Guardian competition - Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness has been given free reign over at the Guardian - he’s set up a competition (£50 book token, a signed copy of Patrick’s book and ten other books from Walker Press). It’s only open to anyone living in the UK but it’s an interesting challenge that might get a few people writing.

Whenever I write a short story or a novel, I ­always know the last line before I start. I might not know what the climax of the story will be, or how I will get to that line, but I always know the last feeling that I want to leave a reader with. My challenge is to write a story in no more than 600 words that …

… Starts with the line: A bell rang and I opened my eyes. I thought, ‘Oh, no, not him, anyone but him.’ … and finishes with the line: Then she let go of my hand, and I fell and kept falling.

Details about the competition are here.

Written by david. in: Competition | Tags:

Dahl and another shortlist

It is shortlist season - three competition’s have been announced in the last 8 days - this time it’s the Roald Dahl Funny prize. The competition is judged by Sophie Dahl, Roald’s granddaughter, and funnyman Dara O’Briain.

So without any more babble on my part - the shortlist for children aged six and under:

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler
Elephant Wellyphant by Nick Sharratt
The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers
The Witch’s Children Go to School by Ursula Jones, illustrated by Russell Ayto
There’s an Ouch in My Pouch! by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Garry Parsons
Manfred the Baddie by John Fardell

And the shortlist for children aged seven to fourteen:

Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear by Andy Stanton, illustrated by David Tazzyman
Paddington Here and Now by Michael Bond, illustrated by RW Alley
Stop in the Name of Pants! by Louise Rennison
Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Aliens Don’t Eat Dog Food by Dinah Capparucci
Urgum and the Goo Goo Bah! By Kjartan Poskitt, illustrated by Philip Reeve
More about the prize over at roalddahlprize.org

Written by david. in: Competition, childrens books | Tags: ,

Guardian shortlist 2008

I postponed putting up the Guardian shortlist on Saturday in favour of Darko Macan and Tihomir Celanovic. So many of you will have seen it already:

Frank Cottrell Boyce, Cosmic
Siobhan Dowd, Bog Child
Jenny Downham, Before I Die
Patrick Ness, The Knife of Never Letting Go

How must Patrick Ness be feeling this week after two nominations? Well, according to himself:

The last thing I was ever shortlisted for was a Wandsworth Council short story prize 8 years ago (I came in second, won 60 quid, and I gotta tell ya, was just as happy about that as I am about this, which is to say: very happy indeed).

Written by david. in: Competition, childrens books | Tags: ,

New and unfamiliar territory…

Last night saw the premiere of John Boyne’s Boy in the Striped Pyjamas in Dublin. I had two tickets to go but couldn’t make it… with good reason! (I had spies at the screening and they reckon it was pretty great. Congratulations John!)

But why couldn’t I make the movie? Ah, here’s the fun bit. I was holed up at a secret location being introduced to seven very interesting people. These seven very interesting people and I will make up the 2009 Bisto Book of the Year Award judging panel*.

(My brother asked last night what a Bisto award was. So for him: “The Bisto Book of the Year Awards are the leading annual Children’s Book Awards in Ireland” - more about them here)

I’m honoured and shocked at being asked. I’m also terrified about it and the many many books I have to read. But thanks to all those involved for the invitation, I am looking forward to it!

*This is the one and only time I think I’ll be able to mention the awards without giving anything away but if updates are fewer around here you can take it for granted that I’m way behind on a reading deadline. The first batch is already in and I have work to get to…

Written by david. in: Competition, childrens books | Tags: , ,

Booktrust Teenage Prize Shortlist

As previously spotted (here) the Booktrust Teenage Prize is nearly upon us - the shortlist was announced on Monday and the 16 original titles have been whittled down to a mere 6. Unexpectedly Meg Rossoff’s What I Was isn’t listed, nor is Jenny Downham’s Before I die - two books I expected to be up with a good chance.

