Thursday, 15 July 2010

Branford Boase Award Party

Ten years ago Katherine won this award for Song Quest, which means she still gets invited to the parties hosted by Walker Books in London. It’s a long way from Torbay to London, and the train went very fast, so the Muse’s legs are dropping off. But it was an exciting occasion so I’m using my last remaining energy to write this before I disappear back into the enchanted mists for a much needed glass of magical unicorn glitterade.

Yes yes, get on with it Muse, they want to know who won… pause for glitter shower… this year’s winner is Lucy Christopher for her book Stolen, published by Chicken House and edited by Imogen Cooper. Here’s Lucy (speaking) on stage with Imogen and last year’s winner B A Collins, proving that you can never go wrong with a little black dress.


Chicken House also published Song Quest as well as other past winners, which means they now have a whole collection of little black boxes with butterflies on the cover sitting along their office windowsill.


Strangely enough, the cover of Stolen also has a butterfly on it – could the judges have been a little bit influenced???


The butterflies are a Branford Boase theme. Its wings are the two B’s from the names of writer Henrietta Branford and her editor Wendy Boase, who founded the award to find new talent in children’s books, and Walker Books decorated their warehouse accordingly (look on the curtains)...


For younger writers, the Henrietta Branford Young Writing Competition runs alongside the main award. Here is Jacqueline Wilson presenting her prize to Sarah Hunter, one of the winners.


The other young winners escaped the stage before the Muse could work out how to use the flash on Katherine’s camera… it’s not easy with four hooves, especially with a glass of orange juice in one of them and a miniature pizza in another… But you can find a list of all the young winners and lots more pictures on the Branford Boase website.

Katherine says winning the Branford Boase Award feels a bit like a fairytale, which is probably why Lucy looked so happy (though the Muse noted she was wearing red shoes… has she read that one???) Jacqueline Wilson, complete with sparkly silver sandals, was rather like the fairy godmother and generously sponsored the prizes. Katherine felt a bit like Cinderella, having to run away before the end to catch her train home. She sends apologies to all those people she didn’t manage to find in time to say a proper goodbye, but you’ll be pleased to know she got home just a few minutes before midnight, when her party dress turned back into rags and I turned back into a grumpy old dragon… that would have been embarrassing!

If you enjoy writing stories of your own and want to come to the party next year, then why not enter the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition? Next time it could be YOU meeting Jacqueline Wilson and all those other famous authors!

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