Sorry for lack of bloggage these last few days. The reason is that I’m rapidly becoming a total basket-case…

Back in October ’07 I received an astonishing piece of news, namely that TIM, DEFENDER OF THE EARTH was to be shortlisted for the 2008 Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize. For those who don’t know, Waterstone’s is currently the biggest chain bookstore in the UK. For the last month, every book on the shortlist (including TIM) has been out on special display in every branch in the country – a pretty awesome start for a young book’s life, I think you’ll agree!

Well, over the last couple of months Waterstone’s booksellers have been voting on which of the shortlisted titles is their favourite. And TONIGHT, at a special party at their biggest branch, in London’s Piccadilly Circus, the overall winner is going to be announced.

Here’s the full shortlist, together with their UK publishers:

Tumtum and Nutmeg by Emily Bearn (Egmont)
Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine (HarperCollins)
Stone Goblins by David Melling (Hodder Children’s Books)
Blue Sky Freedom by Gabrielle Halberstam (Macmillan)
Between Two Seas by Marie-Louise Jensen (OUP)
Shadow Forest by Matt Haig (RHCB)
Ancient Appetites by Oisín McGann (RHCB)
Tim, Defender of the Earth by Sam Enthoven (RHCB)
Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls (Scholastic)

Oisin McGann is a terrific writer and Ancient Appetites is tremendous. But if I was a betting man and I had to pick one, I have to say my money would be on Matt Haig’s Shadow Forest. It’s for slightly younger readers than Oisin’s and my stories here, but it’s wonderfully twisted and subversive and funny, with a proper old-school Roald Dahl flavour. However, that’s only taking account of my fellow authors published by RHCB!

As you can see, there’s an extraordinarily wide variety of writing on the list – all sorts of different types of stories. This in itself is a fine indication of the rude health that publishing for young people is currently in (HURRAH!) Plus, in a sense – if it’s not too corny to say it – we’ve all of us won already by having our work highlighted like this, held up for all to see. So, you know what? I’m actually not bothered if I don’t win…

…YEAH, RIGHT! ;p That might be what I’m telling myself. But there’s going to be a lot of people at the awards tonight. And right now folks, I tell you, I’m a nervous fool.

I’ll try to take lots of pics and report back in the next day or so. Wish me luck,

-JagmAHEM: I mean, ‘Sam’ 😉


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