Friday, 9 October 2009

It's Mal Peet!

Mal Peet's win of the Guardian Children's Book Prize was announced at their swanky new offices in King's Place last night. Exposure is the third in Mal's "football" series set in South America and , incredibly, only his fourth book. (His Tamar won the Carnegie Medal).

I haven't read Exposure (am really put off by the footballing setting, even though I know that's not what the book is "about") but I know there's a re-working of Othello in there and parallels with Posh and Becks (I don't think he'd dare strangle her).

Last year's winner, Patrick Ness, made a generous announcement speech after Julia Eccleshare had been through all the longlisted books, which was also nice for the authors there who hadn't quite made it to the shortlist.

And then Mal, appearing fleetingly like Boris Johnson in his astonishment at having won, made an amusing speech and was given a framed mocked up Guardian front-page. He had been unkind about the paper in Exposure and reckoned that the amount he had spent on buying it for 35 years meant, even with his award cheque, the Guardian was still quids in.

Mal was a co-judge, with me and Jenny Valentine last year when The Knife of Never Letting Go won and now he will have another go because part of the prize is to be judge next time. It's the only children's book prize judged by fellow-writers and a lovely one to win. Congratulations to Mal.

The other two judge were Celia Rees and Andy Stanton and the award is chaired by Julia Eccleshare.


Anonymous said...

I don't feel Mal was unkind to the Guardian. He simply described it as a leftie kind of paper read by a certain type of person. Its appearance in the book is more the kind of thing to make you smile at the joke. GuardiƔn!

And there is very little football. I, too, had hesitated over the football stuff, as well as the fact that it's the third 'football' book in a 'series'. I reckon it doesn't matter.

Mary Hoffman said...

I'm sure you're right but, with the wealth of new books - YA and adult and such long ones now - waiting to be read, if I'm put off by the setting,others will get their turn first.

You see? Implacable as well as scary!

Anonymous said...

A woman should have principles. We must pick our books according to some sort of criteria, and yours is as good as any. (Of course, I'm only saying this because I'm so scared of you...)

; )

Mary Hoffman said...

But I shall abandon my principles to read Unseen Academicals when it comes out in paperback, because I can't leave out a Discworld novel (the 37th! That's as many as Shakespeare wrote plays) even if it is about football.

Leslie Wilson said...

Thanks, Mary, for alerting me to a new Discworld book, I am similarly delighted by them. I was put off by the football setting, too, but I think maybe I should overcome this prejudice,and read it. I should widen my horizons - anyway, I did enjoy Bend it Like Beckham, and THAT was about football