Children’s author Tom Palmer has won the Ruth Rendell Award for his “outstanding” contribution to raising literacy levels in the UK.
Jonathan Douglas, chief executive of the National Literacy Trust presented the prize to Palmer at a ceremony hosted by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) in London.
It follows a year when Palmer released Rocky of the Rovers, a live downloadable story published daily during the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and Rugby Academy, a trilogy of stories with free accompanying teaching resources to promote reading for pleasure during the Rugby World Cup.
Palmer, whose latest title is Armistice Runner (Barrington Stoke), also became children's writer in residence at the RAF Museum, visited 150 schools and
He said: “I’m absolutely thrilled. This is so exciting for my family, as much as me. This is a particularly special achievement as I found books intimidating as a child and feared I’d fail to finish them. But short sport articles in newspapers and magazines – including Roy of the Rovers – and sport books from the library were a great way into reading for me.
“Anyone can enjoy and strengthen their reading if they find the right thing for them, and that’s what I really try and get across to all the young readers I meet. I’m also very proud that many of my books are published by Barrington Stoke, whose books are written, edited and designed with reluctant readers and those with dyslexia and visual stress. I want to thank everyone who nominated me for this award, and the National Literacy Trust and ALCS for this honour.”
The award, launched in memory of Rendell in 2016 by the National Literacy Trust and ALCS, celebrates the author who has done the most to champion literacy throughout the UK over the past year.
Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, said: “We were overwhelmed with the number of nominations Tom received for this prestigious award from teachers, librarians and parents. Tom is creative, fun and incredibly dedicated to helping children better their reading skills and discover a transformative love of reading.”
Former winners of the award include Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell and Andy McNab.