It’s Awards Season at ALCS!

Next month brings the announcement of the winners of two ALCS-sponsored awards: the 2016 Educational Writers' Award, and, in its inaugural year, the Ruth Rendell Award.

The 2016 Educational Writers’ Award

The 2016 shortlist for the annual Educational Writers’ Award has been announced by ALCS and the Society of Authors, with three non-fiction titles for readers aged 11 – 18 in the running for the £2,000 prize. The Educational Writers’ Award is the UK’s only award for creative educational writing which stimulates and enhances the learning experience.

The three outstanding books on this year’s shortlist bring alive the rich language of Shakespeare, the endless possibilities of art, and the beautiful intricacies of maths for readers aged between 11 – 18. They are:

Oxford Illustrated Shakespeare DictionaryShakespeare

Written by David and Ben Crystal
Illustrated by Kate Bellamy
Published by Oxford University Press

This illustrated dictionary aims to unlock the mysteries of Shakespeare’s world, words and language. Over 4,000 words are clearly explained, with examples from the 12 most-studied and performed plays, and the book also includes thematic sections which illuminate a rich range of topics from Armour and Colours to Occupations and Ships.
The judges said: “Far more than a dictionary, this visually appealing treasure chest is fun as well as informative, and gives a real insight into Shakespeare’s language and the rich world of his plays. With its wonderful variety of layout, colour and pace, you could spend hours with this book, dipping into the richness of Elizabethan life with an amazing range of information, from the finer points of swearing to the influence of cosmology and the details of armour.”

The School of ArtSchool of Art

Written by Teal Triggs
Illustrated by Daniel Frost
Published by Wide Eyed Editions

Learn how to make great art with this illustrated collection of 40 fun and informative lessons, which introduces you to the key principles that underpin all good design, from composition and colour to line, shape and perspective. Each lesson is led by one of the School of Art’s five expert professors, who together demonstrate key concepts never previously brought together in a children’s art compendium.
Our judges said: “At a time when creative subjects are coming under increasing pressure in the secondary curriculum, this very well-executed book has enormous depth and breadth, and offers the opportunity for 40 weeks of serious study and application for independently-minded students who would like to immerse themselves in the School of Art’s friendly but challenging curriculum.
Engagingly written, it is beautifully clear and light-hearted – but never childish.”

This is Not a Maths Book: A Smart Art Activity BookMathsBook

Written by Anna Weltman
Illustrated by Edward Cheverton and Ivan Hissey
Published by Ivy Kids

Discover how mathematics can be artistic, and art can be mathematical, with this graphic activity book, full of drawing challenges that have a mathematical basis. From simple geometric patterns to fascinating fractal art; to awesome anamorphic art, and cool Celtic knots, discover the beauty in maths, and the maths in beauty. Whether you’re a maths whizz or just a daring doodler, this book is your graphic guide to smart art.

Our judges said: “This is of course, a maths book; just not maths as you thought you knew it. With sheer visual pleasure on every page, it makes you itch to take up a pencil and get started on the designs. It’s such an original idea: a book that marries art and maths and helps make sense of quite complex concepts without making you think you’re doing anything in the slightest bit difficult.”

Celebrating educational writing

Now in its ninth year, the Educational Writers’ Award was established in 2008 by ALCS and the Society of Authors “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”.

The 2016 Award focused on books for 11 – 18 year olds, published in 2014 and 2015. This year’s judges are secondary school English teacher and author Jonathan Lomas; award-winning author and international expert on adolescence Nicola Morgan; and school librarian Nicky Ransley.

The winner of the 2016 Educational Writers’ Award will be announced at the
All Party Writers Group (APWG) Winter Reception at the House of Commons on Tuesday 6 December. The winning author(s) will receive a cheque for £2,000.

Follow the event on the day on Twitter: #EWA16

The Ruth Rendell Award 2016Ruth Rendell

Also announced next month at the APWG Winter Reception: the winner of the inaugural Ruth Rendell Award, which will be presented to the author or writer who has done the most to raise literacy levels in the UK, either through their writing and books, or through their advocacy and championing in the cause of literacy.

The Ruth Rendell Award was established earlier this year by ALCS and the National Literacy Trust in memory of bestselling novelist Ruth Rendell who died last year aged 85. Known for writing thrillers and psychological murder mysteries, including the Inspector Wexford series, she was also a long-time champion of the National Literacy Trust and its work to raise literacy levels in the UK.

The judging panel for this inaugural award is Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust (chair); Jonathan Fryer, ALCS Board member; Sue Wilkinson, Chief Executive of the Reading Agency; and Ginny Lunn, Chief Executive of Beanstalk.

The award will be presented by Ruth Rendell’s son, Simon Rendell.
There will be a full report on the winners of both Awards in the December issue of ALCS News.