Well, the Scottish Children's Book Award winners have been announced at a wonderful ceremony in Dundee's Caird Hall. It is such a wonderful book award to be involved in and just gets better every year. This year over 32,000 children all over Scotland took part and voted, and on the day almost 1,000 children attended the ceremony. Pupils who had travelled from the furthest corners of Scotland just to be there. The whole thing was also watched live on Glow in schools all over the country. The Scottish Book Trust have to be congratulated for organising such a massive event, and doing it so well.
I had a great time, from the moment my son dropped me off and I popped into the Pancake Place for hot pancakes and coffee. Then I made my way past the wonderful statue of Desperate Dan to the Caird Hall. What a venue! The place was buzzing with excitement from the beginning and myself, Jonathan Meres, James Kilmore, all shortlisted for the 8/11 category were taken into the main hall to go through what was going to happen that day. Pupils from St. Joseph's Primary, Bonnybridge, and St. Mungo's Falkirk were rehearsing the dramatisations they had prepared, with the help of a fantastic drama teacher, Lesley Russell, for each of our books. So, of course, we couldn't resist a sneak preview. " We're doing a musical for yours," I was told. A musical! For a creepy ghost story like Out of the Depths! I hadn't a clue how they were going to manage that. But by goodness, I was amazed at the fabulous song Lesley had written, and the way they had put the whole thing together. ' Tyler, help me' is still running through my head, and Lesley and I have decided that we are going to make, "Tyler, the Musical". They had gone right to the heart of my story, and they sent shivers up many a spine in the audience when they finally performed it that afternoon. I know Jonathan and James were equally impressed with theirs, based on The World of Norm and Soldier's Game...but they didn't have a song!!! The excitement grew as the pupils arrived, filling up the hall, being entertained by the terrific host,Chae Strathie, who even managed to get Elizabeth Laird, Elizabeth Wein, and Barry Hutchison doing a gangnam style dance. Barry Hutchison doesn't surprise me, he's up for anything. ( He even changed his name to Elizabeth on the day so it would be a one name line up!) but Elizabeth Laird and Elizabeth Wein...they did a fabulous job of it, and the pupils loved it. For the Bookbug section, Julia Donaldson and her lovely husband Malcolm performed their song from Jack and the Flum,Flum Tree, Catherine Raynor read her enchanting story about Solomon Crocodile and John Fardell had children create their own story while he illustrated it on stage! What a fabulous day.
In the end, Out of the Depths didn't win. But I signed loads of books, and met lots of fans, and that's what it is all about really.
But to be honest... I wuz robbed!