Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2012: Book Trust

Dark Lord eliminates comic competition by seizing the Roald Dahl Funny Prize for 2012

Also stomping to victory is a picture book about toddler tantrums which grabs the Prize for the six and under age category

A book about a dark lord who unwillingly inhabits the body of a chubby teenager has cast its evil spell over this year’s Roald Dahl Funny Prize judges. Dark Lord: Teenage Years by Brighton-based games developer Jamie Thomson, conquered competition from books by David Walliams and Olympics Ceremony scriptwriter and award-winning author Frank Cottrell Boyce to seize the winners prize for the funniest book for children aged seven to fourteen. The book, which centres on the trials of Dirk Lloyd in his bid to be taken seriously as an evil force on Earth and to return home to his reign of terror, is the first of a new series by Thomson and the first book for illustration undergraduate Freya Hartas.

Equally terrifying is a book about a toddler terrorising her mother and everybody around her with her tantrums. My Big Shouting Day by Cambridge based author/illustrator Rebecca Patterson has stomped its way to victory in the six and under category, beating award-winning illustrators, including Oliver Jeffers. Parents up and down the country will find much to laugh (and perhaps cry) about in this book which finds its humour in the terrible twos. The book follows Bella, a toddler who is having a particularly bad day, finding something to shout about in every activity.

The winning books are:

Funniest book for children aged six and under: My Big Shouting Day by Rebecca Patterson (Random House Children’s Books, Jonathan Cape)

Funniest book for children aged seven to fourteen: Dark Lord: Teenage Years by Jamie Thomson, illustrated by Freya Hartas (Hachette Children’s Books, Orchard Books)

Broadcaster and Roald Dahl Funny Prize judge Mel Giedroyc comments:
‘It's been a sheer honour and joy for me to be on the judging panel for the 2012 Roald Dahl Funny Prize. Dark Lord: Teenage Years is a worthy winner - it's funny-clever as well as funny-silly, which in my book is the best combination. I say "in my book", I don't mean that I had a book in the shortlist. That would be very unfair, to be judging books, one of which I'd actually written. Let me just make that clear, that did not happen. Long
live comedy and funny books - they give you crows' feet but they reassure you that life is worth living!!’

Both winners will receive £2,500, which will be presented at an awards ceremony at the Unicorn Theatre in London today, Tuesday 6 November. This year is the fifth year of the Prize which celebrates the funniest books for children.

The adult panel of judges for this year’s Prize comprised: author and Chair of Judges Michael Rosen; broadcaster and comedian Mel Giedroyc; author and journalist Lucy Mangan; author, illustrator and winner of the 2011 seven to fourteen category Liz Pichon; and illustrator and author Ed Vere.

Journalist and author Lucy Mangan on My Big Shouting Day: ‘What can I say? It just made me laugh and laugh. Who HASN'T had - or, if you're a wretched grown up who is supposed to keep control of herself at all times, at least WANTED to have - a big shouting day? Who HASN'T just wanted to go to pieces when faced with 'the TERRIBLE EGG' or toothpaste that is just TOO minty? And then it has the lovely ending, when our heroine is exhausted and overcome with remorse but wakes up to a better day tomorrow.’

Lucy on being a Roald Dahl Funny Prize judge:  ‘I was very scared of being a judge at first, and not just because I am a little bit frightened of Michael Rosen (he is too tall and you can always hear his brain fizzing) but because I didn't know how to go about it. But once I got stuck into all the lovely, lovely books that arrived, everything got easier and I started to enjoy myself very much. Good luck to whoever gets this brilliant job next year!’

Chair of Judges and author of Fantastic Mr Dahl, Michael Rosen comments on Dark Lord: Teenage Years: ‘This is a wonderfully absurd take on beings from another planet or another world and like all books with this theme it makes us think about how odd and crazy we are.
The book also makes us do several 'double-takes' as we find ourselves asking whether this Dark Lord is a boy's imagination or if he's really from outer space. Winners of this Prize have to give us a great concept, laughs throughout and a great twist at the end, which does indeed come with an excellent reversal of expectations which I couldn't possibly divulge. Just be prepared to be reversed! And be warned, the word 'Goth' will never be the same again.’ 

Michael on the fifth year of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize:  ‘I'm very proud of the fact that this is the fifth year of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, an award I cooked up when I was Children's Laureate in order to celebrate books that make children laugh. That's five years worth of books which are written with fun and enjoyment in mind. We know that reading for pleasure is an engine for attainment and achievement in all walks of life. Children, parents, teachers, librarians and all concerned with reading can find a rich vein of books for all ages in the back lists of this Prize, and this year's shortlists and winners are engaging, fascinating and above all, very funny.’

