2020 ALCS Educational Writers’ Award winner announced

09 December 2020

Black History Matters by Robin Walker wins the UK’s sole award for creative educational writing.

The winner of the 2020 ALCS Educational Writers’ Award is Black History Matters: The Story of Black History, From African Kingdoms to Black Lives Matter.

Written by acclaimed Black historian, Robin Walker, the 2020 judges praised this outstanding book which provides a timely introduction both to Black history and the Black Lives Matter movement.

The result of this year’s ALCS Educational Writers’ Award – the UK’s only award for creative educational writing – is announced this evening by Tony Bradman at a virtual awards ceremony hosted by the Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS). Robin Walker receives prize money of £2,000.

Published by Franklin Watts, Black History Matters aims to provide young people with a comprehensive resource throughout Black History Month and beyond. It chronicles thousands of years of Black history, from African kingdoms, to slavery, apartheid, the battle for civil rights and more. Important and inspiring Black personalities, from Olaudah Equiano to Oprah Winfrey, are highlighted throughout, while achievements and progress are balanced alongside a look at the issues that continue to plague Black communities.

This year’s judges – children’s author, Bali Rai; school librarian, Liz Annetts; and secondary school teacher, Charlotte Baggley – were full of praise for the winning title:

“This accessible, comprehensive and inspiring book provides a balanced and timely introduction, both to Black history and to the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement. It’s an excellent classroom resource that will be used time and time again by teachers.”

Runner-up for the 2020 ALCS Educational Writers’ Award is How to Be Autistic, written and illustrated by Charlotte Amelia Poe, and published by Myriad Editions. The judges praised this highly personal account of autism, mental illness, gender and sexual identity as: “araw, honest and potentially life-changing personal story which fills a gap in the resources currently available, and illustrates how far we still need to travel in order to understand and support those with autism”.

Further information about the winning author can be found below. The 2020 ALCS Educational Writers’ Award focused on books for 11-18-year-olds, published in 2018 and 2019. Black History Matters beat off strong competition from the four other titles shortlisted for this year’s award. They were:

AFRICA, AMAZING AFRICA: COUNTRY BY COUNTRY, written by Atinuke and illustrated by Mouni Feddag (Walker Books)

EARTH HEROES: 20 INSPIRING STORIES OF PEOPLE SAVING OUR WORLD, written by Lily Dyu and illustrated by Jackie Lay (Nosy Crow)

HERSTORY: 50 WOMEN AND GIRLS WHO SHOOK THE WORLD, written by Katherine Halligan and illustrated by Sarah Walsh (Nosy Crow)

HOW TO BE AUTISTIC, written and illustrated by Charlotte Amelia Poe (Myriad Editions)

The ALCS Educational Writers’ Award was established in 2008 by ALCS and the Society of Authors (SoA), “to celebrate educational writing that inspires creativity and encourages students to read widely and build up their understanding of a subject beyond the requirements of exam specifications”.