The shortlist does make for good reading though -

Creature of the Night by Kate Thompson
The Knife that Killed Me by Anthony McGowan
The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner
Snakehead by Anthony Horowitz
Apache by Tanya Landman
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Walker Press must be delighted - they have three titles in the race, including the excellent Knife of Never Letting Go. It is great to see Kate Thompson still in with 1:6 chance for Creature of the Night as well as Anthony McGowan’s The Knife that Killed Me. I haven’t read The Red Necklace or Apache yet but I have some time between now and the 18 November.

Written by david. in: Competition, childrens books | Tags: ,

CBI Boy in the Striped Pyjamas Movie Competition

If you aren’t one of the lucky 100 winners from movies.ie, or you want to double your chances of winning, Children’s Books Ireland have a competition to win one of 5 family passes to a special advanced screening in Dublin (8 September) as well as a signed copy of the book.

It couldn’t be easier - all you have to do is answer the question:

To be with a chance of winning one of these fantastic prizes simply answer the following question correctly:

Who is the author of THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS?
A) Derek Landy
B) JK Rowling
C) John Boyne

Send your answer along with your name and a contact telephone number to [email protected]This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it with ‘STRIPED PYJAMAS Competition’ as the subject line. Closing date 3pm Wednesday 3rd September.

And in case you’re not sure - have a look at the author’s blog for a clue.

Written by david. in: Competition, movies | Tags: ,

Guardian Graphic Novel Competition

Fancy a chance to win a snappy special edition by Kyle Baker? The Guardian is running a competition to mark the launch of Danny Finderoth’s The Rough Guide to Graphic Novels (pretty much what it says on the tin). To win one of the prints (or the runner-up prize of Fingeroth’s Rough Guide) all you have to do is answer one quick and easy question…

In Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel about the Holocaust, Maus, the characters are all presented as various types of anthropomorphic animals, according to nationality or race. What animal are the Germans? (Hint)

As a bonus - Fingeroth has a feature choosing his top 10 graphic novels (more books added to the list). Enjoy.

Written by david. in: Comics, Competition, Reading, books | Tags: , , ,

Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Winners

Congratulations to Philip Reeve and Emily Gravett on winning the prestigious Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medals.

The books shortlisted in the Carnegie were all brilliant and I was sure it would go to Meg Rossoff - really glad to be proven wrong and I’m looking forward to reading Here Lies Arthur. Emily had two books (TWO!) shortlisted - who else could the award go to? That said - I’m really glad I didn’t have to decide who won, all of the shortlisted picture books are favourites.

Achockablog has more on the awards, go read his bigger and better post.

> Full Carnegie and Kate Greenaway shortlist

Written by david. in: Competition, childrens books | Tags: ,

Fancy a film?

Two competitions to win movie tickets:

Children’s Books Ireland have a competition to win free preview tickets to THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN. More over on the CBI website.

Movies.ie have a competition to win preview tickets to WANTED - which looks great (watch the preview video, I dare ya). Details on how to get your tickets here.

Written by david. in: Competition, movies | Tags: ,

Hans Christian Andersen Awards | Nominees and Winners

The latest issue of Bookbird (the cerebral and sometimes brilliant journal from the International Board on Books for Young People, IBBY for short) is devoted to the nominees of the years Hans Christian Andersen Awards. The issue profiles all of the nominees from both categories (writing and illustration) including our own Kate Thompson and Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick.

The full list of nominees were:

Author: Beatriz María Ana Ferro, Jackie French, Lene Mayer-Skumanz, Anne Provoost, Bartolomeu Campos de Queirós, Brian Doyle, Qin Wenjun, Kika Pulcheriou, Iva Procházková, Bjarne Reuter, Fatima El Maadoul, Irmelin Sandman Lilius, Virpi Talvitie, Marie Desplechin, Peter Härtling, Voula Mastori, Gudrun Helgadottir, Kate Thompson, Mino Milani, Shuntaro Tanikawa, Guus Kuijer, Iuliu Ratiu, Dragana Litricin-Dunic, Ján Navrátil, Beverley Naidoo, María Asun Landa, Barbro Lindgren, Jürg Schubiger, Ayla Çinaroglu, David Almond, Lloyd Alexander

