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GRAND FINALE 2012

28th March 2012

O.K. so maybe it’s just a coincidence, or maybe it is actually trying to tell us something, but the sun shone yet again for our NI Book Award grand finale. In soaring temperatures 240 students from 17 schools came to Stranmillis College to celebrate the NI Book Awards and to discover which title had in fact been voted our Northern Ireland book of the year 2012.

First up was ‘that poetry bloke’ a.k.a. Craig Bradley (where are your trousers? - they’re on the washing line’ – don’t ask!!!). Who better to whip up enthusiasm and reinforce the sense of fun which is the unsaid mantra of our book awards? Rhyme, rhythm and repetition were all explored with exuberance by this colourful performance poet and congratulations to all the brave volunteers who tried their hands at the tongue twisters.

The retort ‘he’s legend!’ certainly sums up the man of the moment. One pupil said ‘Craig was amazing – he was so funny. By the time it was over, my cheeks were aching – I had laughed so much!!’

A super innovative display by Aquinas was next on the agenda. Brilliantly imaginative, this focussed on reading in general and Run Rabbit Run in particular. Well done to you – X-Factor next?

On to The Chase – with so many eager contestants ready to put themselves into the hot seat, it was a case of names in a hat. Fergus from the Royal Belfast Academical Institution was the chaser who took on Jessica, Rachel, Leah and Adam from schools across the country in our decidedly ‘non-techy’ version of the new ITV game. A very close fight ensued with Fergus narrowly missing out on the 17 eggs amassed by his opponents. Great fun!

Finally the time had come. Hours spent reading had turned to days, days to weeks, weeks to months, months to votes and votes to winners. With excitement building eight pupils displayed the possible winning titles and one by one, titles were discarded until Run Rabbit Run was revealed in third place, Ministry of Pandemonium the runner-up and with great cheers, stamping and whoops of delight, Craig Bradley, our ‘poetry bloke’, announced Northern Ireland’s Book of the year 2012 to be Gangsta Granny by David Walliams.

Certainly this is a book which has had such a wide appeal, it has crossed age barriers and encouraged kids to read who previously weren’t interested. It is amusing, sad, beautifully illustrated and above all, fun - what a well-deserved winner!

And on that high note our finale reached its conclusion.

‘A fantastic end to NIBA this year – Craig Bradley was absolutely fantastic (totally mad but fantastic). Our pupils and indeed I thoroughly enjoyed the whole morning’ commented Wendy McAdoo, librarian, Holy Trinity College, Cookstown

  • Aquinas
  • The Audience
  • The Audience
  • The Audience
  • BGS with cakes
  • Craig Bradley
  • Craig with Gangsta Granny
  • Audience with Craig
  • From the Presentation
  • Poetry is not Pants!
  • Glen Lola
  • Glen Lola
  • Glen Lola
  • Craig Bradley
  • That Poetry Bloke with two pupils
  • RBAI with cakes
  • St Louise
  • Wallace with Craig

News item date: 19 MAR 2012

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WINNERS' ENCLOSURE!

First to the fence, having read all the 2011-12 Northern Ireland Book Award shortlisted titles:

  • Joseph and Ellie from Holy Trinity College, Cookstown
  • Michael, Fergus and Kai from the Royal Belfast Academical Institution
  • Joseph and Ellie
  • Michael
  • Fergus
  • Kai

News item date: 19 MAR 2012

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DRAMA WORKSHOPS WITH STEPHEN BEGGS

Bringing the short-listed titles to life is certainly one way to galvanise participants and reach out to those who think reading is for ‘nerds’!

Imagine the ‘gangsta granny’ attempting to break into the Tower of London and escape on her mobility scooter; a family being smuggled in the bottom of a lorry from East to West Berlin during the time of the Cold War; a mad tramp trying to warn others about a plan to wipe out the rest of the world and a young lad sketching in a graveyard who is able to see a figure help the dead from one world to another. These were some of the ‘freeze-frames’ acted out by pupils in the cross-community drama workshops held across the province during late January.

Workshops were hosted by Stephen Beggs, Company Manager of the Bruiser Theatre Company in Belfast. Professional actor, director and drama education facilitator, Stephen had a great rapport with all the pupils involved and the overwhelming enthusiasm and sense of fun created in his sessions is a reflection of how positively these workshops were received.

