjeon Estate. The author gave an acceptance speech and said that it ‘A Joy of association” to win this award and applauded the breadth of the prize in its recognition of contributions from the full sphere of children’s books as “the making involves everyone… it reaches out to libraries, people who care, authors and publishers. It takes us all to put out the joy of reading.”
After the announcement of the prize Nicola Davies gave this year’s Patrick Hardy lecture titled ‘Whale Tail Tales and other stories’ where she recounted her adventures at sea searching for sightings of humpback whales. She closed the evening by saying more needs to be done to tackle illiteracy among children and giving everyone a call to arms by declaring ‘Ladies and gentleman, we have work to do’.
The Bookseller reports that in all, forty-eight bookshops are competing, from nine regions of the UK and are all hoping to win in their local area before going forward to compete for the overall, nationwide prize.
Here are the shortlisted books for each region. We have some of the bookshops listed in our bookshop section so the ones featured are linked:
Behrouz Boochani is a failed asylum seeker from Iran who has been held on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea for almost six years. The place doesn’t get much coverage for an offshore detention centre that holds failed refugees indefinitely, and maybe it should but all that might be about to change as Boochani’s book is about his time on the island and his attempted journey to safety.
This year’s winners have been announced by Poets & Writers, and the well-deserving recipients of the 2019 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award are:
Reginald Dwayne Betts – “for mentoring individuals involved in the criminal and juvenile justice systems and for his efforts to reform these systems.”
Reginald Dwayne Betts writes memoirs and poetry. His most recent collection of poetry, Bastards of the Reagan Era, won the 2016 PEN New England Award in Poetry. While his memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival and Coming of Age in Prison, is just the beginning of his campaigning to reform the criminal justice system in the UK. He has also made numerous visits to prisons and juvenile detention centres, where he shares his poetry and talks about the power of reading, literacy and mentoring those in incarceration.