Saturday, 11 May 2013
My Totes Lush Morning in Ingatestone!
Well, do you know what? Just the other morning I had one of the loveliest experiences that anyone can possibly ever have in Ingatestone!
I'll be honest, those aren't words I ever expected to write. Not that there's anything wrong with Ingatestone. Oh no no. Quite the opposite - it's a lovely little place with lovely people in it. But until last Wednesday, my only experience of Ingatestone was speeding straight through without stopping on the train from Norwich to London. Or the other way round.
But now that's no longer the case. Now, I associate Ingatestone with the wonderful Essex Book Award and with What's Up With Jody Barton? and... er... winning!
But even more than those things, I'll associate it with the fab kids I met that day. Literally hundreds of them! From all over Essex. And all wearing such snappy dapper uniforms that I felt like a right old Scruffy McGuffy. And I'll remember the interesting and intelligent questions they asked me and the big smiles they had on their faces. And I'll remember that little bloke on the front row who looked utterly horrified when I told them that famous quotation from Atticus Finch in 'To Kill a Mockingbird' which goes: 'You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.'
- Urrggh. That's disgusting! (he said.)
- Not literally. (I said.) If you tried actually doing that, you'd get into a serious heap of trouble and wind up in prison.
Anyway, that young bloke sort of put his finger on one of the things I really like about writing for young people.
And even though I'd never heard of the Essex Book Award before I won it, I definitely have now. And I'll be looking out with interest every single year to see which lucky authors have made it on to their shortlist. Because it's a shortlist well worth being on. Thirty- three high schools took part in reading and voting for those books on the 7th annual shortlist. That they chose What's Up With Jody Barton? as their winner makes me very happy indeed.
So, from now on, whenever I'm sitting on the train and speeding straight through Ingatestone, I'll think of all those lovely kids from Essex and their hardworking teachers and librarians and the Essex Library Service and smile.
Lots of love to you all. x
p.s After a slight 'unclaimed prize' kerfuffle, I can now happily reveal that the winner of the WUWJB? audio book is MOST DEFINITELY...... LILY BONIFACE of Surrey.