Posted on March 26, 2018 in News & Events

I am so honoured and delighted that A SEVEN-LETTER WORD has been voted as the winner of the BRILLIANT BOOK AWARD 2018! It’s doubly delightful because my debut, SMART, won the award in 2016.I’ve made no secret of the fact that the BBA is a very special award for me, as the winning book is chosen by student reading groups at Nottinghamshire and Derby schools. As a Nottinghamian born and bred and living only two miles from the city, it means so much that local students are enjoying my books!

Before the result was announced, all shortlisted authors had chance to visit local schools to talk about our writing journey and, of course, about the books.I had the pleasure of visiting the impressive The Becket School at West Bridgford. Mrs Webster, the Leader of the LRC, organised the morning brilliantly by arranging for six other schools to visit for my talk in the main hall and I was made to feel very welcome indeed.

The photo above is taken with the students and Mrs Benton of Kirkby College which was my old comprehensive school (Kirkby Centre in those days!) How fantastic that students now attending the school are reading and enjoying books written by an ex-pupil.

The schools taking part on my event day were:

The Becket School

The White Hills Park Federation (Bramcote School and Alderman White)

Carlton-le-Willows Academy

Retford Oaks Academy

Kirkby College

Rushliffe School


All the students were tremendously enthusiastic and there were so many raised hands, I hadn’t time to get to them all as we discussed how to write well-developed characters. There were some very perceptive answers when it came to analysing our favourite characters in literature.


The BBA is organised by Inspire, Education Library Service  (ELS) and the development librarian there, Rachel Marshall and her team, are tireless and committed in her drive to get young readers taking part in reading groups to discuss the shortlisted titles.


As part of their shadowing, the readers are encouraged to write reflective reviews on the shortlisted books and you can see the excellent response here:


I have no doubt that taking an active part in this unique award has a real impact on the students’ education and wellbeing.


The work that Inspire (ELS) does is so incredibly important in motivating our young readers and encouraging them to read out of their comfort zones, often discovering new genres that they continue to enjoy.


I’m not alone in my praise. Read this great blog post by Nottingham City of Literature: 

Thanks so much to Inspire (ELS) staff and to the school staff who help run the reading groups in school. Thanks especially to the students who voted for A SEVEN-LETTER WORD to win and . . . congratulations to the runner up, Ross Welford, and to all the other shortlisted authors.



Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published.