A huge congratulations go to The Reader Organisation’s patron, Professor of Reading at Liverpool Hope University and author extraordinaire Frank Cottrell Boyce who has won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize for The Unforgotten Coat.
Frank scooped the prize last night for the story, written exclusively for The Reader Organisation and Our Read 2011. 50,000 free copies of the book were distributed across Merseyside, travelling around the UK and the rest of the world and enchanting readers of all ages with its humorous and touching tale of two brothers from Mongolia who have settled in Merseyside and made friends with a girl called Julie, only to be forced back to their home country. The judges of the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize were similarly captivated by The Unforgotten Coat, remarking that it contained ”a very profound message dressed up in a magical, original, humorous story”.
On collecting the prize, Frank dedicated The Unforgotten Coat to the Mongolian schoolgirl who inspired the story, who was taken from her home with her family in a midnight raid by immigration authorities. Frank met her while doing a reading at a school, and heard of how worried her classmates were about her and, particularly, the fact she had left her coat behind. It was an image that stayed with Frank and set him to writing the book. He also expressed his delight at winning the prize:
It’s fantastic to win it anyway, but to win with something so exuberant, that was not trying to win any awards, is really great. This is a book that was written for fun, and for friendship.
We couldn’t be prouder of Frank and The Unforgotten Coat – a wonderful gift to The Reader Organisation and our readers across the world. Since the success of Our Read in 2011, the story has been enjoyed by so many of our readers in a variety of settings, and most recently Frank delighted students in the Faculty of Education at Hope University who are taking part in our Hope Readers project by reading from the story at his recent talk alongside Danny Boyle.
For more about the wonderful accolade, see our website.