Illustrator: Isol Misenta, Shaun Tan, Linda Wolfsgruber, Kitty Crowther, Rui de Oliveira, Pierre Pratt, Svjetlan Junakóvic, Adolf Born, Lilian Brøgger, Claude Ponti, Jutta Bauer, Vassilis Papatsarouchas, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, Roberto Innocenti, Akiko Hayashi, Kestutis Kasparavicius, Mauricio Gómez Morín, The Tjong-Khing, Stan Done, Nickolay Popov, Olga Bajusová, Lila Prap, Piet Grobler, Ulises Wensell, Eva Eriksson, Hannes Binder, Nazan Erkmen, Jan Pienkowski, David Wiesner

But there can only be two winners…  Jürg Schubiger from Switzerland for writing and Roberto Innocenti from Italy for Illustration. Congratulations to the winners - I’m not familiar with their work, but it is a good excuse to look them up!


Competitioning | Who says crime never pays?

Declan over at Crime Always Pays is giving readers the chance to win a copy of The Semantics of Murder, Aifric Campbell’s debut novel. Head on over and answer the not-too difficult question by Tuesday 6 May to put yourself in the running.

(PS - The independent adjudicator has adjudicated independently. The winner of the Iron Man ticket **sponsored by movies.ie** for tonight is ….[drum roll]…. Colm. An email with details is on it’s way)

Written by david. in: Competition | Tags: ,

competitioning | movies.ie

I won another competition! (ignore previous note on not winning anything)

Movies.ie (cheers!) have given me two tickets to see Iron Man next Wednesday night (30 April) in an undisclosed location in Dublin. Deb can’t make the show so I have a ticket for one (un)lucky sod. Stick a comment below and an independent adjudicator will choose the winner at random on Monday.

If you haven’t heard about the new Iron Man movie, here’s a taste:


Written by david. in: Competition, movies | Tags: ,

competitioning | childrens books ireland

I won a competition! (I never win competitions! Except that one with the Wii - thank again Science Week)

Many thanks to Tom in Children’s Books Ireland who just sent me on a copy of Mark Barratt’s Joe Rat. CBI already have a new competition to win family tickets to Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Snail and The Whale stage adaptation. (It’s playing in the Helix throughout May). The book is a classic picturebook (198-) and lives in my top 20 reading list. Top 20 picture books list anyway…

Go enter. G’wan.


action for autism | write me in

Darren Shan has agreed to write the winning bidder of an ebay auction into one of his next books - either his children’s novel The Demonata or his new adult fiction Hell’s Horizon. The winner’s character will get ’several mentions’ and a death scene.

Darren has given it a plug on his site and the bidding has been fairly high. How much would you pay to star in a Darren Shan book? Nearly €1,000 according to the current bid.

A very worthwhile cause and a great way to raise money.


Willesden Herald | Result

The Willesden Herald International Short Story competition has, after more than 800 entrants, decided that it could not find a suitable winner.

In Zadie Smith’s own words:

…in the end – we have to be honest – we could not find the greatness we’d hoped for.

I didn’t enter the competition, lucky me. But for a series of judges to come out and tell writers (of any age, race, gender or nation) that their contribution was just not great, or even good, is execrable. Have Zadie Smith and the other judges written such superior masterpieces that they are free to comment?

I’m not a hurt entrant, bemoaning my lost chance at glory. I am however very curious to know what kind of story the organisers expected to receive. Their principle mantra for entries was ‘MAKE IT GOOD’, not the most specific of entry requirements, just enough to let the judges out of choosing a winner. This was a bad decision, and not one to be celebrated.

In the words of one commenter (taken from the guardian)

As for the ‘pseudo-literary ficto-tainment that dominates our chain bookstores’ (quoting from Zadie Smith on Willesden Herald site): every Zadie Smith novel or any anthology with the Zadie Smith brand name attached will end up in pride of place in the picture windows of said chain stores. So what does that say about her (and the WH) stance? Isn’t it hypocritical as well as unrealistic?

Update: The prize (unceremoniously) will be divvied out amongst the shortlist due to pressure from the outside world.

Written by david. in: Competition, Writing | Tags: ,

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