4 April 2017 View Event Photos
Once again the Doncaster Book Award smashed it, with a truly exceptional event to bring this year’s award to a close.
This April, the committee welcomed 800 children and their teachers to the Doncaster Dome for a fun day which celebrated the joy of books and reading and showcased the talent of our young people. Our guests included the wonderful performance poet Joshua Seigal, the illustrator (and budding comedienne!) Liz Million, and the very funny and famously bearded author Philip Ardagh.
Our classics theme this year was poetry, and the day began with a Poetry Slam which celebrated the joy of language and gave lots of our young people the chance to showcase their talent. Hosted by James from Talegate, the energy level was sky-high from the outset, and did not flag once throughout the event. Liz Million was first up, for an illustration workshop with a difference. Drawing live on stage, and providing her own really funny running commentary throughout, Liz demonstrated her skill at interpreting and bringing to life an author’s ideas in pictures, while also giving her audience lots of useful tips on creating and drawing characters.
Next up on stage was Joshua Seigal with a brilliant performance which in no time at all had the audience hooked. They happily shouted out responses, shook their rattles and stamped their feet as he performed poems such as ‘Just a Book’ and ‘I’m Addicted to Chicken’. Seeing and hearing hundreds of children (and adults!) making chicken noises and shouting out ‘I’m addicted to chicken’ is something not easily forgotten! Then it was time for groups of children from participating schools to bravely take to the stage and showcase their poems, to the noisy and extremely enthusiastic crowd. Their performances showed how hard they had been working and the result was most definitely worth it. Joshua had to pick two groups as joint winners, one from Saltersgate Juniors and the other The Healing School as the result was too close to call.
After a short break for lunch, James was back on stage to kick off afternoon’s proceedings. Liz Million once again took to the stage for another brilliant turn, before handing over to guest author Philip Ardagh. Philip very quickly had his audience in stitches as he spoke about his difficult childhood and the unspeakable horrors of being forced to wear his big brother’s second-hand pants! This, he said, so traumatised him that he decided to make sure he got so big that they would no longer fit him, and it seemed that perhaps more than a few of the children, by now hanging on his every word, thought this was why he is now two metres tall….! Philip also spoke of his time at boarding school and the boring letters he used to receive from his mother, letters which made him determine, when he was later writing letters in turn to his nephew, to invent stories to make them interesting and funny, surely an unusual start to a career as a fiction writer.
Next it was the turn of Paul from Waterstones, who presented the awards for best primary and secondary reviews, and our two poetry slam winners, unfazed by the now even larger afternoon audience, reprised their performances and received their prizes. Finally it was time for Lesley to announce the results of the voting and to declare the winners: The Bolds by Julian Clary in the Primary category, Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes in the Classics category and Amy Alward’s The Potion Diaries as the secondary category winner. All of these were very popular winners with the audience.
Lesley concluded by thanking Joshua, Liz and Philip, invited guests and dignitaries for coming along and on behalf of the committee gave an especial thank you to all our young people for their participation in reading, reviewing and voting for the books, and joining in our many events so enthusiastically. At this point, the formal part of the event was over. However, thanks to the generous loan by DFS of a truly epic red sofa, the fun continued for some time in the foyer. The sofa was a huge hit, and not only with the younger guests! Before heading home, each school group posed on or around it in turn, alongside the Civic Mayor, Liz and Phillip. However, in addition, throughout the day all the Committee, our lovely volunteers from DWP who had kindly helped with marshalling and seating the audience, Spellbound Chronicles authors Suzanne and Eve Maguire, Waterstones staff, Dome staff and even members of the public were photographed sitting or lying on it!
As always the Finale was exciting, entertaining and really celebrated the joy of reading. Once the exhaustion has worn off, the committee will be once more raring to go and ready to plan for next year!
Secretary, Doncaster Book Award