A young person’s perspective on the Leeds Book Awards 2015

Over 800 children and young people from across 20 high schools and 54 primary schools packed into Pudsey Civic Hall last month as part of Leeds Book Awards 2015, coming to celebrate their favourite authors and books from the past year.

A whopping 1563 reviews were posted onto the Leeds Book Awards website in total, with 781 votes counted from across the city, as young people avidly read and discussed each shortlisted book before choosing their winners in each respective category.

In today’s blogpost we hear from Hannah Boyle, a pupil at Benton Park School, about her experience attending the awards ceremony and why she can’t wait  to do it all again next year…

Children from across the city attending Leeds book awards!

Children from across the city attending Leeds book awards

“On Tuesday 19 May, the Leeds Book Awards ceremony took place at Pudsey Civic Hall. Students from schools all over Leeds, including myself, were able to come and meet the authors from this year’s shortlist, get our books signed and take pictures. The event was hugely successful, and just as good as every other year I’ve attended – possibly even better.

“As keen readers, my friends from school and I had a great experience at the ceremony and we even got a few author selfies!  In fact, I think every student, teacher, librarian and author who attended seemed to have a fantastic time.

“Out of the six authors selected in each category, only one was chosen as a ‘Leeds Book Award Winner 2015’. In the 11-14’s category the winning book was Smart by Kim Slater and in the 14-16 category the winner was Web of Darkness by Bali Rai. I thought both of these books were amazing and rightly amongst the most highly anticipated books of the year, so they deserved to win.

“It was a great ceremony; the presenter, the authors, the venue and the books shortlisted, were up to scratch. The only disappointing thing was that all the authors couldn’t make it to the event, with five of the 11-14 authors attending and unfortunately, only four of the 14-16 authors coming along. Although, one of the authors couldn’t attend because the book was written anonymously, so they could be anybody!

Kim Slater holding her Award for 'Smart,'  presented to her by Leeds young people

Kim Slater holding her Award for ‘Smart,’ presented to her by Leeds young people

“All of the nine authors who were present did an amazing job of answering questions, talking to fans and signing books. Luckily, my question was answered by the lovely author Keren David, and her answer – like every answer to any question on the day – was honest and personal, much like the event itself. Sometimes at large events the ceremony can feel very impersonal, as there are so many people there, but not this one. It was fun, honest and great!

“The winner of the 14-16 was Web of Darkness by Bali Rai, a spine tingling and hair raising thriller about the dangers of the internet and how much trouble it can get you in (don’t worry, no spoilers!).The main characters in Rai’s book were easy to relate to, interesting to read about and left you wanting to read more.

“The writing style of the book was so unique and different, it was like opening a door to another place and staying there until you had finished the book – and wanting to stay there after!  A recommended read to anyone who likes something that sends shivers down your spine and thrills you.  Bali, the author, is such a nice person to meet and talk to, it was hard to imagine that somebody so nice could have written a book that could creep you out so much!

Bali Rai won an award for his book 'Web of Darkness'

Bali Rai won an award for his book ‘Web of Darkness’

“Between the announcements of the winners there was some amazing poetry by the presenter Andy Craven-Griffiths, which was as entertaining and interesting as the books themselves, and really kept the crowd engaged, even when the category being announced was outside of your  age-range!

“When I attended the event this year, I hoped it would be a great end to the three months of reading the shortlist, and it was. Leeds Book Awards 2015 was a great experience for me, and I hope it also was for the authors and other students alike. I can’t wait for next year’s shortlist and event!”

A big thanks to Hannah for taking the time to write this blog for us today!

It’s great to see so many young people getting involved in reading. You can find more information about the event, including a full list of shortlisted books and winners on the Leeds Book Awards website.

Did you attend the awards and have a great time? Is there a great book for young people you’d like to tell us about? Why not join the discussion by leaving a comment below, or on Twitter  #leedsbookawards15

 

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