Mairi Hedderwick Honoured at Scottish Book Trust Awards
School Librarian Susan Morton also given award at event to recognise those who have an inspiring impact on young readers in Scotland
Scottish Book Trust is delighted to announce the winners of two prestigious new awards celebrating achievements in children’s literature.
Mairi Hedderwick, writer and illustrator of the hugely popular Katie Morag series of books, and Susan Morton, a school librarian who has transformed attitudes to books and reading amongst pupils at her school, were honoured at an event on Wednesday evening.
The Scottish Book Trust Awards, in association with Browns Books for Students, took place at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, one of Scotland’s most iconic hubs of literature and learning. Among the guests at the event were Scottish children’s authors Elizabeth Wein, Keith Gray and Cathy MacPhail.
Representatives of Scotland’s major literary organisations also attended the ceremony, including CILIPS, Creative Scotland, Edinburgh City of Literature, Edinburgh International Book Festival, Literary Dundee and Wigtown Book Festival.
The Scottish Book Trust Awards, funded by Creative Scotland, will be given annually to one author or illustrator and one learning professional who have had an inspiring impact on young readers in Scotland.
The author or illustrator is an individual with an impressive backlist, a long record of engaging with their audience and meaningful engagement with the writing community. The learning professional is a teacher or librarian who goes above and beyond the call of duty to pass on the ‘reading for pleasure’ message to the next generation, and who works tirelessly to inspire children to read and write.
At this, the inaugural event, Mairi Hedderwick received the Outstanding Achievement Award. Mairi’s books have been popular with children for more than 30 years and been translated into six languages. She has written or illustrated more than 30 titles for children, including her most famous creation, the Katie Morag books, which were adapted into a TV series for CBBC and have recently found a new fanbase in China.
In 2003 Mairi was awarded an honorary degree from Stirling University in recognition of her outstanding contribution to writing and illustration in Scotland, particularly for children. She has long been a strong supporter of literary events for children, taking part in Scottish Book Trust’s Children’s Festival and the charity’s Authors Live event with the BBC, which was watched live by more than 20,000 children.
In 1999 she organized the children’s author events at the first Wigtown Book Festival and is a patron of Moniack Mhor writing centre, where she has been a tutor on multiple courses and gives two bursaries for writers to attend.
Mairi Hedderwick said: 'I am so delighted to have this award. It is a wonderful thing to have and I’m very lucky and very grateful. Being given this award has been very good for me because I have sometimes put my head in the sand about the phenomenal success of Katie Morag and this very special event has made me face up to the fact of how important and key she is to the culture of Scotland, the country I love. I am so, so lucky.
'To be given this special award is definitely the crème de la crème icing on my cake. I promise to share a slice, or maybe two, with Katie Morag.'
The Scottish Book Trust Award for Learning Professional was awarded to Susan Morton for the significant impact she has had on her school community. Susan is the school librarian at Inverclyde Academy and she has transformed attitudes towards books and reading among the pupils there.
Since she was hired a year ago, Susan has revitalised the neglected school library to create a vibrant hub, with pupils fully engaged in choosing new purchases to shape their library. Susan has quadrupled the number of books in the library, leading to a similar leap in the number of pupils borrowing books.
Susan secured a fully-funded residency with local author Cathy MacPhail, to work with an S2 class on writing their own anthology, which culminated in a launch event for their printed book. Susan also created a comic book club to attract reluctant readers and encourage young people to try creating their own comics.
An S1 pupil at the school, said: 'Before, I never ever ever ever used to read in primary and Miss Morton has helped, she’s inspired me to read. I love reading now, I do it every lunchtime and every morning.'
Commenting on her award, Susan Morton said: 'I had no idea I had been nominated so that was a huge surprise and an even huger surprise to know that I’d won a Scottish Book Trust award.'
The Scottish Book Trust Awards were launched in autumn 2016 when schools and libraries across Scotland were invited to tell us about the amazing work being done to inspire young readers.
Marc Lambert, CEO at Scottish Book Trust, said: 'Readers have been enjoying Mairi Hedderwick’s books for more than 30 years and will continue to love them for decades to come. She has captured the imagination of children across the world with her beautiful stories and watercolours. The character of Katie Morag is a beloved part of Scottish culture and Mairi’s strong support of nurturing quality writing, while her own work inspires readers, make her so important to the literary landscape in Scotland.
'From one room in a school, Susan Morton has shown the huge impact a motivated and creative learning professional can have on a whole community. Susan is an outstanding example of the wonderful work being done by many teachers and librarians across Scotland in nurturing a culture of reading for pleasure.
'Staff and pupils at Inverclyde Academy feel extremely lucky to have her at the school and after such an impressive first year we know she will continue to bring books into the lives of many, many more children, inspiring them to a love of books and reading.'
Jenny Niven, Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland said: 'Creative Scotland are absolutely delighted to see Mairi Hedderwick’s work honoured in this way. Katie Morag is truly part of the cultural fabric of Scotland. Mairi’s personal contribution to the development of writing and reading in Scotland goes beyond the creation of one of our best loved characters though. Her role modelling and mentoring, the guidance and advice she’s given to literally hundreds of children and adults on their own writing and reading journeys is hugely valued and appreciated. We wish her many congratulations.
'A stellar librarian can transform the experience of reading for children in ways that will have an impact throughout the rest of their lives. It’s clear that Susan Morton has transformed her school library and with it her students’ future relationship with reading. It’s never been more important that we appreciate and value the role of libraries and it’s great to see this award go to such a deserving winner. The students of Inverclyde Academy are indeed a lucky bunch.'
Claire Smith, Sales Manager for Browns Books for Students, said: 'Browns Books for Students sponsor these Awards because we are passionate about the advancement of literacy within schools in Scotland. We are delighted to be working with Scottish Book Trust and see the impact they have had on young people in Scotland.'
Nominations for the 2018 Learning Professional Award will open on 22 August and close on 22 November. Visit www.scottishbooktrust.com/sbta to nominate someone or find out more.
Notes to Editors
For more information or interview requests, please contact Lindsay Clydesdale, Media and PR Manager at Scottish Book Trust, on 0131 524 0175 or Lindsay.Clydesdale@scottishbooktrust.com
About Scottish Book Trust
Scottish Book Trust is a national charity changing lives through reading and writing. We believe books and reading have the power to change lives. As a national charity, we inspire and support the people of Scotland to read and write for pleasure.
- We give free books to every child in Scotland to ensure families of all backgrounds can share the joy of books at home.
- We work with teachers to inspire children to develop a love of reading, creating innovative classrooms activities, book awards and author events.
- We support Scotland’s diverse writing community with our training, awards and writing opportunities.
- We fund a range of author events for the public to enjoy and promote Scottish writing to people worldwide.
- We work for a Scotland where everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive through literacy.
About Scottish Book Trust Awards
The Scottish Book Trust Awards (formerly the Significant Contribution Awards) in association with Browns Books for Students, will be awarded annually. More information is available at www.scottishbooktrust.com/sbta
Information on the award sponsors, Browns Books for Students, is available at www.brownsbfs.co.uk
The Scottish Book Awards were held on Wednesday 31 May at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh.
About Creative Scotland
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. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit www.creativescotland.com.