The 7th Peoples Book Prize award dinner took place last night in the splendid Worshipful Company of Stationers’ Hall in the City of London. With 36 finalists, publishers and guests, the atmosphere was happy and supportive – there is something liberating about a prize decided entirely by popular vote. Every finalist called up to the stage was there because lots of people loved and voted for their book; good news for authors, publishers and above all, the public, who’ve shown that books and reading are things to get excited about.
It was great to meet up again with fellow former prize winner, Giles Paley Philips, whose entry, Little Bell and the Moon, is truly magical, with Giles’s beautifully cadenced poetry matched by Iris Deppe’s outstanding illustrations. In fact the standard of the finalists overall was so high, I’d prepared myself for a stiff competition and wasn’t too downhearted when Milky Moments by Ellie Stoneley scooped the prize.
A new category, Best Publisher, was introduced this year, for which I was delighted to discover that my publishers had been nominated. Congratulations Sarah Taylor of Troubador, it was brilliant seeing you at the dinner, even if Troubador didn’t end up winning!
Which sums up my experience of the evening overall: it really wasn’t just about the winning. What mattered was being there at the finals, meeting other authors and publishers who’ve come from all over the world, and celebrating together.
Thank you, all you wonderful people who backed The Tragickall History of Henry Fowst,
enduring stoically my stream of PBP reminders over the last few months. Without your support the book would never have got as far as it did and if it didn’t quite equal Ante’s Inferno’s achievement of winning the People’s Book Prize 2013, being a Finalist in 2016 is a pretty close second.