Author scoops £1,500 award for his book The Unforgotten Coat, based on the true story of a girl deported to Mongolia
Frank Cottrell Boyce, who worked with director Danny Boyle to come up with a vision of Britain that included children jumping on NHS beds and an army of Mary Poppinses banishing literary baddies, was prompted to write the book by a less proud tradition – the forcible deportation of refugees.
He dedicated The Unforgotten Coat to the child who inspired the story: a Mongolian schoolgirl whose family were taken from their home in a midnight raid by the immigration authorities.
By winning the Guardian award, which is now in its 45th year and is the only prize of its kind judged by writers, Cottrell Boyce joins some of children's literature's most enduring names, including Alan Garner, Dick King-Smith and Diana Wynne Jones.
Cottrell Boyce's novel is an unusual winner in that it was not written for commercial publication. Instead, the author was commissioned to write it by a charity – the Liverpool-based Reader Organisation – and 50,000 copies were given away for free this year. It beat books by authors including Roddy Doyle, the late Russell Hoban and Eva Ibbotson, to win the £1,500 award.
More at The Guardian