Early years book awards cancelled as money runs out

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Booktrust has been forced to put three of its prizes on hold, including its Early Years Awards, due to cuts in Government funding.

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The charity has cancelled its Early Years Awards, John Llewellyn Rhys and Teenage Prize 2011, scheduled to take place this autumn, but says it intends to run them in the future if they are able to secure new sponsorship.

In March, the Department for Education announced it would be halving the funding the charity receives to £13.5m allocated over two years. This followed the Government’s decision to reverse their decision just before Christmas to cut all funding for Booktrust, after protests from the poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy and other children’s authors (News 2 March 2011).

A statement on the charity’s website said, ‘As you will be aware, the last few months have been particularly challenging for Booktrust. Our new funding settlement with the Department for Education has allowed us to protect the universal offer of the national bookgifting programmes, but it has nonetheless forced us to undertake a thorough review of all of the prizes and projects in the Booktrust portfolio.’

‘As a result of this review, we have taken the difficult decision not to run the Booktrust Early Years Awards or the Booktrust Teenage Prize in autumn 2011. Both of these prizes are incredibly important, highlighting and celebrating the best books for babies and toddlers and for teens, as well as being very dear to Booktrust. We have not taken these decisions lightly and we strongly intend to bring back both with a bang in the very near future.’

The winners of the 2010 Early Years awards were, for Best Book for babies under one-year-old, I Love My Mummy by Giles Andreae, illustrated by Emma Dodd (pictured), for Best Picture Book for children up to five-years-old, One Smart Fish by Chris Wormell, and the winner of Best Emerging Illustrator for children up to five-years-old, was Levi Pinfold for The Django.


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