Rising star novelist Sarah Govett wins Trinity Schools Book Award

Up-and-coming YA author Sarah Govett has grabbed the 2018 Trinity Schools Book Award (TSBA) for the first novel in her critically acclaimed trilogy, The Territory. The Award was meant to be handed to her at the Ceremony at Emanuel School, but this had to be cancelled due to the poor weather conditions.

The Territory, the first in Govett’s dystopian series published by Cardiff-based Firefly Press, beat strong contenders including The Weight of Water (Sarah Crossan), Welcome to Nowhere (Elizabeth Laird) and Railhead (Philip Reeve) to claim the top prize.

Govett said: ‘I’m very honoured to have been chosen for the TSBA amongst such brilliant authors and thrilled that my writing resonates with my readers. I wanted to tell the story of The Territory to highlight the environmental and socio-economic challenges that our teens are likely to face in the future, so I’m delighted that the series is gaining recognition.’

Now in its fourth year, the TSBA was launched in 2014 by librarians from 22 independent senior schools in the Trinity group, with an aim to celebrate quality writing in both new and older fiction. The TSBA Committee determines a theme each year and shortlists books nominated by librarians in the Trinity group. The theme for the 2017-18 TSBA was ‘A New World’ and this year 24 schools signed up to take part, including nine from outside the Trinity group.

Tony Jones, Librarian at Emanuel School and TSBA Committee member, said: ‘We congratulate Sarah Govett on the achievement. Given the current political climate it is not surprising that The Territory, a dystopian thriller, clearly resonated with our students who chose it as their winner. Sarah’s vision of a future in which most of the country is under water is a powerful call to arms to tackle climate change. The brutal, unfair education system takes the intensity of exam pressure to terrifying new levels; this is a world where creativity is not valued, where failure of the dreaded TAA at age 15 results in almost-certain death.’

Secondary school children between the ages of 11 and 14 read the nominated books through the autumn and spring terms and cast their votes in February to determine the winner. Student competitions also run alongside the main book awards for the best book reviews and best creative response to a book, which included original animations, paintings, poetry, sculpture and models. The winners were announced on the blog instead of the Ceremony this year. The Ceremony is a celebration of the shortlisted books, as well as the students’ work, attended by the authors and student groups from the participating schools and was sadly missed this year.

Jones continued: ‘With more than 20 schools taking part this year, the TSBA is helping to nurture the next generation of book lovers and offers vital space for young people to celebrate and engage with their reading, beyond the demands of the curriculum.’

Hailed by a Guardian’s children’s book site critic as ‘the 1984 of our time’, The Territory was shortlisted in the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2014 and named one of The Telegraph’s Best YA Novels of 2015. The Territory and the sequel Escape (2016) are both recommended Book Trust reads. The TSBA accolade follows Govett’s win of the Gateshead Book Award in January 2017.

The much-anticipated finale in The Territory trilogy, Truth, is published on 29 March.



Student winners of TSBA 2018!

This year we had a very strong response to our Best Creative Response category, as well as Best Book Reviews.
If you haven’t had a look at the Creative Responses yet, do have a look now!

Our winners for the TSBA 2018 Creative Responses are:

  1. Our winner is Henry H from Kingston Grammar School for his response to The Arrival – look at his Wildlife Identification Guide
  2. Second is Thomas C from Emanuel School for his response to Welcome to Nowhere – look at his Escape from Syria model
  3. Third is Joe D from Kingston Grammar School for his response to The Arrival – look at his Suitcase Scene

Our winners for the TSBA 2018 Book Reviews of our shortlists are:

  1. Our winner is Josh McG from Royal Grammar School, Guildford, for his review of The Arrival
  2. Second is Freya M from Emanuel School for her review of Welcome to Nowhere
  3. Third is Hilla S from Emanuel School for her review of Welcome to Nowhere

Congratulations to all of these wonderful student winners. Their prizes will be with them via their librarians soon. We are really disappointed not to have been able to award these in person, but the weather was against us this year.

2018 Ceremony cancellation and retrospective

Due to an unprecedented amount of snow, with the world outside looking like Narnia, we have reluctantly decided to cancel today’s TSBA Ceremony.  With very many thanks to Tony Jones of Emanuel for putting such hard work into the Ceremony and doing everything possible to keep the event alive until the very last minute.  The winner will be announced on the blog at 4 today, and the student winners at 4.30. In the meantime, enjoy the past years by looking at this wonderful video Tony and his students made.


And the winner is …Stewart Foster for Bubble Boy!

We were very pleased to announce last night that the students who took part in the Trinity Schools Book Award 2017 had voted for The Bubble Boy as their top read!  Stewart Foster was delighted to receive the prize, and said that for him that was ‘better than 10k hits on Twitter’. There were long queues at his signing desk as well, with students eager to talk to him and to get writing tips.

Author Spotlight: Marcus Sedgwick


Marcus Sedgwick is the author of our shortlisted book ‘She is not invisible’.  He is a prolific author with his books being shortlisted for the prestigious Carnegie medal no less than six times. She is not Invisible has won four other awards so far, and was shortlisted for the Guardian Children’s Book Award.  In order to write She is not Invisible Marcus worked closely with students and their librarian in a school for visually impaired students, so that he could understand more closely what it was like to be his heroine, and the students checked his novel for facts before publishing.His latest, just published book Saint Death is a searingly honest story about life in South America, most particularly about the grinding poverty a rich lifestyle imposes on the poor. We hope you enjoy She is not Invisible, and go on to read Marcus’s other books.

Sense-ational new year!

Welcome to the third year of the Trinity Schools Book Award. This year, our theme is Sense-sational – exploring the five senses in fiction.  A slight change to the format, based on feedback is that this year we shall have only one main list of books, with a supplementary further reading list called Trinity Plus. Creative responses can be made on any book on any list, and reviews can also be written on all books. Please do respond to the books on the website as well. The only restriction is the the winner will be chosen from the main list, although all of the books will enhance your experience of all of the senses. Enjoy reading the books!