Category Archives: News

2017 Judges Announced for the BBC Young Writers Award

Bestselling author, HOLLY BOURNE and ‘Good Immigrant’ editor NIKESH SHUKLA call for ‘authors of tomorrow’ as they join BBC Radio 1’s ALICE LEVINE on judging panel of BBC YOUNG WRITERS’ AWARD 2017

Open to all young people aged 14 to 18, who live in the UK, entrants are asked to create stories of up to 1000 words on any topic with the judges eager to see stories that show real imagination and creativity; high quality writing that can capture and hold the reader. The shortlist of the top five stories will be announced Saturday 30 September 2017 (subject to change) with the finalists invited to attend the exclusive BBC National Short Story Award 2017 ceremony in London on Tuesday 3 October 2017, where the winner will be announced.

The talented winning writer of the BBC Young Writers’ Award 2017 will have their story broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and receive a personalised mentoring session with an author to help develop their writing skills. All five shortlisted writers will be given a guided visit to BBC Broadcasting House and have the chance to meet high-profile authors, publishers, agents and broadcasters. The shortlist will also have their stories published on the BBC Radio 1 website and receive a copy of the BBC National Short Story Award 2017 anthology.

The deadline for receipt of entries is 5pm (BST) Friday 21 April 2017. The Terms & Conditions and Entry Form, along with a host of resources to help writers get started with their stories, are available at

Holly Bourne, the bestselling author of Am I Normal Yet? and Nikesh Shukla, editor of youth magazine Rife and celebrated anthology The Good Immigrant have been announced as the judges for the 2017 BBC Young Writers’ Award. They will join BBC Radio 1 DJ Alice Levine who returns as chair of the judges for a third year in a quest for ‘extraordinary’ stories that reveal how teenagers are inspired by the world around them.

Speaking about the Award, which was launched in 2015 to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the BBC National Short Story Award and to create a launchpad for the next generation of writing talent, Alice Levine says:

I’m delighted to be judging the BBC Young Writers Award for the third year running. It’s such a privilege to know I’m part of something that helps young people take their first steps on the journey to becoming the authors of tomorrow. The Award always produces incredible stories examining everything from the everyday to the extraordinary. How our writers express so much in so few words never ceases to amaze me, and the quality of the entries is so high that finding a winner isn’t so much like panning for gold as diving into a treasure chest. I hope 2016 has provided all our young entrants with the inspiration to write the kind of unforgettable stories we’ve come to expect from the BBC Young Writers’ Award.

Fellow judge, Holly Bourne says:

I was so thrilled to be asked to judge the BBC Young Writers’ Award 2017! When the world seems chaotic and crazy – writing can be such an incredible outlet. I’m passionate about young people feeling empowered to use their voices and tell the stories that are important to them. Whether that’s an escapist delve into a fantastical world of their imagination, or writing to make sense of the issues of today – I can’t wait to see what they come up with. It’s this kind of energy, honesty and originality that makes the BBC Young Writers stand out year after year!

And judge Nikesh Shukla says:

My work as the editor of a youth magazine, Rife, means that I work with some of the best young minds around, and I feel constantly challenged and inspired by what they write. I can’t wait to read these incredible stories whilst judging the BBC Young Writers’ Award, and am particularly interested to see the impact recent political events have had on teenagers.

The BBC Young Writers’ Award was won last year by 14 year old Lizzie Freestone for her ‘haunting, intriguing and lyrical’ story Ode to a Boy Musician. The story, focussing on a boy set free from his fearful and narrow life by his talent as a musician, was praised as a ‘brilliant
piece of storytelling’. The inaugural 2015 Award was won by Brennig Davies for his tale Skinning, the graphic account of a boy having to skin a rabbit on the orders of his overbearing father. Both winners had the honour of hearing their stories read on BBC Radio 1 by high profile actors Daisy Ridley and Sir Ian McKellen respectively.

Liz Allard, Executive Producer of BBC Young Writers’ Award, says:

Now in its third year, the BBC Young Writers’ Award provides the next generation with the opportunity to showcase their formidable talent as short story writers. Last year’s shortlistees delighted us with their diversity in style, theme and imagination with the winner 14-year-old Lizzie Freestone standing out for her haunting and poetic story. We are eagerly looking forward to uncovering new and equally captivating stories; stories that not only showcase the writers of the future but may well signpost a future winner of the prestigious BBC National Short Story Award.

Neal Zetter poetry workshops for Children & Young People

The 2017 SRC theme is Animal Agents so I have put together a special Animal Rap & Rhyme session which I am hoping you’ll be keen to book me for in summer.

Linking to the theme I am offering:

  • an interactive funny animal poems performance
  • fun with words including my animal alliteration game
  • the chance for children to create their own animal tongue twister poems
  • the opportunity for children to meet a real live author, poet, entertainer and buy signed copies of my books if they wish containing many animal poems (I have two new books out in 2017)

  • it’s for 6-12 yrs olds – but nobody is turned away, parents/carers/siblings welcome
  • Cost = £110 + Oyster
  • I am currently free all summer up to and including 18 August
    Please let me know if you’d be interested even though it may be early days

    Neal Zetter
    020 8529 6608

    Facts matter: push back against Misinformation now!

