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About the Award

Archive of Previous Years

You can still view the web pages for previous years' awards:

Background

Local book award schemes to encourage and develop a love of reading have been springing up in the past few years in England and Scotland but until now there has been no such award in Northern Ireland. In an attempt to rectify this, two school librarians, Ann Cowdrey and Kathy Lindsay, decided to introduce such a scheme to the Province in 2009.

Funding for the initial year came from a bequest for children and reading - the Wendy Drewett bequest - and this was acknowledged in the award title. Scholastic Book Clubs and Fairs provided each of the 22 participating schools with one copy of each of the 12 short-listed titles and this, combined with sponsorship of some prizes and one author visit, is indicative of their commitment to the initiative.

The Initiative

Children are the driving force behind the scheme and it is their suggestions which provide the foundation. All year 8-9 school pupils in Northern Ireland were invited to submit nominations which fit specified criteria. Booksellers, too, submitted nominations according to sales figures, as a fair reflection of what young people were actually reading and again the nominations had to fit the specified criteria.

The whole emphasis is on books that are exciting and encourage children to read more books and the over-riding aim is to see book-centred social interaction and debate amongst young people from all community sectors.

The first year of the award saw a range of author events, book-related drama workshops and creative writing events. Full details can be found on the 2009-10 News and 2009-10 Events pages. Similar activities are planned for 2010-11, the second year of the award.

The winner of the first Northern Ireland Drewett Book Award was Derek Landy's The Faceless Ones, announced at the grand finale on 24th March 2010.

The Future

The initiative was run as a pilot in its first year but it is believed that the scheme has the potential to become an annual event including all Northern Ireland post-primary schools.

Long term sponsorship to ensure sustainability is the current focus of the organisers.

Our Sponsors

Scholastic Book Clubs and Fairs continue to support the Book Award. They have generously donated one copy of each of the short-listed titles to every participating school (which amounts to some 45 schools in 2010-2011!). Sponsoring an author visit for the Grand Finale in April 2011 is further evidence of their support.

The NIBA committee would also like to thank our other main sponsors, Renaissance Learning and associated Accelerated Reader Advantage, for their generous support manifest in publicity materials, prizes and author visits.

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About the Wendy Drewett Bequest

The former Head of Children’s Services in Buckinghamshire, Mrs Wendy Drewett, left a bequest to CILIP on her death. It stated:

“It is my wish that this gift shall be known as the Wendy Drewett Bequest and shall be used to keep children’s librarianship alive by funding research and supporting students or other such activities that support children’s librarianship.”

As a result, the Northern Ireland Book Award put in a successful bid for funding and the dream of a book award for the children of Northern Ireland became a reality.

Visit CILIP website

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