Oxford University Fellow and tightrope walker Katherine Rundell is the overall winner of this year’s Waterstones Children’s Book Prize…
Katherine Rundell has tonight been crowned the overall winner of the 2014 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, one of the most valuable and prestigious children’s book awards in the country.
Rundell’s Rooftoppers, about a young girl’s race to find her missing mother over Paris’ rooftops, was inspired by the author’s own night-time trespassing on the rooftops of Oxford’s colleges.
“It already feels like a classic,” said Waterstones Children’s Buyer Melissa Cox. “Her lyrical writing style is immediately charming,” she added, “effortlessly taking the reader on magical flights of fancy over the English Channel and up onto the rooftops of Paris.”
Revealed earlier in the night as the winner of the 5-12 age category, Rooftoppers beat off fierce competition from teen category victor Geek Girl, a debut novel by former model Holly Smale, and Open Very Carefully by Nicola O’Byrne, which triumphed in the picture book category.
This evening’s awards marked the 10th birthday of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, which champions new and emerging talent in children’s writing and is unique in that it is solely voted for by booksellers. James Daunt, Managing Director at Waterstones said he was “immensely proud of the successes achieved by ten years of winners.”
Winner of the Best Picture Book, Open Very Carefully by Nicola O’Byrne, is a snappy re-working of the children’s classic The Ugly Duckling. Melissa Cox described the illustrations as “some of the boldest I’ve seen – leap off the page with joy.” She also praised Best Book for Teens winner, Holly Smale, for “Providing light relief from the current trend for dark themes in teen fiction, Geek Girl.”
Smale, Rundell and O’Byrne each received a cheque for £2,000 with Rundell, as the overall winner, picking up an additional £3,000.