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Catalyst Awards Ceremony 2009

Many congratulations to Theresa Breslin, whose novel, ‘The Nostradamus Prophecy‘ is the winner of the North Lanarkshire Catalyst Teenage Book Awards 2009. Over 700 votes were cast from teenagers in secondary schools and public libraries across North Lanarkshire.

The Awards ceremony took place at St Maurice’s High School on October 8th, with an audience of over 260 pupils from twenty North Lanarkshire high schools, along with school staff and of course, our four shortlisted authors, Theresa Breslin, Garry Kilworth, Simon Morden and Helena Pielichaty.

For the first time this year, the ceremony was completely presented by teenagers. Many thanks to our presenters from St Maurice’s, Caldervale, Cardinal Newman, St Aidan’s and the Public Libraries: Rachel Barclay, Nadia Chaudhary, Roisin Donnelly, Corin Gallagher, Jordan Linden, Joseph McAulay, Lynsey Muir, Eleanor O’Neill, Rebecca Ryce, Megan Strachan and Hannah Walker.

We also had a performance of a scene from Zenith by Julie Bertagna, which was last year’s winning novel. Many thanks to Caldervale Drama Group for all their hard work. It was easy to believe the entire hall had been transported out onto the open ocean!

Each author spoke about their writing and answered questions. Question cards had been distributed throughout the audience, and our comperes put the audience’s questions to the authors, who had the audience in giggles at some of their answers. Each author has also kindly provided us with written answers which can be read on this website.

Finally, the moment arrived and The Nostradamus Prophecy was drawn out of the golden envelope as the winner – but only just. This was definitely the closest the voting has ever been for any Catalyst Award.

Ms Breslin was delighted by the result, and said later,

I am absolutely overjoyed. The Nostradamus Prophecy is a big, quite difficult book and requires stamina and I’m really really pleased on its own behalf but also because (thinking as a librarian) it shows the real use and power and crucial role that librarians play in the “leading to reading ” of whole generations of young people. I think the way the award is run is excellent and I don’t just mean the organising of the talks and looking after the authors and the stage managing all of which was great and well appreciated. What I actually mean is the running of the award itself – the gritty hard work involved in  getting the books out there and inspiring them to read and encouraging them to vote in the face of the amount of work and other distractions they have at one of the most trying periods of their development from youth through to adulthood.

All four authors also stayed behind at the conclusion of the event to sign books for pupils, which had been sold throughout the day by the never-flagging staff of Scotia and Chameleon Books from Kilsyth.

Many thanks to all the staff and pupils of St Maurice’s High School for their impeccable hospitality and many congratulations to the whole Catalyst team for another great event.

Roll on 2010!

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