In addition to the characters caught up in each scenario, pupils transformed themselves into all sorts of inanimate objects – desks, trees, windows, the Tower of London so that absolutely everyone had a role to play and was fully involved. Brilliant!

‘We enjoyed it so much we would love Stephen to come back again’

‘The drama workshop was excellent and Stephen was brilliant’

Photos from the drama workshops with Stephen Beggs (click to enlarge!)

News item date: 28 FEB 2012

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LAUNCH OF THE NORTHERN IRELAND CHILDREN'S BOOK AWARD 2011-12

Wednesday 16th November saw the launch of the third Northern Ireland Children’s Book Award in the beautiful Christ Church library at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. This year nineteen of the 26 participating schools made their way to the central Belfast school to discover what titles had made the short list from the 60 plus nominations received from Northern Ireland’s 11-14 year olds. The whacky Ministry of Pandemonium by Chris Westwood – a sort of Harry Potter meets Stephen King – made the cut, as indeed did Gangsta Granny by David Walliams. Historical novels, adventure stories and a science-fiction title were also included in the final eight books.

Six brave contenders volunteered to participate in a literary ‘Mastermind’, pitting knowledge of their specialist book against the scary question-masters, Ann and Kathy! Black chair in situ, it was a tense two minutes for the pupils from Bangor Grammar School and the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. Congratulations to Fergus from RBAI who won the mega chocolate bar and to all the valiant contenders! Look out for the short-list Mastermind activity which will be downloadable from January.

Our guest author, the ebullient Oisín McGann had our young audience in fits of laughter with his entertaining presentation. He was an amazing speaker who identified so well with all in the room. The comments below say it all...

‘The girls really loved Oisín’ (St Patrick’s High School, Keady)

‘He completely engaged all of us’ (Cullybackey High School)

‘Our students enjoyed the Mastermind immensely and the talk by Oisín McGann was hilarious. All in all we had a fantastic day out.’ (Holy Cross College, Strabane)

‘I think that Oisín McGann should be a comedian he is so funny!’ (Chanel, Holy Trinity College)

‘I really enjoyed the day and I thought it was good that we got to meet Oisín McGann and I can’t wait to read the books!!’ (Ellie, Holy Trinity College)

‘All in all it was a great day!!!’ (Joseph, Holy Trinity College)

‘On our seats there was a bar of chocolate for each of us which we thought was very kind of them.’ (Caitlin, Holy Trinity College)

‘After Oisín McGann talked to us for a bit, he drew a sketch from Small Minded Giants. He drew it quite fast and it managed to turn out a great drawing, I was fascinated.’ (Dearbhail, Holy Trinity College)

‘Oisín McGann made everyone laugh with some of his stories, he was truly marvellous!’ (Jade, Holy Trinity College)

Thanks to all 180 of you who took part in the launch and thanks also to our sponsors, Scholastic, who gave each school present a complete set of the short-listed titles, Renaissance who produced the posters, stickers and bookmarks and who are working like mad to get quizzes ready for the eight titles on our short list, and last but by no means least to the Wendy Drewett Bequest whose funding has done so much to bring a love of books and reading to our young people.

Photos from the 2011 Launch (click to enlarge!)

  • Mastermind quizmaster with RBAI contenders James, Fergus and Daniel
  • How serious is this competition?
  • RBAI Mastermind contender Fergus is totally unfazed by his specialist book
  • ‘You should have known this one!’ Jordan from Bangor Grammar School baffled by quizmaster
  • Bangor Grammar School team look worried as RBAI contender Daniel takes the hot seat
  • ‘I definitely know this!’ Jonathan from Bangor Grammar School takes the game in his stride
  • No need to ‘pass’ on this one! RBAI contender James.
  • ‘Now the answer is probably Slytherin’ thinks David from Bangor Grammar School
  • Jordan from Bangor Grammar School in the hot seat as quizmaster asks the questions
  • Oisin McGann entertains his huge audience
  • The girls from St Louise’s know the answer here
  • Schools come together from all over N. Ireland to celebrate the launch of the 2012 NI Book Award
  • Bird’s eye over the audience
  • Oisin illustrates as he goes
  • Another masterpiece. Move over Leonardo!
  • Pupils from Holy Trinity College with Oisín
  • Pupils from Holy Trinity College with Oisín
  • Pupils from Holy Trinity College with Oisín
  • Pupils from Holy Trinity College outside RBAI

News item date: 16 NOV 2011

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2012 LAUNCH IMMINENT

The third year of the Northern Ireland Book Award will be launched at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution on Wednesday 16th November 2011 from 10.30 a.m. until 12.30 p.m.

