Still a bit wobbly

Great War Dundee winner

Yesterday, the winner of the Great War Dundee Childen’s Book Prize was announced at a ceremony in the Central Library in Dundee. There were dozens of children from schools across the city present, and the ceremony was presented by five pupils from Braeview Academy – two acting as masters of ceremonies, with one championing each of the three shortlisted books.

The pupils did an amazingly professional job – I loved the way my champion described The Wreck of the Argyll, my book – but as the other champions described Lindsay and Joe’s shortlisted entries Shell Hole and The God of All Small Boys, the more I became convinced that one of their books would win. They just sounded so good!

So when Theresa Breslin opened the golden envelope and announced that my book had won, my brain froze. I couldn’t believe it. I’d completely and utterly convinced myself that Joe or Lindsay would win.

Sandra, my partner, says that I managed to give an acceptance speech, but I’m just going to have to take her word for it. I spent the rest of the day in a bit of a daze, even after I’d got over the initial shock.

So my book is going to be published in September. I’m looking forward to working with Cargo Publishing to lick it into shape, but of course I’m nervous about the process too!

I’ve got more thoughts about this, of course, including how pleased I was with Qynn Herd’s winning cover design for my book (although all the covers, for all three shortlisted books, were amazing) but I’ll leave those for a later post.

In the meantime, I’d just like to thank all involved with the competition, especially Fiona, who’s been wonderful, and wish Joe and Lindsay every success in their writing. Lindsay’s first book is published next month, and I’ve every confidence we’ll see Joe’s work on bookshop shelves sooner rather than later.



  1. Salute, Giovanni!
    Other than the great result, what impressed me (as much as could be perceived from afar) was that the event was not only professional (to be expected from a publishing house) but encompassing of the community. My favourite comment was from the STV article, quoting Allen Burnett, “seeing such a large turnout of school age children to an event like this can have lasting effects on their relationships with literature”. You may have sown the seeds of future Chimney Rabbits (now there’s an odd metaphor).
    Antonio the dark & handsome rabbit (who has an aversion to chimneys due to the height factor & mean jackdaws who don’t like rabbits peering at their nests)

  2. Brilliant news — all those years of writing “Open the dialog box” and “Click OK” have finally blossomed into something great.

    Congratulations! Rabbits everywhere are cheering for you!

    1. Thanks, Michael! It’s been a long journey but it feels really great. I did worry that decades of technical writing had ruined my ability to write properly. It turns out that the biggest difference between writing for end users and writing for children is that kids are a lot smarter…

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