Scottish Book Trust has today (Wednesday 4 May) announced the winner of its annual Scottish Teenage Book Prize is Fin & Rye & Fireflies by Harry Cook (Black & White Publishing). The national charity encourages teenagers to get involved with the award by reading three shortlisted books and voting for their favourite as part of their class or reading group. Over 2,000 teenagers in school book clubs across Scotland registered to take part in the reading and voting, and Fin & Rye & Fireflies gained 40% of the overall vote.
The Scottish Teenage Book Prize, now in its sixth year, was set up to celebrate the most popular teen books by authors and publishers in Scotland. It is run by Scottish Book Trust with support from Browns Books and Creative Scotland. Shortlisted authors receive £500 and the winner receives £2,000.
Fin & Rye & Fireflies follows a sixteen year-old boy as he moves to a new town and falls in love, but struggles with his family's attempts at conversation therapy. Born in the UK, Harry Cook is an Australian actor and international LGBTQI+ activist. He has starred in major film, TV and theatre productions, including the lead opposite Geena Davis in Accidents Happen. In 2013, at age 22, Harry came out to his fans on YouTube. The video went viral, and Harry became front-page news in Australia, the UK and the US. Harry lives in Sydney.
The Infinite by Patience Agbabi (Canongate Books) and The Infinity Files by S.M. Wilson (Usborne Publishing) were both shortlisted for this year's Scottish Teenage Book Prize. The panel for the Scottish Teenage Book Prize included: Agnieszka Walicka, School librarian at Kemnay Academy; Calum Smith, School librarian at Larbert High School; Molly Drummond, Bookseller at Portobello Bookshop; Moira Foster, Public librarian at Dundee City Council; Elaine Hallyburton, Public librarian at Dundee City Council; Paul Morgan, Senior Education Officer of Education Scotland; Melanie Ramdarshan Bold, Associate Professor at the University of Glasgow; Ross MacKenzie, author and 2021 winner of the Scottish Teenage Book Prize, and Scottish Book Trust staff.
Harry Cook said:
'It's difficult to describe how much this prize means to me. I'm awed to be in such incredible company and to have my little queer story recognized really does give me all the fireflies. Thank you so so much. Here's to more queer stories!'
Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:
'Many congratulations to Harry Cook on winning this year's Scottish Teenage Book Prize. Fin & Rye & Fireflies is an important story that clearly resonated with teenage readers across the country. We thank Browns Books and Creative Scotland for making this award possible, supporting Scottish Book Trust to celebrate fantastic titles.'
Claire Smith, Sales Manager for Browns Books, said:
'Congratulations to Harry Cook on winning the Scottish Teenage Book prize this year. I would like to extend our thanks to the team at Scottish Book Trust for the wonderful work they do. It has been a pleasure to support the team again this year.'
To find out more about the shortlisted titles, readers can use Bookzilla, a free app for early secondary school students in Scotland. Young people can receive tailored book recommendations, see what is popular among their classmates and challenge themselves to try something new with a reading dare. The app promotes different featured collections every month and is available to download on the app store or Google Play.
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Scottish Book Trust
Scottish Book Trust is a national charity that believes everyone living in Scotland should have equal access to books. Our work provides opportunities to improve life chances through books and the fundamental skills of reading and writing. Access to books and a love of books bring many important benefits from family bonding and advancing children’s learning, to unlocking creativity, helping employability and improving mental health & well-being. Scottish Book Trust aims to support all communities across Scotland, with particular focus on those who are vulnerable and under-represented.
Our programmes and outreach work include:
- Gifting books to every child in Scotland to ensure families of all backgrounds can share the joy of books at home, through Bookbug and Read Write Count
- Working with teachers to inspire children to develop a love of reading, creating innovative classroom activities, book awards and author events such as Authors Live with the BBC and our Scottish Friendly Children's Book Tour
- Supporting and nurturing Scotland's wide-ranging literary talent, both emerging and established through our training, awards and writing opportunities including New Writers Awards
- Creating events to share books and connect writers with communities, including Book Week Scotland
- Providing support to people living with dementia, and their carers, through Reading is Caring
In addition to the funding we receive from the Scottish Government and Creative Scotland, we need the constant support of trusts and foundations, corporate sponsors and individual donors.
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Browns Books, sponsor of the Scottish Book Trust Learning Professional Award and Scottish Teenage Book Prize, supplies books, eBooks and DVDs for schools, colleges and businesses.
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Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery.
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