Jonathan Stroud, author of ‘The Screaming Staircase’, met with Year 8 students from Hampshire schools today at Winchester Guildhall (12 November 2015) to collect this year’s prestigious Hampshire Book Award. The award is organised by Hampshire County Council’s School Library Service and this year involved over 430 students from 50 secondary schools across Hampshire.

Councillor McNair Scott, Chairman of the Culture and Communities Select Committee said: “The Hampshire Book Award is hugely popular, and every year it motivates hundreds of young people to take a keener interest in books, by giving them the responsibility of judging a prestigious award. Pupils were given evaluation guidelines and were asked to reflect on enjoyment, enrichment and engagement. As a means of promoting reading for pleasure and literacy at Key Stage 3, the award has shown to have had a positive and significant impact within the Schools who have taken part.”

“The Hampshire Book Award gives enthusiastic readers an opportunity to shine in their chosen field of interest in the same way other students are encouraged in their aspirations within sport, music or drama. It brings me great joy to see so many dedicated and enthusiastic students coming together to celebrate their love of reading and to listen to Jonathan’s experiences writing ‘The Screaming Staircase’. Perhaps today’s very enjoyable event will even inspire a few writers of the future!’”

Year 8 students had twelve weeks to read and review six shortlisted publications, exploring a variety of different books and writing styles. Students then judge each book in detail and individually vote for their favourite author.

The Hampshire Book Award has successfully fuelled a love of books in pupils across Hampshire for the last 14 years since it began in 2003. 11 to 13 year-olds in participating schools are motivated to critically assess their books by being put in charge of choosing the best paperback fiction book for the year.

The award continues to inspire pupils to explore the English language, helping them understand a writer’s journey when developing a story, and to learn what it means to become a published author. Jonathan Stroud presented to students about the creative writing process, the books characters and his experience publishing ‘The Screaming Staircase’. This year’s award shortlist included:

Captain by Sam Angus

Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Thirteen by Tom Hoyle

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud (WINNER)

The Last Minute by Eleanor Updale

Learn more about the County Council’s Library Service.

Polly has almost 20 years in the media industry. As Editor of Andover and Villages, she strives to bring the latest and greatest news with a minutes notice. Polly can be contacted via or alternatively called at