Katie Morag series author Mairi Hedderwick and school librarian Susan Morton have been honoured at the inaugural Scottish Book Trust Awards.
The new prizes 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 awards were developed in association with Browns Books for Students and took place at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh on Wednesday evening (31st May).
Hedderwick received the Outstanding Achievement Award. She has written or illustrated more than 30 titles for children including her most famous creation, the Katie Morag books (Red Fox Picture Books), which were adapted into a TV series for CBBC. She said: “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."
Morton won the Scottish Book Trust Award for Learning Professional for her “significant impact” on Inverclyde Academy including a fully-funded residency with author Cathy MacPhail to work with a class on their own anthology. A spokesperson said Morton had quadrupled the number of books in the library leading to a similar rise in the number of pupils borrowing books.
Marc Lambert, c.e.o at Scottish Book Trust, said: “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.
He added: “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."
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.
“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.”
The awards were launched last year to reward efforts to inspire young readers.