About the Award

Archive of Previous Years

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


Local book award schemes to encourage and develop a love of reading had been springing up in England and Scotland but no such award existed 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 participating schools with one copy of each of the short-listed titles - a commitment which continues to this day.

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 are invited to submit nominations which fit specified criteria. Booksellers, too, submit nominations according to sales figures, as a fair reflection of what young people are actually reading and again the nominations have 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 took place in subsequent years 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 has now evolved into an annual event including around 35-40 Northern Ireland post-primary schools.

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 and for this we are enormously grateful.

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 and prizes.

We continue to be hugely appreciative of the Wendy Drewett bequest which has been the foundation of our initiative.

Local support

The last independent book store in Belfast ‘No Alibis’ is extremely supportive of the initiative, offering substantial discount to those purchasing complete packs of the short-listed books and prizes for creative writing. Stephen Beggs is our wonderful local drama facilitator and his boundless enthusiasm in bringing the short-listed titles to life knows no limits. Our other local partner, on board for the first time this year, is the Lyric Theatre in Belfast and we look forward to drama workshops and to the finale in this wonderfully stylish venue by the river Lagan. 


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.

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