    Following on from the awesome My Library by Right badge in 2016, the brilliant people at CILIP have released a Facts matter badge for this year.

    2017 appears to be the year that the Truth has finally gotten its boots on and tightly laced!

    Wearing a nifty badge is all well and good, but we as professionals need to be active and start pushing back against the lies, omissions, misinformation and alternative facts that appear to have become de riguer in the modern world.

    It is a massive task and if at first it seems daunting it is good to remember that we are not alone in facing this challenge.

    If you want to join up and organise, the Radical Librarians Collective is a brilliant group to get involved with:

    the Radical Librarians Collective aims to offer a space to challenge, to provoke, to improve and develop the communications between like-minded radicals, to galvanise our collective solidarity against the marketisation of libraries and the removal of our agency to our working worlds and beyond.

    If you are not sure where to begin, the Que(e)ry Librarians have started a resource list for libraries and library workers that wish to actively resist the spread of falsehood:

    #LibrariesResist Resource List

    It is a work in progress but is already fairly extensive, of particular interest is the Fake News, Propaganda, Fact Checking, Media Literacy subsection, but everything is worth reading and sharing. I would recommend checking back regularly for updates.

    Also worth reading is Information Literacy Won’t Save Us; or, Fight Fascism, Don’t Create A LibGuide by Ian Clarke

    If you are a member of CILIP it is a good idea to get involved with the Special Interest Groups as a committee member, even if you arejust a regular member you can start start lobbying your regional committee to take up active involvement where appropriate to educate group members about so-called ‘alternative facts’.

    For those library folk reading this that are not members of CILIP it may be time to revisit your reasons that prevented you form joining or inspired you to let your membership lapse as it may be that these have changed as the organisation has changed and is more energised in working for all library & information professionals across the UK.

    You can collect a Facts matter badge from CILIP HQ from next week.

    Scoop Magazine scoops a unique creation by two Laureates

    Download (PDF, Unknown)

    The Worshipful Company of Arbitrators Reading for Pleasure Offer to London Schools

    The Worshipful Company of Arbitrators is committed to promoting education in its widest sense and particularly in supporting children from disadvantaged backgrounds who have fewer opportunities than others. This is a commitment that has been encouraged by successive Lord Mayors.

    During 2017, the WCA Trust has decided to support literacy development and the encouragement of children’s reading for pleasure in London schools. The WCA Trust will sponsor a number of author/ illustrator / poet / storyteller visits for disadvantaged pupils in London schools, throughout 2017. The project will be organized by Sue Bastone, Mistress Arbritrator and Authors Aloud UK.

    To apply for visit funding download and fill in this application form:

    Download (DOCX, Unknown)

    The Author of Tomorrow Award

    The Author of Tomorrow Award is designed to find the adventure writers of the future.

    Run in partnership with a number of non-governmental organisations dedicated to improving global literacy levels, it is open to anyone aged between twelve and twenty-one who has completed a short piece of adventure writing in English.

    To enter the Author of Tomorrow Award

    The author must be aged between twelve and twenty-one years of age (on 1 January 2017).
    The piece of short fiction entered must be between 1500 and 5000 words.
    The submitted work must, in the opinion of the judges, fall within what can be defined as adventure writing (using the definition provided here).

    The author must provide

    An electronic copy of their piece of short fiction
    A short synopsis of their work
    A scanned copy of their birth certificate

    Closing date

    Entries can be submitted from the 31st of October 2016 until the 23rd of January 2017. Any story submitted after the deadline will not be eligible for entry.

    The winning author will receive £1,000 pounds sterling and a framed certificate.

    Full details are available here:

    Christmas Literary TV Guide

    For the past several years Helen Smith the School Librarian at Eckington School has compiled a list of all the films and television shows based on books that show over the Christmas period.

    This is no small task as the massive list will show.

    The titles have only been picked from Freeview channels and there are no 18s on the list to make it family friendly.

    You can download the list here:

    Download (PDF, 3.28MB)


    UK Blog Awards 2017

    Blog awards seem to have become a thing over the past few years, I know that TeenLibrarian has ended up on a number of lists detailing educational and library blogs of note over the years but this is the first time that it has been nominated for a gong.

    I am not asking anyone (friends. colleagues & family) to vote for me because that would be a bit tacky but if you have used TL at all over the years and think it deserving of a nod then by all means please do.

    To vote click on the image below to be taken to the voting page.

    UK Youth Parliament annual sitting kicks off Parliament Week 2016

    On Friday 11 November, Members of the UK Youth Parliament will debate a range of topical issues, including the need for cheap, accessible public transport and tackling racist and religious discrimination. In addition, they will hold a short debate on to reflect on current political affairs and their ideas for “A Better, Kinder Democracy.”

