A novel about a crime-fighting, retribution-driven teenager has won the top prize at this year’s Bolton Children’s Book Awards at the University of Bolton.
Fightback by Steve Voake tells the story of Kier West, a 14 year old boy whose father has been murdered. At a loss, he is drawn into secretive sect of crime-fighting youths and soon finds himself in a world of revenge and hand-to-hand combat.
The title battled with five other books that were shortlisted earlier this year by school pupils aged 11-14. This year’s fight for top honours was extremely close, with Fightback just edging out My So Called Haunting by Tamsyn Murray.
Before the awards ceremony kicked off, nearly 200 children from schools across the region were treated to range of activities, events and workshops. The fighting theme was continued with a thrilling demonstration of martial arts by two-time British Thai Boxing champion, Sandy Holt.
The ceremony was hosted by children’s author, Andrew Peters. For his contribution to the show he was awarded a leather-bound copy of his latest book.
Sam Johnson, Dean of the University’s School of Arts, Media and Education said: ‘It has been another great year for children’s literature and Steve Voake’s Fightback is a worthy winner. It is a very exciting book. However, it is a testament to all the shortlisted titles that it was an extremely close competition this year. We usually have a clear front runner but it was a nail-biting climax this time round.’
Bolton Council’s Executive Member for Adult Services, Councillor Sufrana Bashir-Ismail, added: “For months, pupils in schools across Bolton have been ploughing their way through the six shortlisted titles. By all accounts, the contest was a close call this year but Steve Voake’s Fightback had all the elements of a good novel: drama; intrigue; suspense and good, strong characters.
"The Schools’ Library Service at Bolton Council, which has been involved with the book awards for many years, provides an excellent service to young people at schools throughout the borough and in neighbouring towns.”
This year’s fellow finalists were The Gates by John Connolly; Sparks by Ally Kennen; Crawlers by Sam Enthoven and The Double Life of Cassiel Roadnight, by Jenny Valentine.