Dear Dylan wins YoungMinds Book Award
Siobhan Curham’s Dear Dylan narrowly beat off tough competition from the Sun’s David Yelland to be crowned winner of the YoungMinds Book Award 2010 at the Unicorn Theatre in London last night (Tuesday 16 November).
The £2000 prize sponsored by the reading charity Booktrust and presented by Sue Berelowitz, YoungMinds new Chair of Trustees and Chief Executive of Office of the Children’s Commissioner, was awarded to the book which most helps young people aged 12+ cope with the stresses and challenges of growing up.
Dear Dylan tells the tale of 14-year-old Georgie Harris. Georgie feels as if the summer holidays are over before they have even begun. Banned from going to the drama workshop by her racist bully of a step-dad and her increasingly fragile mum, she is consigned to six long weeks of looking after her tooth-fairy obsessed kid sister. Sick of feeling like the outsider at home and at school, she starts emailing the one person she thinks might understand; Dylan Curtland, star of the popular soap opera Jessop Close. And when Dylan starts emailing back, Georgie finally feels a tiny spark of hope.....
David Yelland’s book, The Truth about Leo, which came a close second and was highly commended, tells the story of Leo, since his mum died, Leo’s dad has changed and he’s drinking a lot. Lost, not knowing where to turn or what to do, Leo can no longer pretend it’s OK. Leo needs his old dad back because dad is all Leo has left.
Siobhan Curham said: "I am absolutely thrilled to have won this award as I think the work that Young Minds do is invaluable. I am particularly honoured that young readers play such a key part in the judging of this award - to get such a ringing endorsement for my first book for young adults from the readers themselves is incredible."
Young reviewer Lauran aged 13 commented: “I felt like I was in the story, that I was Nancy and Georgie was emailing me. The book was impossible to put down, so I finished it in two days. Overall it was a brilliant book.”
David Yelland said: ''To be commended by a judging panel that includes children is the highest accolade for any children's writer and I was bowled over by Young Minds and the things that they have said.''
Sarah Brennan, YoungMinds Chief Executive, said: “Dear Dylan faced tough competition from five other excellent books, including close runner David Yelland, but its exploration of difficult issues and use of strong characters made it a deserving winner. Most young people will be able to identify with the situations in the story, which deals with problems such as bullying, family relationships, and friendship difficulties.
“The YoungMinds Book Award prize provides a real insight into the role books can play in a child’s life. They can help break the isolation experienced by many young people, demonstrating that their feelings and problems are not unique. Fiction can often be an easier way to explore mental health problems, providing detailed information in an accessible and engaging format for both teenagers and adults.”
Elaine Bielby, Booktrust National Development Manager for Health Partnerships added “Booktrust is delighted to sponsor the 2010 YoungMinds Book Awards which continue to highlight the important role that books can play in helping young people to understand and cope with some of the issues that they face. Dear Dylan deals with some complex issues that many young people may encounter, and it does so – entirely through emails – in a medium that they can understand. It is a story that reminds us of the power of true friendships. Booktrust would like to congratulate Siobhan Curham on a wonderful achievement'
Siobhan’s book Dear Dylan (AuthorHouse) succeeded against competition from:
- Ember Fury, by Cathy Brett (Headline Publishing Group)
- Inside, J.A. Jarman (Andersen Press)
- The Truth about Leo, by David Yelland (Puffin)
- Them and Us, by Bali Rai (Barrington Stoke)
- Zelah Green, Queen of Clean, by Vanessa Curtis (Egmont UK)