Author, poet and hip hop artist Karl Nova has won the Ruth Rendell Award for his outstanding contribution to raising literacy levels in the UK in the last year.
The award, launched in memory of bestselling author Ruth Rendell in 2016 by the National Literacy Trust and Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), celebrates an author who has done outstanding work to champion literacy.
A screening of this year’s ALCS award announcements took place on 9th December with Jonathan Douglas, c.e.o. of the National Literacy Trust, surprising Nova with the announcement via Zoom. Former winners of the award include Cressida Cowell, Andy McNab and Tom Palmer.
Nova, author of Rhythm and Poetry (Caboodle Books), was praised for his “unwavering commitment” to inspiring young readers and writers through creative writing workshops, talks and poetry. These continued during lockdown through digital channels, which enabled him to reach children and young people all over the UK and beyond.
In the past year, Nova gave his time to more than 75 different visits to schools, organisations and festivals, both in person and virtually. They included fronting the Premier League Writing Stars poetry competition, and being an ambassador for National Poetry Day.
Nova said: “I was so happy when Jonathan told me the news. I do what I do because I love to do it. I got into poetry through hip hop music and spoken-word slam poetry, and that was my door into the world of literacy. The beauty of poetry is that it is for everyone and anyone can do it. I have been working with young people for many years now, and to be recognised for it really does mean a lot. I want to thank everyone who nominated me for this award, and the National Literacy Trust and ALCS for this honour.”
Douglas added: “Karl is a fantastic ambassador for poetry and literacy. He has such a warm and infectious energy, and he has inspired and continues to inspire so many children and young people through his writing, his workshops, his advocacy for equality. [His is] an especially powerful and positive voice in 2020. Like many writers this year, he hasn’t let lockdown stop him: he has been incredibly busy doing everything he can to support so many across the UK, and further, and working especially hard to support diverse and disadvantaged communities. Congratulations to Karl—a thoroughly deserving winner.”