Skulduggery wins Red House Award

<p>Derek Landy&rsquo;s heavily-hyped d&eacute;but novel <em>Skulduggery Pleasant</em> has won the Red House Children&rsquo;s Book Award&mdash;the only national children&rsquo;s book award to be chosen exclusively by children. The HarperCollins book was voted the overall winner, narrowly ahead of category winners <em>Penguin</em> by Polly Dunbar (Walker) and <em>Ottoline and the Yellow Cat </em>by Chris Riddell (Macmillan).</p><p>The award was made at the Guardian Hay Festival, at a dinner with 70 children from across the UK and the children&rsquo;s laureate Michael Rosen. Irish writer Landy, a former farmer, told the audience: &quot;This [prize] would be humbling to someone else...but I fully deserve it. Could I have more please?&quot; His comic/horror adventure stars a wise-cracking skeletal detective with magic powers. Foreign rights have been sold to 30 countries.</p><p>Rosen told the audience that the Red House Award was a celebration of children&#39;s books. &quot;How wonderful to be celebrating rather than being anxious about SATs. It shows the children&#39;s book world is full of ideas and flourishing. And for the record I never said that Harry Potter was boring.&quot;</p><p>The award, set up 28 years ago, is run by volunteers from the Federation of Children&#39;s Book Groups and sponsored by children&#39;s bookseller Red House. It works with local education authorities, schools and library services to generate reviews and votes on submitted books. Previous winners include Quentin Blake, Roald Dahl, Jacqueline Wilson and J K Rowling (in 1998). This year 837 books were entered by publishers.<br /></p>