The winners of the two 2023 Trinity Schools Book Awards have been announced in a ceremony hosted by Ibstock Place School in London on Wednesday 26th April. The novel Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman is the winner of the Trinity Plus Award aimed at older teens, and the TSBA 2023 is awarded to Green Rising by Lauren James. Both awards were determined by students from 15 participating schools in London and the South East. The annual award is organised by a committee of school librarians; this year’s theme was “Facing the Future”.
The YA thriller Dry imagines what happens when a severe drought in California, called the tap-out, results in no water at all, quickly turning a quiet suburban area into a warzone of desperation and violence. It was co-written by the award-winning and best-selling authors Neal Shusterman and his son Jarrod Shusterman, who are currently adapting the book as a Hollywood film. Based in Florida and California respectively, they joined the ceremony via video link.
Lauren James’ climate fantasy Green Rising tells the story of teenagers who have developed a strange new power – the ability to grow plants from their skin. With profit-hungry corporations eager to exploit them, these so-called “Greenfingers” must come together to outsmart the adults in the hope of rewilding the planet and bringing about their own green rising. A scientist by day, Lauren James founded the Climate Fiction Writers League. Although she has published many YA novels to great acclaim, this is Lauren’s first book award, and she was delighted to accept it in person.
Both winning books reflect young people’s sincere interest in – and concern for – the environment and climate change. Other shortlisted books dealt with the technical and ethical implications of advances in AI, as well as more personal stories of navigating friendships and relationships, including bullying, racism and grief.
Students and authors alike were excited to return to an in-person ceremony for the first time since 2020, with seven authors from all over the UK in attendance (Naomi Gibson, Sarah Govett, Lauren James, Nadia Mikail, Louisa Reid, Anthea Simmons and William Sutcliffe) and six more joining virtually, including from the USA (Femi Fadugba, Aimee Lucido, Elle McNicoll, 2023 winners Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman, and 2022 winner, Dr Jewell Parker Rhodes). School groups, too, had the option of attending in person or watching via livestream. Alongside the book awards, student competition winners were also celebrated for their book reviews and creative responses to the shortlisted books. These ranged from cakes to poetry and songs, videos, drawings and sculptures! After the formal ceremony, guests had the opportunity to view a special exhibition of these creative responses, as well as to meet the authors in attendance and get their books signed.
The 2023 shortlists in full:
TSBA shortlist (Year 7+):
- We Go On Forever – Sarah Govett (Marotte)
- Green Rising – Lauren James (Walker) – Winner
- In the Key of Code – Aimee Lucido (Walker)
- Show Us Who You Are – Elle McNicoll (Knights Of)
- The Cats We Meet Along the Way – Nadia Mikail (Guppy)
- Burning Sunlight – Anthea Simmons (Andersen Press)
- Clean Getaway – Nic Stone (Knights Of)
- The Summer We Turned Green – William Sutcliffe (Bloomsbury)
Trinity Plus shortlist (Year 9+):
- Wranglestone – Darren Charlton (Little Tiger Press)
- The Upper World – Femi Fadugba (Penguin Random House Children’s UK)
- Every Line of You – Naomi Gibson (Chicken House)
- The Outrage – William Hussey (Usborne)
- Wrecked – Louisa Reid (Guppy)
- Dry – Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman (Walker) – Winner