Fulwood, Leyland and Penwortham pupils amongst judges at Lancashire book awards

Posted on - 20th October, 2021 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Competitions, Education, Fulwood, Fylde Locations, Kirkham, Leyland, Penwortham, Preston Locations, Preston News, Schools, South Ribble Locations, South Ribble News
Ben Oliver

Pupils from Fulwood, Leyland and Penwortham have judged the 2021 Lancashire Book of the Year Awards.


The participating schools were Our Lady’s RC High School in Fulwood, Leyland St. Mary’s Catholic High School and Penwortham Girls’ High School.

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The judges, comprised of Year 9 pupils from 21 high schools across the county, voted for Ben Oliver, a young adult sci-fi author, for the first book in The Loop trilogy. Ben accepted the award at a virtual ceremony today (Friday 15 October).

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The book tells the story of Luka Kane, who has been inside a hi-tech prison for over two years. Luka may now have the chance to break out of The Loop to save himself and the world.


Ben Oliver said: “I’m really thrilled to win this award. What makes it so special is that it’s chosen by students, with representatives from 21 high schools across Lancashire debating which book to pick.

“It feels wonderful to know that the young readers enjoyed my work and that it resonated with them. Thank you so much to everyone involved.”

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Now in its 35th year, the Lancashire Book Of The Year remains one of the few awards where young people are responsible for drawing up the shortlist and choosing the overall winner.

The Lancashire Book of the Year was the first regional book award for children when it was organised in 1987. It was won that year by Philip Pullman, who went on to success with the His Dark Materials trilogy.

County Councillor Jayne Rear, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for education and skills, said: “This award is an engaging and fun way to encourage young people to read and help us to maintain the county’s high literacy levels.

“It is fabulous to see a love of reading shared by so many pupils. I hope that the students have enjoyed taking part in a different way this year.”

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This year, the young judges started with a long list of 68 young adult fiction books. Due to the pandemic, they could not meet up in the spring to shortlist the titles, so it was held virtually, with a final shortlist of 11 titles selected.

The library service worked with eBook partner BorrowBox to ensure that the judges had access to the shortlisted titles as eBooks as well as the physical copies in their schools. From the 11 titles, the judges selected the winner, completed via a confidential vote in September 2021.

County Councillor Peter Buckley said: “Being introduced to books at a young age is important, as it can build up a love of reading that can stay with you for the rest of your life.

“It’s fantastic to see so many young people so actively involved in judging these awards and clearly getting so much pleasure from books. I really hope that their love of reading continues. I’m keen to do all I can to promote it.”

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UCLan sponsored the Lancashire Book of the Year Award for the 20th year.

This year’s judging schools were:

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  • Shuttleworth College, Burnley
  • Sir John Thursby Community College, Burnley
  • Albany Academy, Chorley
  • Parklands Academy, Chorley
  • Shaftsbury High School, Chorley
  • Accrington Academy, Hyndburn
  • Mount Carmel Roman Catholic High School, Hyndburn
  • Our Lady’s Catholic College, Lancaster
  • Kirkham Grammar School, Fylde
  • Lytham St. Anne’s High School, Fylde
  • Colne Primet Academy, Pendle
  • Marsden Heights Community College, Pendle
  • Our Lady’s RC High School, Preston
  • Stonyhurst College, Ribble Valley
  • Leyland St. Mary’s Catholic High School, South Ribble
  • Penwortham Girls’ High School, South Ribble
  • Lathom High School, West Lancashire
  • Upholland High School, West Lancashire
  • Fleetwood High School, Wyre
  • Millfield Science and Performing Arts College, Wyre

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The shortlisted authors and books were:

  • Danielle Jawando – And the Stars Were Burning Brightly
  • Kerry Drewery and illustrated by Natsko Seki – The Last Paper Crane
  • Amanda K. Morgan – Five Little Liars
  • Nathan Parker – The Rise of the Chemist
  • Christina Hammonds Reed – The Black Kids
  • S.A Domingo – Love on the Main Stage
  • Rob Harrell – Wink
  • Kesia Lupo – We Are Bound By Stars
  • Ben Oliver – The Loop
  • Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick – On Midnight Beach
  • Jenny Oliver – Chelsea High

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