Borders-based author Claire McFall has been named the winner of the very first Scottish Teenage Book Prize.
Claire’s third novel, Black Cairn Point, garnered votes from young people (aged 12 – 16) across the country to beat off stiff competition from Keith Gray’s The Last Soldier and Joan Lennon’s Silver Skin.
Claire will receive £3,000 whilst Keith and Joan will receive £500 each. The prize, has been set up to celebrate the most popular teen books by Scottish authors, and is run by Scottish Book Trust with support from Creative Scotland. Call Scotland produced free accessible versions of the three shortlisted books on their Books for All website.
Black Cairn Point, published by Hot Key Books, is a chilling and atmospheric thriller which explores what happens when an ancient malevolent spirit is reawakened and is set in Dumfries and Galloway.
Claire’s win comes hot on the heels of her signing a film contract for her first novel Ferryman in China, where her debut novel has sold almost a million copies. Claire received news of her Scottish Teenage Book Prize win from vlogger Claire Forrester aka The Book Fox at The Edinburgh Book Shop in Bruntsfield and the announcement video is available on the Scottish Book Trust’s website.
She said; “I’m over the moon that Black Cairn Point has been voted the winner of the first Scottish Teenage Book Prize. It’s a brilliant award that encourages young people around Scotland to read books about and from their country and their culture. But it also encourages them to get involved by taking part in the competitions for readers that run alongside. Silver Skin and The Last Soldier are both terrific books, so to know that readers chose my novel is an enormous compliment. This is why I write.”
Claire is a writer and English teacher who lives in Clovenfords in the Scottish Borders. Her first book, Ferryman is a love story which retells the ancient Greek myth of Charon, the ferryman of Hades who transported souls to the underworld. The novel won the Older Readers Category of the Scottish Children’s Book Awards 2013; was long-listed for the UKLA (UK Literary Association) Book Awards and long-listed for the Branford Boase Award; and nominated for the Carnegie Medal. The sequel to the Ferryman is due to be released in September. Her second novel, Bombmaker, was released in 2014 and considers ideas of identity in a dystopian devolved United Kingdom. Black Cairn Point was released in August 2015.
Heather Collins, Schools Programme Manager at Scottish Book Trust, said;
“Congratulations to Claire McFall on winning the inaugural Scottish Teenage Book prize which encourages teens themselves to actively celebrate the books they love and attracted votes from secondary school pupils across Scotland.
“The prize also creates a platform for Scottish writing talent to be recognized and promoted. Claire’s novel is a great example of Scotland’s vibrant teenage book industry where there are lots of great publishers working with very talented authors like Claire, Keith and Joan and this new prize has allowed us to shine a light on this fantastic offering.
“The benefits of encouraging young people to read, from transporting readers to other worlds to better understanding the one we’re in, are limitless. Scottish Book Trust is proud to be working with Creative Scotland to champion that cause.”
Sasha de Buyl, Literature Officer at Creative Scotland, said;
“Congratulations to Claire McFall on winning the first ever Scottish Teenage Book Prize. There can only be one first winner, but Claire’s accomplishment will see the celebration of a new standard of excellence in young adult fiction. The first book that moves you as a teenager can completely shape your world view, helping you develop into the person you will become. Ensuring that Scottish writing has a place in this stage of young people’s reading lives is fantastic and Creative Scotland is delighted to support it.”
Aspiring young film makers were also asked to get involved with The Scottish Teenage Book Prize 2017 by creating their own book trailer for one of the shortlisted titles or entering a graphic novel to create a comic strip adaption of a scene from one of the books. Scottish Book Trust provides extensive learning resources for teachers and librarians on how to create book trailers and how to make the most of using comics in the classroom.
St Joseph’s Academy in Kilmarnock is the winner of the Book Trailer Competition. Their trailer will be featured on Scottish Book Trust website and they will receive a £250 Waterstones voucher to help top up their school library.
The winners of the Graphic Novel Competition, who will each receive Waterstones vouchers, are:
• 1st place – Nicole Watt, Elgin Academy
• 2nd place – Jaden Green, Forfar Academy
• 3rd place – Morven Ross, Elgin Academy
The winning entries will be featured on Scottish Book Trust website, with interviews with the pupils and teachers involved with the competition to follow on the website’s blog in the coming weeks.