My congratulations to the listed winners. It is interesting to read the judges comments too.
The Restorer by Daniela Murphy
A beautifully presented book in hardback and consistently well set out. The story was measured, detailed and well paced. Murphy has a fluid style and knows her subject. She is clearly familiar with the region of Florence from both a historical and geographical perspective and also has a deep and intimate knowledge of the business of restoring wall paintings. She makes good and imaginative use of both past and present tenses and switches effectively between first and third person narrations. There was some beautiful writing in this novel and lovingly careful presentation.
The Master’s Tale by Ann Victoria Robertson
This is a very timely book, produced in a professional manner. It takes the familiar account of the last voyage of the Titanic and examines it from a fresh perspective. It is told by the master of the vessel, Captain Edward Smith. The writer, who clearly has much specialist knowledge of the manner in which passenger ships are run, has seen the original log books of the master before the last tragic voyage, and shows a clear-sighted recognition of how these facts might have affected his decisions. The character of the master is strong and believable and the reader’s sympathies are constantly with him, as the novel takes us through his earlier life in a series of well-handled flashbacks. A small criticism is the claim on the front cover that it is a ghost story. Although there are some references to a ghost on the ship, this seems a small and insignificant part of a powerful strong story, and the claim is slightly misleading.
Sea Things by Carol Mead and Gareth Davies
The illustrations are excellent with use of vivid colour and imagination. Much thought has gone into the appearance and it is eye-catching without being flashy. The typesetting is playful and in keeping with the intention of the book. There were a few problems with the presentation. The judges’ main criticism was that there is too much information at the beginning. These pages should have appeared at the end as they might deter a young reader. It takes too long to reach the main content of the book . There are also page numbers on pages that should not be numbered. However, all the judges agreed that it was a beautiful book and it would be good for schools.
The short and long list are published as well.
I don’t know how many books were entered.
One contest down and one to go. Hope keeps chugging along.