This year’s Prize saw schools across the country involved in the judging process. Over 500 pupils from across the UK were selected to read the shortlisted titles, discuss with their classmates, and pick their favourite funny book in the relevant category for their age. Their votes were combined with the votes of the adult judging panel to find the two winners for 2012. Classes from Hawkes Farm Primary School and Hitherfield Primary attended the awards ceremony, with Hawkes Farm pupils giving a special performance based on scenes from Michael Rosen’s biography Fantastic Mr Dahl.

The 2012 Roald Dahl Funny Prize shortlists were: The Funniest Book for Children Aged Six and Under:

The Baby that Roared by Simon Puttock, illustrated by Nadia Shireen (Nosy Crow) My Big Shouting Day by Rebecca Patterson (Random House Children’s Books, Jonathan Cape) Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton (Walker Books) The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle (Templar) Stuck by Oliver Jeffers (HarperCollins Children’s Books) The Worst Princess by Anna Kemp, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie (Simon & Schuster)

The Funniest Book for Children Aged Seven to Fourteen: 

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: Flies Again by Frank Cottrell Boyce, illustrated by Joe Berger (Macmillan Children’s Books) Dark Lord: Teenage Years by Jamie Thomson, illustrated by Freya Hartas (Hachette Children’s Books, Orchard Books) The Dragonsitter by Josh Lacey, illustrated by Garry Parsons (Andersen Press) Gangsta Granny by David Walliams, illustrated by Tony Ross (HarperCollins Children’s Books) Goblins by Philip Reeve, illustrated by Dave Semple (Marion Lloyd Books) Socks are Not Enough by Mark Lowery (Scholastic Children’s Books)

The Roald Dahl Funny Prize is unique: launched to honour those books that make young people, and all of us, roar with laughter. Concerned that the really side-splittingly funny books were being overlooked by other book awards, Michael Rosen created the Prize in 2008 with Booktrust, as part of his work as Children’s Laureate. The Prize aims to reward those authors and artists who write and illustrate their books using humour.

Winning author biographies

Rebecca Patterson grew up in Bolton, and first studied Fashion due to a love of fashion illustration. After graduating, she worked at an assortment of jobs, including being a classroom assistant in a primary school, while sending out manuscripts for picture books. Once her own children started school. Rebecca began an MA in Children’s Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art and had her first picture book commissioned at the end of the course. Rebecca’s work is inspired by her own childhood and her children’s lives, with stories often starting as games or something made up in the back of a car to amuse a child. She lives in Cambridge.

Jamie Thomson is the minion and slave of the Dark Lord, Dirk Lloyd. Jamie has been writing books, comics and computer games for his Dark Master for many years now. He lives in the dungeons below his Master's Iron Tower, chained to a desk, where he spends every day writing for his overlord. Or else.

Freya Hartas is currently a student studying illustration at Falmouth University, keenly awaiting to start her second year. Dirk Lloyd has been her first commission and one that she is very grateful for. She has thoroughly enjoyed interpreting Dirk's absurd escapades with elaborate landscapes of the Darklands, classrooms of goblin school children and evil Headmasters. She hopes to pursue a career in children's book illustration in the future (if Dirk will let her out of his dungeon that is).

About Booktrust

Booktrust is an independent reading and writing charity that makes a nationwide impact on individuals, families and communities, and the nation's culture. Booktrust makes a significant positive contribution to the educational outcomes of children from the earliest age. We work to empower people of all ages and abilities by giving them confidence and choices about reading. And we want individuals of all backgrounds to benefit from the wellbeing that a rich and positive engagement in reading and writing can bring. Booktrust is responsible for a number of successful national reading promotions, sponsored book prizes and creative reading projects aimed at encouraging readers to discover and enjoy books. These include the Blue Peter Book Award, the Children’s Laureate, and Bookstart, the national programme that works through locally based organisations to give a free pack of books to babies and toddlers, with guidance materials for parents and carers. www.booktrust.org.uk

About Roald Dahl and his legacy

Roald Dahl (1916–1990) was one of the world’s most imaginative, successful and loved storytellers. Since his death, his work has not only endured but is still increasing in popularity. His stories are currently available in almost 50 languages. UK sales alone are over 50 million books and rising. Two charities have been founded in Roald Dahl’s memory: the Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity – created in 1991 – makes life better for seriously ill children by raising money to fund charities, hospitals and individual families in the UK. The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre – a unique cultural, literary and education hub – opened in June 2005 in Great Missenden where Roald Dahl lived and wrote many of his best-loved works. On 13 September 2006, the first national Roald Dahl Day was celebrated, on what would have been the author’s 90th birthday. The event proved such a success that Roald Dahl Day is now marked annually all over the world.  For further information on the wonderful world of Roald Dahl please visit www.roalddahl.com

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