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Announcing the winner: Outstanding Contribution to Children's Books 2020

Scottish Book Trust Awards: Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Books Award

We are delighted to announce Matthew Fitt has won the Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Books Award 2020.

Video Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Books Award 2020

The winner of the Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Books Award 2020 is Matthew Fitt.

Matthew is a novelist, poet and co-founder (with James Robertson) of the Itchy Coo Books imprint. You might be familiar with his poetry, or his soon-to-be-republished science fiction novel But’n’Ben A-Go Go (included in The List’s “100 Best Scottish Books of All Time”), or have read one of his translations into Scots (including Asterix, Roald Dahl – withThe Eejits reaching number one on the Waterstones charts - and Harry Potter). As the former National Scots Language Development officer he visited over a thousand schools and libraries across the country.

The Scottish Book Trust Awards panel praised Matthew’s writing, his ability to enthuse non-Scots speakers. Panel members said that, “Matthew is inspirational when he talks about language" and "the simplicity, rhythm and humour has really captured the imagination of my children". His work with Itchy Coo was described as "a boon for bookselling".

Matthew’s tireless work representing Scotland and Scots internationally should also be acknowledged, as well the resources for children and adults that he has for several local authorities, Education Scotland and the General Teaching Council. As one of the panel commented, "it is difficult to see how the rebirth of Scots language awareness might have come about were it not for the efforts of Matthew Fitt".

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:

"It is wonderful to have the opportunity to recognise the truly outstanding contribution Matthew Fitt has made to life in Scotland, not just in the worlds of writing for children and adults, but as a champion of the Scots language and a publisher of wonderful books under the Itchy Coo imprint. It is no exaggeration to say that through his indefatigable energy, and his versatile talents as a writer and educator, Matthew has, over many years of effort, improved educational practice in Scotland, changing attitudes and re-establishing the Scots language as an exciting and legitimate mode of expression in education, as it is in daily life.

Few have done as much as Matthew to contribute to the life of Scotland, and few have been as effective as he in developing, sustaining and enlarging our culture. For all these reasons and more, we are thrilled to be able to present him with such a well deserved award.​"

Shortlisting panel

Previous winner Viv French; writer and journalist Chitra Ramaswamy; Anne Barclay, Operational Director Wigtown Book Festival; Fiona McDonald, Blackwell’s Children’s Specialist, Chris Newton, Head of Schools Communities at Scottish​ Book Trust

Browns Books for Students

Scottish Book Trust would like to thank Browns Books for Students, who kindly sponsor the Outstanding Achievement Award. Browns Books for Students is the UK’s leading supplier of books, eBooks and DVDs for Schools, Colleges, Universities and Businesses.

Browns Books for Students logo and Walker Books logo