LONDON, December 4 /PRNewswire/ -- It was announced last night that the combined talents of illustrator Nick Sharratt, writer Steve Alton and designer/art director, Sally Symes had seen off strong competition from four other short-listed books to win the 2009 Educational Writers' Award.

The award was presented at the All Party Writers Group Christmas Reception hosted by Janet Anderson MP in the House of Commons. Award judge Ali Barne spoke on behalf of the judging panel which had spent many hours choosing the shortlist from a total of 66 entries before deciding the winner. Barne read citations for all five short-listed books before making the announcement. She spoke of the importance of this award and its unique nature - it is the only UK award to focus on educational non-fiction that enhances learning outside of the essential curriculum. Barne also spoke of the aspirations of the award - to encourage the publication of educational books that both inspire learning and encourage creativity in young readers. Janet Anderson MP presented the winning trio with a cheque for GBP2000.

Set up in 2008 by The Authors' Licensing Collecting Society (ALCS) and the Society of Authors, the award's aim is to 'celebrate educational writing that encourages students to read widely and build up their understanding of a subject beyond the requirements of exam specifications'. To be eligible the work must be a single volume, non-fiction (with or without illustrations) of genuine merit for the specified age group. It must have been first published in the UK in the English language within the two previous years. The age range alternates each year. This year it was for a work for 5-11 year olds; as in its first year, 2008, in 2010, it will be for a work for 12 - 18 year olds.

Published in 2007 'The Gooey, Chewy, Rumble, Plop Book' became an instant bestseller. Its success was down to the winning combination of author, illustrator and art director/designer. The educational content is instantly accessible and child friendly. Imaged by Nick Sharratt and written by Steve Alton the book explores the processes of the human body with a lightness of touch and sense of humour. Sally Symes' art direction also played an important part - the novelty pop-ups and pull out tabs, together with the tongue on the cover that you can actually pull out and stretch, create an irresistible sensory feast that is guaranteed to transform a biology lesson into hours of fun.

Author Steve Alton has had a lifelong love of natural history. After studying biology at the University of York he worked in conservation for many years. Steve lives in Sussex with his family and works closely with several local schools. His interactive web based teaching tool won 3rd Prize in the European e-learning award with 800 entries from 30 countries.

Nick Sharratt has written and illustrated countless books for children and has won numerous awards for his picture books. Trained in design at St Martin's School of Art, Nick takes his inspiration from the pop and graphic art of the 1960s. His work is characterised by vibrant colours and bold patterns but for him the most important element is his use of humour. He is also well known as the illustrator of Jacqueline Wilson's best selling books for children and young people.

Ends/03 December 2009

Editors Notes

Educational Writers Award 2009 - shortlist

The Gooey, Chewy, Rumble Plop Book Steve Alton Nick Sharratt (Bodley Head)

How to Make Manga Characters Katy Coope (Collins Big Cat)

Chocolate - The Bean that Conquered the World Vivian French, ill. Paul Howard (Walker)

Tail-End Charlie Mick Manning Brita Granstrom (Frances Lincoln)

Archie's War - My Scrapbook of the First World War Marcia Williams (Walker)

Educational Writers Award Judges 2009

The 2009 judging panel included three educational experts: Ali Barne, a former teacher who currently works as a primary language coach to develop modern language teaching in the primary sector in Oxfordshire; Pamela Girdwood, full-time librarian at Blue Gate Fields Junior School, Tower Hamlets and Anthony Haynes, educational writer, director of the publishing and educational services firm Professional Higher Partnerships and visiting professor at the Beijing Normal and Hiroshima Universities.

Society of Authors

The Society of Authors has been serving the interests of professional writers for more than a century. Today it has more than 8,800 members (from novelists to doctors, textbook writers to ghost writers, broadcasters to academics, illustrators to translators) writing in all areas of the profession. Services include the confidential, individual vetting of contracts, and help with professional disputes. In addition, the Society holds meetings and seminars, publishes a quarterly journal, The Author, and maintains a database of members' specializations. It administers a wide range of prizes, as well as the Authors' Foundation, which is one of the very few bodies making grants to help with work in progress for established writers.

Educational Writers Award 2010

The deadline for submission for the 2010 award for the 12-18 age group is 1st June 2010. For further details please see


ALCS collects fees on behalf of the whole spectrum of UK writers: novelists, film TV script writers, literary prize winners, poets and playwrights, freelance journalists, translators and adaptors, as well as thousands of professional and academic writers who include nurses, lawyers, teachers, scientists, and college lecturers. All writers are eligible to join ALCS: further details on membership can be found at

The Society collects fees that are difficult, time-consuming or legally impossible for writers and their representatives to claim on an individual basis: money that is nonetheless due to them. Fees collected are distributed to writers twice a year in March and September. Since its inception, ALCS has distributed over GBP205 million to the nation's writers.

ALCS contact information

ALCS, The Writers' House, 13 Haydon Street, London EC3N 1DB Tel: +44-(0)20-7264-5700; email: Website:

The All Party Parliamentary Writers Group (APWG)

APWG is a forum for elected Parliamentarians in Westminster to consider and discuss matters of importance to writers. As a focal point for authors' interests, with its links to UK writer organisations, APWG is well placed to draw attention to the current issues facing writers amongst an audience of decision-makers at Westminster and beyond.


CONTACT: For further information and author/illustrator interviews, pleasecontact: (please do not publish these numbers). Becca Wyatt:+44-(0)1798-867-117; +44-(0)7801-061-420. ALCS, Alison Baxter:+44-(0)20-7264-5700. Society of Authors, Paula Johnson: +44-(0)20-7373-6642( Contact information: ALCS, The WritersHouse, 13 Haydon Street, London EC3N 1DB Tel: +44-(0)20-7264-5700; For further information contact