Lovely, lovely Leeds Book Prize

Me and my publisher David Fickling
at the Waterstone's Prize night
Tall Story's been short-listed for quite a few lovely book prizes - most recently the Branford Boase - but do you know, apart from screenshots of websites, I have no tangible evidence of these honours, no not even a letter (and the bottle of champagne handed to shortlistees of the Waterstone's Prize very quickly vanished without a trace).

So you can imagine I felt quite proud and emotional when the Leeds Book Prize handed me this lovely crystal to mark my short-listing in the 11 to 14 category.
The crystal had Leeds Book Award etched on it. And no, I have no intention of selling it on eBay! Photo by Mia Gourlay
The winner (not Tall Story, alas) got a massive version of the Crystal!

David Gatward's The Dead won the vote in my category! Congrats, David!
My SCBWI pal, Jon Mayhew, won in the 9-11 category with Mortlock. My other SCBWI  pal, Lee Weatherly (who unfortunately was away on a book tour), won for the 14-16 category with Angel. Congratulations, all! Their glory runneth over in my direction.

You can view the complete shortlists for the prize on the Leeds Book Prize's excellent website.

I arrived too late to watch the 9-11 Category but was glad to finally meet Elen Caldecott (How Ali Ferguson Saved Houdini) over lunch - I'd chatted to Elen on cyberspace but never actually met her in realspace!

Elen shows off her souvenir from the Leeds Prize
I also met another cyber friend - spooky Chris Priestly (The Dead of Winter). On Facebook, Mr Priestly looks like this:

Chris Priestly's Facebook Profile Pic
In real life, he doesn't look so terrifying ...

... and then there were all the other lovely authors ...

Left to right: Laura Summers (Desperate Measures), Helen Grant (The Glass Demon), me, Teresa Flavin (The Blackhope Enigma), Chris Priestly and David Gatlward. (Laura and I appear to be holding trophies but those are just water bottles thoughtfully provided by the librarians). Photo by Lyn Bambury

The Leed Book Awards assigned us our own minders - mine was librarian Lyn Bambury ...

Lyn made me feel like a celebrity! Photo by John Mayhew
I even got to spend some quality time with some real readers before the event (some of them turned out to be writers - how cool is that?)

Me and the uber cool kids of Allerton School
So much happened ... here are the highlights as seen by my camera:

Organizer Debbie Moody briefs the authors on how the awards will proceed (Notice the incredible arched ceilings of the Leeds Civic Centre - an impressive piece of architecture)

We got to sit up front: (left to right) Paul Magrs (Diary of a Dr Who Addict),  William Hussey (Dawn of the Demontide), Helen, Laura, Chris, David and Teresa (who is an illustrator too!).

Show of hands: who read ALL the shortlisted books?

David wins the 11-14 category and attacks the lad who is meant to hand the trophy to him.

"Mine! All mine! (maniacal laughter)"

I loved the audience's enthusiasm! Who says reading is dead?

Then David's maniacal laughter sparked a maniacal laughing competition amongst the teachers.

Students volunteering their teachers for the maniacal laughing competition

Host Paul Sleem coaxes teachers to join in ...
Now I did take lots of blackmail worthy photographs of teachers cackling into microphones ... but no, I will not post them here. They've suffered enough!

Here's William (of Demontide fame) talking about how he did a little dance when he found out he was short-listed ...

And here's William doing the dance!
Paul congratulates the hard-working organizers of this magnificent prize event
.Thank you to the librarians of Leeds for organizing this fantastic event to the tiniest detail ... thank you teachers ... thank you readers!

And one more thing ... I thought Leeds was rather impressive especially in the May sunshine. Here are some photos I took on my way to the event from the train station!

Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.