Brilliant Book Awards a big success

Authors, students and organisers of the Brilliant Book Awards SUS-150807-130129001
Authors, students and organisers of the Brilliant Book Awards SUS-150807-130129001

THE first ever Brilliant Book Awards ceremony has been held at Steyning Grammar School.

This event was organised by our Literacy Leader and school Librarians, in association with the Steyning Book Shop.

Many students, staff, parents, carers and members of the local community were invited to the celebration to honour both readers and books, and to have a chance to listen to and meet some visiting authors.

Matt Whyman author of ‘The Savages’, Ben Davis author of ‘The Private Blog of Joe Cowley’ and Tom Moorhouse author of ‘The River Singers’ all participated in the event talking about what inspired them to write their books and reading short extracts to a captivated audience.

Catherine Brockhurst , Poet was the evening guest speaker on June 26 and read from some of her work.

The presenter of the evening was a Year 9 student, Leo Ghorishi who expertly hosted the event. Amy Curran Year 8 interviewed the author Matt Whyman. Oliver Gillo Year 9 read his own review of one of the nominated books Split Second.

Year 7 students Melissa Shaw and Ocean-Lee Parker read out a poem they had written together and Year 6 students Joe Best, Freya McIvor and Isaac Dalziel read out their reviews of the Thirteen Storey Tree House. Contributions were also made by Aimee Collis, Millie Finney and Assistant Head Natasha Nicol.

The overall winning book choice of the evening was Virgina Bergin for her book ‘The Rain’.

After being announced as the winner she said: “I just wanted to say thank you so much to you and everyone at Steyning for choosing ‘The Rain’ as winner in the Year 9-11 category of the SGS Brilliant Book Awards! I’m a new author and it’s the first thing I’ve ever won . . . and . . . I can’t stop smiling about it!!! Thank you!”

Winners on the night were:-

Year 6 Category - The Thirteen Storey Tree House by Andy Griffiths

Year 7 & 8 Category - Dandelion Clocks by Rebecca Westcott

Year 9 to11Category - The Rain by Virgin Bergin

Sixth Form, Staff & Parents Category – We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Literacy Leader, Cheryse Rahaman said: “Students participating in the awards have been presented with a choice of books to read for a specific purpose, and have been able to meet some of the authors coming in to talk about their books and inspiration for writing them.

The talks have been both entertaining and thought provoking, and many of our students are now curious as to how they get their own creative writing published.”

The Brilliant Book awards have been the culmination of work that began back in January when Gudrun Bowers from Steyning Book Shop, along with Donna Moore and Vivien Kingston-Jones school librarians started compiling the long list of books for the event. Over 40 students were enlisted to help draw up a shortlist of books for the each of the four chosen categories: Year 6, Years 7-8, Years 9-11 and Sixth Form, Staff, Parents and Carers.

This event was launched on World Book Day back in March and since then the school has been encouraging those participating to read as many of the books as possible. Donna Moore, school librarian said: “It has been fantastic to have so many of the authors come and visit the school in the run up to the awards and for the ceremony itself. The final author to visit us before the ceremony was Virginia Bergin, the author of ‘The Rain’ who was hugely impressed by the students’ ideas for creative writing.”

Nick Wergan, head teacher said: “Embedding a love of reading is so important to us at Steyning Grammar School - the build up to this event, and the evening itself, have done exactly that. We want reading to be a lifelong habit for Steyning learners.”

This event has provided a fabulous opportunity for students to showcase their creativity and really engage with their favourite books.

We have had students reading out reviews, enjoying creative writing based on an aspect from a book which inspires them, as well as preparing questions to interview visiting authors about the thinking behind their new books.

It has also been a chance to bring the community together and create a positive school spirit around reading. The energy surrounding the book awards has been contagious, with primary school students and secondary students working together to share a common goal, a passion for reading!

Donna Moore summed up the event saying: “The Brilliant Book Awards has lived up to its name; it has encouraged so many students to enjoy reading.

“For me to be told by students that they have enjoyed taking part, as it has made them read books that they would not normally have read, has made it all worth it, roll on SGS Brilliant Book Awards 2016!”

Report and pictures contributed by Steyning Grammar School.