John Young’s Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist (Kelpies Edge) is the winner of this year’s £3,000 Scottish Teenage Book Prize, an award run by Scottish Book Trust and supported by Creative Scotland.
The novel, which was chosen as the winner by young people, is about a terminally ill teenager who sets off on a crazy tour of Scotland, joy riding and dodging the police along the way.
Young began writing the novel when his daughter Verity, who has since passed away, was receiving chemotherapy. He received a New Writers Award from Scottish Book Trust in 2013 and has set up a children’s charity called The Teapot Trust, based in Musselburgh, which provides art therapy to children in hospital who are suffering from Lupus and related conditions, with his wife.
“Every now and then something really special happens to us all and today it was my day,” he said. “I am immensely grateful to readers around the country who took part in The Scottish Teenage Book Prize and voted for Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist. It is a story that says you are all important in this life and I feel honoured and privileged to have been part of this book prize, thank you to everyone involved.”
Young’s book was chosen ahead of shortlisted authors: S.M Wilson for The Extinction Trials (Usborne) and Kerr Thomson for The Rise of Wolves (Chicken House), who both received £500.
This year the young people who voted for the winner were also invited to create a book trailer for one of the shortlisted titles or a graphic novel adaptation of one of the scenes.
Sophia Bokor and Ellis Cockburn from Moray won first place for the graphic novel prize and Sophie McIntosh from Kilmarnock won the book trailer competition.