‘Cli-Fi’ Novels win both Trinity School Book Awards 2023

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

And the winner of the 2021 award is – Susin Nielsen!








We were delighted to award the 2021 Trinity Schools Book Award to Susin Nielsen for this wonderful story about homelessness.  Although Susin couldn’t join us live for the Ceremony at Ibstock Place School as she was on set filming, she recorded a wonderful and heartfelt message of thanks to all the students who had read and loved her book enough to vote it the winner in a very strong shortlist.

The online Ceremony, held at Ibstock Place School, was ably put together by their librarian, Helen Cleaves.  We had an excellent Q&A with all the authors who ‘attended’ the ceremony, with pupils submitting the questions beforehand.  We had some very tantalising glimpses into the writer’s dens and methods of working, and some hints about next books due to come out soon.

Always a highlight of the Trinity Schools Book Award is it’s unique focus on creative responses to books, and we saw some amazing examples of the work that students produced for this shortlist.  They will be up on the website shortly.

Everyone at the ceremony enjoyed themselves, and we look forward to next years Awards.  The new shortlist will be revealed shortly.



The 2020 Trinity Schools Book Award was awarded on Thursday 12 March to Penny Joelson for her debut novel I Have No Secrets before an audience of around 200 pupils from schools across London and the South East and fellow authors Tanya Landman, Andrew Norriss and Nicky Singer. Students from 30 schools took part this year, voting for their favourite book from a shortlist of six with the theme Stand Up, Speak Out. Unusually, I Have No Secrets is narrated by a teenage girl with severe cerebral palsy, who is incapable of speech or independent movement, but nevertheless uses intelligence, courage and determination to expose a crime and apprehend its perpetrator.  Penny Joelson herself was not able to attend the Ceremony at the last minute due to illness, but the Award was accepted on her behalf by one of her editors.

The Trinity Schools Book Award not only encourages young people to read and discuss good quality contemporary literature, but also asks them to review and, uniquely, to respond creatively to the shortlisted books. The creative responses received this year – ranging from 3D models, poetry, paintings, cakes and songs to both computer and board games, puppets and films –demonstrated incredible imagination and inventiveness. Many of the contributions were showcased at Thursday’s Award Ceremony, hosted by City of London School in the heart of the City. David Rose, Senior Librarian at CLS, said: “It is often said that young people no longer read, but the enthusiasm with which students have engaged with this year’s shortlisted books and the many ways that they have been inspired to respond to them gives the lie to that statement. The books on the shortlist encouraged debate about the importance of speaking out, through historical, contemporary and futuristic plots.”

Now in its sixth year, the TSBA was launched by librarians from 22 independent senior schools in the Trinity group, with the 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. Participation now extends beyond the group to any interested secondary school. Children from the ages of 11 to 14 read the shortlisted books through the Autumn and Spring terms and cast their votes in February to determine the winner. The student competitions for the best book reviews and best creative response run alongside the main book awards.

The full shortlist was:

The Ones That Disappeared – Zana Fraillon (Orion Children’s)

I Have No Secrets – Penny Joelson (Egmont)

Beyond the Wall – Tanya Landman (Walker)

Mike – Andrew Norriss (David Fickling)

Ghost Boys – Jewell Parker Rhodes (Orion Children’s)

The Survival Game – Nicky Singer (Hodder Children’s)

Next year’s theme and shortlist will be announced in June.

And the winner–ahem, winners, are…

For the first time, we have joint winners of the Trinity Schools Book Award! Students in over 20 schools took part in TSBA this year, and their votes have resulted in a tie for Ausländer by Paul Dowswell and Ink by Alice Broadway. Ausländer is a historical novel about a Polish boy in Nazi Germany; whilst Ink is a fantasy set in a world where your life story is tattooed on your skin. Although completely different genres, both books fit this year’s theme of “Secrets and Lies” and captured students’ imagination.

Congratulations also to our other four shortlisted authors, Nicholas Bowling, Frances Hardinge, Muhammad Khan and Kim Slater. We know all of your books were devoured and enjoyed, judging by the wonderful book reviews and truly creative responses they inspired for our student competitions.

We hope that all schools enjoyed taking part, and we hope that you join us again next year!

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 The 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.