Ruth Rendell Award: shortlist announced

The Ruth Rendell Award was launched by ALCS and The National Literacy Trust in memory of the author who championed literacy throughout her life.

We are delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2022 Ruth Rendell Award, which celebrates individuals who have gone above and beyond to promote literacy development for adults or children in the UK. The winners will be announced at the ALCS Annual Awards on 22 February, hosted by previous winner Karl Nova.

Ruth Rendell, a best-selling crime author, championed literacy throughout her life and worked closely with the National Literacy Trust (NLT). After passing away in 2015, ALCS partnered with the NLT to launch the award in her honour the following year. Last year’s award was won by novelist and playwright Cecilia Knapp for her work as Spread the Word’s Young People’s Laureate.

The shortlist


Nigel Lungenmuss-Ward

Nigel is a tutor, author and founder of That Book Guy – Tutoring Services. He has a post graduate certificate in education (PGCE) from The University of East Anglia, specialising in Key Stage 1 and 2. As an undergraduate, he wrote his dissertation on how to develop character education within the classroom. He had his first picture book published in December 2020, which was illustrated by his 8 year-old son. He is passionate about promoting the benefits of reading for pleasure for children; in doing so, he won the Egmont Early Career Teacher Award in 2020.






Glenn Martin James

Glenn is an author, illustrator, and storyteller based in Staffordshire. He has worked with schoolchildren to inspire a love of reading and creativity. The first of his children’s novels is due out in spring 2023, titled Hugo and the Werewolf. Writing for all ages, his horror stories have been published widely. Co-founder of the John O’Gaunts Irregulars performers and the 42 Open Mic night for genre writers, Glenn has previously worked as a radio-producer and crime reporter. As a dyslexic author, he is deeply driven by a love of writing, storytelling, and working with others, and is fiercely proud to be writer in residence at Discovery Academy, and Ellison Primary Academy, in Staffordshire.






Giovanni Esposito (aka Spoz)

Spoz is an award-winning performance poet, singer/songwriter, film maker, playwright and is the poet-in-residence at Birmingham City FC. He has performed on major radio stations including BBC Radio Four and Radio Five Live. Spoz has also performed at multiple festivals including Glastonbury. His published works include a collection of poetry and graphic novel. Spoz was one of six Bards of Brum in the 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony, where he performed some of his poetry to an estimated audience of one billion people.






Yomi Ṣode

Yomi is a Nigerian-British writer. He was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize 2022, and for the Brunel International African Poetry Prize 2021, and received the Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship in 2019. His debut collection Manorism was published by Penguin in October 2022, alongside a stage adaptation at the Southbank Centre. Yomi’s acclaimed one-man show COAT toured nationally to sold-out audiences, including at the Brighton Festival, Roundhouse Camden and the Battersea Arts Centre. Orchestra premiered on BBC Radio 3. In 2021, his play, And breathe… premiered at the Almeida Theatre to rave reviews. Yomi  is the founder of BoxedIn, First Five, The Daddy Diaries, and mentorship programme, 12 in 12.






SF Said

SF Said’s first book, Varjak Paw, won the Nestlé Smarties Prize for Children’s Literature, and was listed by BookTrust as one of the 100 best children’s books of the past 100 years. The sequel, The Outlaw Varjak Paw, won the BBC Blue Peter Book Of The Year. His third book, Phoenix, represented the UK on the IBBY International Honour Book List, was shortlisted for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award, and nominated for the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medals. His latest novel, Tyger, won the Foyles Children’s Book of the Year 2022. SF Said has also written about children’s literature for both the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society Of Literature, and has given talks at the British Library and on BBC Radio 4, as well as campaigning for literacy, libraries and reading for pleasure.






Dapo Adeola

Dapo Adeola is an illustrator, author and character designer who was awarded Illustrator of the Year at The British Book Awards in 2022. Dapo rocketed into the picture book world with his greatly acclaimed illustrator debut, Look Up!, written by Nathan Bryon and published by Puffin in 2019, which won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize in 2020. Dapo illustrated My Dad is a Grizzly Bear and My Mum Is a Lioness written by award-winning author Swapna Haddow (both published by Macmillan Children’s Books), and collaborated with Malorie Blackman on their picture book We’re Going to Find the Monster! Dapo made his author debut in 2021 with the Puffin published picture book Hey You!: An Empowering Celebration of Growing Up Black, featuring 18 talented Black British illustrators, which also went on to win Illustrated book of the year at The British Book Awards in 2022. Born in Britain and of Nigerian heritage, Dapo is an avid believer in the importance of equal representation in the creative arts. He currently lives in London.

Sita Brahmachari

Sita won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize with her debut Artichoke Hearts and is one of the most important voices in children’s books today. Her books have been shortlisted for the UKLA Book Award, nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, and have been translated into many languages around the world. She is the current Writer in Residence at Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants. Sita lives in London with her family.