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.



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.

And the winners were…..

JRR tolkeinI hope you enjoyed the Ceremony – it was a very busy, and fun time.  There was so much to do -including uploading to the new Flikr feed – that announcing the winners on this website was a little delayed. So without further ado – the winner of the Junior Award was JRR Tolkien for The Hobbit, and for the Senior Award it was Douglas Adams for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

TolkienObviously, with both of our authors being deceased, nobody was present at the ceremony to get the prizes.  However, Julie Crisp, former editor at Pan MacMillan who worked on the rerelease of his books, sent us this moving tribute to Douglas Adams, which was read out, and which emphasized how his books have remained current today:


‘It’s thrilling to hear that The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has won the TSBA Senior Award and even more so that it was voted on by the students themselves. Considering the first book was published in the late 70s it’s a testament to the wit and wisdom of Douglas that these books are just as relevant, warm, funny and original to generations of readers today as they were when they were first published.  I, unfortunately, never got to work with Douglas but did get to look after the books and work on the new editions which were released in 2009. I’ve been a huge fan of the books since I was a child and discovered during my management of them that for readers like Russell T Davies, Neil Gaiman, Stephen Fry and even Elon Musk (one of the most influential tech people today and the inspiration for Marvel’s Tony Stark) the books and characters played a huge part in their teen years and hold a special place in their hearts.

Douglas was a visionary. He would have blown a gasket at modern technology today. And Adamswould, no doubt, have had a huge amount of fun on social media. He was not a natural writer – he really had to work at it. One of his most famous quotes is: “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound as they make as they go by.”  He did not find writing easy. His creativeness was almost too much to be constrained on the page by words alone.  But he persevered. I love this quote from the man himself: “He attacked everything in life with a mix of extraordinary genius and naive incompetence, and it was often difficult to tell which was which.”  It’s because of this self-deprecating humour, his energy, his dedication and his very clear and never-ending wonder at humanity and the universe that he left us the legacy of an enduring and engaging timeless series that will, hopefully, continue to delight new generations of readers well into the future.



Book Thief Diorama by Eloise from Latymer Upper

Eloise from Latymer Upper won one of the prizes for this beautiful piece of artwork about the Book Thief.  It was quite remarkable, and certainly set the standard for the submissions next year.  It was a pity that Markus Zusak didn’t get to see this in person, Eloise would have been so thrilled, but we all loved seeing it on the night.  Well done Eloise!


And the winners are…..


Private PeacefulFeed_the_Minds_photo

The winner of the inaugural TSBA 2015 Junior Award was Michael Morpurgo for Private Peaceful

the book thiefmarkus-zusak

The winner of the Senior Award was Markus Zusak for The Book Thief.

A separate account of the ceremony with photos will follow, but just to say that we were honoured to have Michael Morpurgo at the Awards in person to pick up his prize.  Markus Zusak sent a message via his Publisher, Annie Eaton.