Tuesday 7th December 2010
The Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS) and the Society of Authors today announced that Bill Bryson had been awarded the 2010 Educational Writers’ Award for A Really Short History of Nearly Everything, abridged and edited by Felicia Law.
The award was made at the All Party Writers Group (APWG) Winter Reception at the House of Commons by Lord Hill, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools, who presented a £2,000 cheque to the winners.
Bryson, who shared the cash prize with Felicia Law who worked with him to abridge and edit the work opening it to a new age group, said of the award "I am honoured to be considered for this award. Any initiative that encourages young people to read is obviously to be applauded."
The 2010 Award focused on books for 12 -18 year olds published in 2009 & 2010. A Really Short History of Nearly Everything (Doubleday) beat off strong competition from a shortlist that was described as “highlighting humour, scholarship and lateral thinking.”
Fellow shortlistees for 2010 included: Ben Crystal for Shakespeare on Toast (Icon Books); John Farndon for Do You Think You’re Clever? (Icon Books) and Liz Strachan for A Slice of Pi (Constable).
The judges were unanimous in their support for the winning title describing it as: “Deeply engaging, A Really Short History of Nearly Everything triumphantly links an informal approach to profound content, without being in any way trivial or condescending. The language is fresh and appropriate for younger readers, the illustrations are charming and helpful, and the design uncluttered and accessible.”
“It is, in short, a very rare creation indeed – a non-fiction book for younger readers that may be classed as literature and that fact, coupled with the genius of being able to explain the concepts behind life, the universe and everything in such an accessible and entertaining way, makes this book a winner.”
ALCS and the Society of Authors created this award in 2008 to ‘celebrate educational writing that inspires creativity and encourages students to read widely and build up their understanding of a subject beyond the requirements of exam specifications’. It is the only UK Award that focuses on educational non-fiction. It is made annually for an outstanding example of traditionally published single volume work,
with or without illustration, for the specified age group. The age group alternates each year; this year’s focus was on works for 12 – 18 year olds and in 2011 the focus returns to works for 5 – 11 year olds.
The 2010 judging panel comprised three educational experts: school librarian Maggy Campbell, teacher Louise Gerrard and writer Stewart Ross.
The forthcoming deadline for submission for the 2011 award for the 5 – 11 year age group is 1st June 2011.