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Southern School Book Awards

Year 9 pupils from across Sussex and Kent honour their favourite authors at the Southern School Book Awards ceremony.

300 Year 9 pupils from across 24 schools in Sussex and Kent, gathered at Roedean on Friday 25 January to meet their favourite authors at the Southern Schools Book Awards ceremony. The Southern Schools Book award was created back in 2004 to recognise the fantastic array of UK Young Adult books that are published every year, and to give school children the chance to have their say on what they believe is the best each year. The winning author was chosen Year 9 pupils, and the students were full of excitement to meet the writers whose books they had loved, and to find out who had won the prestigious prize.
This year’s shortlisted novels were Will Hill’s After The Fire, Nick Lake for Satellite, Teri Terry’s Contagion, Susan Wilson’s The Extinction Trials and John Young for Farewell Tour Of A Terminal Optimist. All the authors read an extract from their books and answered questions put to them by the children.  
The evening was hosted by author Lisa Heathfield, who won last year’s prize with her book Paper Butterflies, and the pupils were delighted when Carnegie Prize shortlisted Will Hill took this year’s prize. On receiving the award, Mr Hill said: “It means so much to me that this award has been voted for by young readers, and I am so grateful.”
Headmaster Oliver Blond added: “We absolutely love hosting this event, which was set up to encourage pre-GCSE year pupils to read beyond their school texts, simply for the love of it. The enthusiasm of the pupils from all the schools was palpable and there was a real buzz about the theatre when the children got to meet and talk to their favourite authors. We can’t wait for next year now.”
The evening could not have taken place without the generous volunteer spirit of Roedean staff and students; girls from Year 7 all the way up to the Sixth Form assisted in greeting our visitors and guiding them through the school, while girls in our Year 9 & 10 SSBA reading group hosted the shortlisted authors for a ‘meet and greet’ reception prior to the event.