Guest of Honour to launch the event will be Oisín McGann, award-winning author of books such as Small-Minded Giants, Ancient Appetites and the Mad Grandad series. Check back on the Northern Ireland Book Award website after the event for a report and photos from the launch.

News item date: 14 NOV 2011

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GRAND FINALE 2011

It was a sunny Wednesday afternoon when book aficionados from schools all over the Province converged on Aquinas Grammar School, Belfast, to discover at first hand who Northern Ireland young people had voted as their best book for 2011.

Excitement was building as Angela McGrath of Waterstone’s Belfast announced the winner of the short story competition. An astonished jack Crone from RBAI was the recipient of the £100 voucher and our congratulations go out to him and indeed to all the 200 plus pupils who entered the competition.

Then the first visiting author, Alex Scarrow, leapt onto the stage with his abounding enthusiasm and sense of fun. Pupils were thoroughly impressed with his ‘you-tube’ trailer for the Time Riders series and loved the ‘Irish’ accent of Liam O’Connor, recruited as a Time Rider from the sinking ‘Titanic’! A thoroughly entertaining presentation, Alex!

Next up it was the turn of those schools to champion the case for their favourite title. Thanks to Wellington College and Sacred Heart Grammar School, Newry for the great presentations.

Our final visitor was the illustrator, Liz Pichon who has now moved into this alien world of teenage books with ‘The Brilliant World of Tom Gates’ – yes we know the book isn’t on the short-list but what an interesting presentation her drawings made. All would-be artists were considering a new career with relish. Thanks to Scholastic Book Fairs and Clubs for sponsoring Liz’s visit.

Before the winning title was revealed two very special prizes were given to those schools who had contributed so much to the Northern Ireland Book Award. Congratulations to St Patrick’s High School, Keady and St Louise’s Comprehensive College, Belfast who received a kindle for their school libraries, courtesy of Renaissance Learning. It is the whole-hearted enthusiasm and participation of schools like yours that make this Award such a success!

Finally amidst a building drum-roll the winning books were announced. In third place was the parody ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ by Tim Collins. Runner up was Alex Scarrow’s ‘Time Riders’ (‘EPICNESS on a stick!’ according to Alex Nesbitt from Wellington College) but winner of the Northern Ireland Book award 2011 was ‘The Ring of Earth’ by Chris Bradford. According to Rory Purdy from Coleraine Academical Institution ‘This is a legend book’ –praise indeed! Congratulations Chris and a huge thank you to all who took part in our Northern Ireland Book Award 2011

Photos from the 2011 Finale (click to enlarge!)

  • Aquinas pupils
  • Angela from Waterstone's Belfast presents Jack from Royal Belfast Academical Inst. with a £100 voucher - a wonderful prize for the winner of the short story competition
  • Alex Scarrow tries to fool us with his Irish accent as he pretends to be Liam O'Connor recruited from the submerging Titanic
  • Liz Pichon and her wonderful illustrations
  • Kathy hands out Easter eggs to all budding photographers
  • Thanks for the venue, Liz!
  • Books
  • Totally absorbed - Inst boys with Alex Scarrow
  • Bangor Grammar school pupils with Liz Pichon
  • The mêlée
  • St Patrick's High School, Keady, with Alex
  • Friends School, Lisburn with Liz
  • Wellington College
  • Excitement in the air!
  • Alex is mobbed by Inst (RBAI) pupils!
  • Alex and pupils from St Patrick's High School, Keady
  • Aquinas pupils with Alex
  • Angela from Waterstone's Belfast presents Jack from Royal Belfast Academical Inst. with a £100 voucher - a wonderful prize for the winner of the short story competition
  • St Patrick's High School, Keady, show off their Kindle
  • St Louise's Comprehensive College download the next new NI Book Award possibilities on their prize Kindle

News item date: 06 APR 2011

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CHRIS BRADFORD WINS 2011 NORTHERN IRELAND BOOK AWARD

Chris BradfordThe 2010-11 Northern Ireland Book Award has been won by Chris Bradford's The Ring of Earth.

