What’s the T? wins Educational Writers’ Award 2022

The award is the UK’s only prize for creative educational writing. The winning title was announced at a ceremony at the Goldsmiths’ Centre in central London.

The 2022 Educational Writers’ Award was presented to What’s the T? author Juno Dawson and illustrator Soofiya by author and musician Karl Nova. Each received a trophy and a cheque for £1000.

Judge Sean Chuhan took to the stage to pay tribute to the high calibre of the shortlisted works: “Choosing the shortlist was tough, picking the winner was a real challenge, each book shortlisted left a really meaningful impression on all of us. However, one book really did stand out for all of us”.

What’s the T? is a no-nonsense guide to all things trans and non-binary written by award-winning author and former PSHE teacher, Juno Dawson, with drawings by visual artist and illustrator, Soofiya. From identity and expression to coming out and dating, it guides young people aged 14+ through the modern transgender experience, to help them live their best lives, true to who they are.

On accepting the award, Juno said: “Thank you so much, and thank you to all the judges. I want to dedicate this award to Brianna Ghey and to Alice Litman, two young transgender women who didn’t survive the current moral panic that young trans people are finding themselves in. Thank you very much for spreading the word, getting our book into libraries, and into the hands of those young people who need it.”

The judging panel, which included children’s author Sita Brahmachari and secondary school librarian Melissa Craig, alongside secondary school science teacher Sean Chuhan, praised the winning book for being hugely informative and written in a way that will appeal to a wide audience.

The judges said: “Juno Dawson and Soofiya have produced something incredibly special with this book.  It is a fantastic guide, not just for young people who may be exploring their own identity and sexuality, but for anyone seeking to understand transgender and non-binary issues. With a powerful charge of optimism and lived experience, it is witty and funny without being flippant, and practical without being dull. We can see it becoming an influential book indeed, with the power to open minds and hearts”.

Founded in 2008 by ALCS and the Society of Authors, the Educational Writers’ Award is the UK’s only prize that celebrates creative educational writing for under-18’s. The shortlisted works were recognised for inspiring creativity and encouraging students to read widely and build their understanding of a subject beyond the requirements of exams. This year’s award was for books written for the 11-18 age bracket and focused on works that offer fresh takes on history and positive perspectives for now.

You can read more about the Educational Writers’ Award, including previous winners, here.