    The Youth Parliament, sitting for its seventh year in the House of Commons Chamber, heralds the start of UK Parliament Week (14-20 November), an annual festival of events intended to connect communities across the UK with their democracy.

    This year’s Make Your Mark campaign to decide the topics of the Youth Parliament’s debate in the House of Commons received a record number of ballots, reaching 978,216 young people. Make Your Mark is now the biggest youth consultation of its kind in UK history, with almost two million young people aged 11-18 taking part in the last two years.

    Schools across the UK have been encouraged to tune in to watch the debates which will be streamed on and broadcast on BBC Parliament from 11.15am. At the close of debates, MYPs will vote to decide which of the topics will become the focus of their national 2017 campaign.

    For the first time, the annual sitting of the Youth Parliament coincides with Armistice Day, and so the session will begin with a two minute silence at 11.00, which will be streamed live on the UK Parliament website.

    Morning session
    Watch from 11.15am (broadcast concludes by approximately 12.40pm)
    · We must stop cuts that affect the NHS
    · Votes for 16 and 17 year olds in all public elections
    · Make public transport cheaper, better and accessible for all

    Afternoon session
    Watch from 1.40pm
    · Tackling racism and religious discrimination, particularly against people who are Muslim or Jewish
    · A curriculum to prepare us for life
    · ‘A Better, Kinder Democracy’

    The UKYP sitting will be presided over by the Speaker Rt Hon. John Bercow MP, who said:

    “I am delighted to welcome the Youth Parliament to their annual sitting. It is always encouraging to see young people debating issues so passionately in the House of Commons and participating in our democracy. Almost a million young people, from across the UK, voted for the motions before us on the Order Paper today, and I am pleased that they are making their voices heard and engaging with the parliamentary process.”

    MYPs will also be joined by David Lidington MP, Leader of the House, and Valerie Vaz MP, Shadow Leader of the House, who will both speak from the despatch box in recognition of the UKYP as the only external group permitted to use the House of Commons Chamber.
    David Lidington MP, Leader of the House of Commons, said:
    “The UK Youth Parliament is an opportunity for Westminster to hear young people raising the issues they care about most. Both MPs in Parliament and ministers in Whitehall will be listening to what MYPs have to say.”
    Valerie Vaz MP, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, said:
    “Nearly a million young people voted to decide the topics that their Members of the Youth Parliament are debating, which range from public services to promoting democracy and fighting discrimination. These are very pertinent at this time, and I look forward to the debate which I am sure will be of the usual very high standard.”

    Connor Hill, Member of Youth Parliament for Dudley said:
    “We as a Youth Parliament are proud to represent young people across the UK and the House of Commons is the perfect place to do just that. We have once again carried out the largest youth consultation in the UK. The number of young people taking part in Make Your Mark this year has reached the phenomenal heights of over 978,000 ballots. The opportunity to debate issues that young people have voted on in such a hallow chamber is a once in a lifetime opportunity and every single MYP is honoured to be able to do so to represent their area.”

    Around 250 MYPs from across the UK will participate in the debate and have been elected by their peers to represent them. MPs have also been invited to meet their local Youth Parliamentarians on the day to discuss these key issues.

    The Youth Parliament is one of the key events of Parliament Week, a national awareness week supported by the House of Commons and the House of Lords.


    At noon on the 5th November I joined friends, colleagues and around 2500 other fellow believers in Museums, Galleries and a comprehensive, fully-staffed Library service outside the British Library on a march through London.

    It was amazing – I saw so many people I have known for years but seldom see in real life (and that was just the Librarians). Amongst the library supporters was Alan Gibbons who had a pivotal role in organising everyone, acting as master of ceremonies and making sure that speakers got to the megaphone; Lord Bird the cross-bench peer also made an appearance and gave a rousing and moving speech about the cost of closing libraries, his words are still echoing in my head two days later, Michael Rosen was his normal fiery self and Chris Riddell current Children’s Laureate spoke as well and apparently drew as he walked. Philip Ardagh loomed imposingly like a giant, bearded Moai statue and spoke as he usually does incredibly eloquently.


    There were so many people I know online in attendance – most of whom I only found out about after the event which is a shame as I love meeting people that I have only know via e-mail or twitter.

    I joined my fellow School Librarians bringing up the rear of the march, the whole event was impeccably organised and run by Unison shop stewards. The Metropolitan Police were also in attendance and kept a low profile throughout making sure that traffic kept its distance and otherwise acting unobtrusively.

    One of the most heartening things of the march was the fantastic level of public support, from drivers hooting and waving and people on the side-lines applauding as we walked past.

    This is the first time since the anti-austerity March for a Difference march I 2011 that I have been able to get out and stand up for libraries and I have missed it!

    Ian Clark one of the founders of Voices for the Library & The Radical Librarians Collective put together a short video of the day here:

    The march was peaceful, professional and ran like a dream and I would like to thank everyone who marched and those that provided moral support from near and far!

    Regional marches are being organised to keep the momentum moving.