The Votes:

Just fewer than 300 votes were cast on line for this year’s NI Book Award and again in a mirror to last year the voting was very close.

In third place is the parody Diary of a Wimpy Vampire by Tim Collins

Runner up is the science fiction Time Riders by Alex Scarrow

Winner of the NIBA 2011 is The Ring of Earth by Chris Bradford

Your Comments on The Ring of Earth:

Rory from Coleraine Academical Institution: "This is a legend book"

Carsten from St Patrick's Keady: "I thought this book was AWESOME. Period."

Rhiona from St Louise's Belfast: "This was absolutely amazing. It has now become my favourite book series and I hope that Chris Bradford (greatest author of all time) will continue to write as amazing books as The Ring of Earth"

Samantha from Glenlola Collegiate: "I wouldn’t normally read this type of book because I think it is meant to appeal to boys more, but girls like myself would enjoy it too. It has a very exciting story line with lots of twists and turns. I especially like the feisty character Miyuki who brought a little 'girl power' to the book. I really enjoyed it and I would definitely read the previous books and the next instalment of the series"

News item date: 06 APR 2011

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WINNER OF SHORT STORY COMPETITION

The winner of the short story competition is Jack C from Royal Belfast Academical Institution. He wins a £100 gift voucher from Waterstone's.

Jack's story can be read in full on the Activities page.

News item date: 06 APR 2011

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PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION

Details of entries in our photographic competition have been added to the Activities page.

News item date: 06 APR 2011

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WORLD BOOK DAY 2011

Northern Ireland Book Award celebrated World Book Day 2011 with a joint author visit from two of our short-listed authors - Carnegie medal winner, Theresa Breslin and former advertising copywriter and author of the brilliant Diary of a Wimpy Vampire, Tim Collins. Prisoner of the Inquisition meets Nigel Mullet!

13 schools attended the morning event, hosted at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and a further 10 schools were at Bangor Carnegie Library for the afternoon session and all loved learning about Theresa’s cracking characters (ask about the hoodies!) and the history of vampires from which the wimpy Nigel Mullet emerged.

The huge thanks to Renaissance Learning and Accelerated Reader for sponsoring this event is best summed up by Wendy McAdoo, librarian from Holy Trinity College, Cookstown:

"Thanks for a great morning - our boys really enjoyed the whole event. There was great chat on the way home!!"

  • Theresa Breslin and Tim Collins
  • Diary of a Wimpy Vampire
  • Books by Theresa Breslin
  • Theresa Breslin
  • Tim Collins
  • World Book Day Visit 2011
  • World Book Day Visit 2011
  • World Book Day Visit 2011
  • World Book Day Visit 2011
  • World Book Day Visit 2011
  • World Book Day Visit 2011

News item date: 15 MAR 2011

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WIN A £100 WATERSTONE'S VOUCHER WITH OUR SHORT STORY COMPETITION

Our short story competition gives you the chance to win a £100 gift voucher supplied by Waterstone's. Just pick one story starter from a selection provided by some of the short-listed authors, and create your own story as a follow-on.

Full details on the Activities page. Closing Date Friday 21st January 2011!

News item date: 08 OCT 2010

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2010 LAUNCH A SUCCESS

The second year of the Northern Ireland Book Award was launched at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution on Wednesday 13th October at 1.30 p.m.

Guest of Honour to launch the event was Chris Bradford, hugely popular award-winning author of the Young Samurai series. As well as being an author, Chris is also a musician and martial arts expert.

Photos from the event can be seen below.

  • Chris Bradford launched the 2010-11 NI Book Award in October 2010.
  • Chris Bradford launched the 2010-11 NI Book Award in October 2010.
  • Chris Bradford launched the 2010-11 NI Book Award in October 2010.
  • Chris Bradford launched the 2010-11 NI Book Award in October 2010.
  • Chris Bradford launched the 2010-11 NI Book Award in October 2010.
  • Chris Bradford launched the 2010-11 NI Book Award in October 2010.
  • Chris Bradford launched the 2010-11 NI Book Award in October 2010.
  • Chris Bradford launched the 2010-11 NI Book Award in October 2010.
  • Chris Bradford launched the 2010-11 NI Book Award in October 2010.

News item date: 08 OCT 2010

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LAST YEAR'S NEWS AND PHOTOS

The news items and photos from the 2009-2010 award have been archived and can be found here.

News item date: 08 OCT 2010

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