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Issued: 18 May 2004

Angus Book Award Winner Announced

Author Alan Gibbons has won the Angus Book Award 2004 for his novel The Edge.

This year's voting was the closest ever and in a gripping finale the result was so close a recount had to take place.

But it was clear from the clapping and cheering as the result was announced, that the Liverpool based novelist had huge support among the 3rd year pupils from the eight Angus secondary schools who had read the five shortlisted titles.

Following an intensive few months of reading and debate about each of the shortlisted novels, the authors arrived in Angus to visit the secondary schools and take part in the award ceremony.

Tension mounted at the awards ceremony last night (Tuesday 18 May) as pupils spoke about the shortlisted books and authors answered a selection of questions chosen by pupils.

But finally the waiting was over and Alison Blair from Monifieth Youth Council, presented the winning author with his trophy and prize money at the Award Ceremony in Monifieth High School.

Alan Gibbons often tackles controversial and hard-hitting subjects. The Edge (published by Orion) is about a boy and his mother escaping from a violent, abusive relationship only to find racism and danger of another kind. It is uncompromising, disturbing, sensitive and immensely readable.

Environmental and Leisure Services Convener Joy Mowatt said: "Congratulations to Alan and to all those involved. The Angus Book Award celebrates the best in teenage fiction but it works on so many different levels. It brings reading to life by allowing the readers themselves to decide who wins. The award ceremony itself is entirely run by the young people too. You can see the results of this ownership of the event in their reaction to the announcement. Having read all this year's short-listed entries myself, I can appreciate why this competition grabs the attention of so many Angus young people."

Jack Gibb, Education Convener, added: "The book award would not be the success it is without the wholehearted commitment and enthusiasm of all the authors and the young people themselves. It's about giving a voice to the readers and a face to the authors. It helps motivate young people to read and gives them an opportunity to see behind the processes of writing - perhaps inspiring them in their own writing."

The other shortlisted authors are: Julie Bertagna for Exodus (Macmillan Children's Books), Keith Gray for Malarkey (Random House Children's Books), Philip Reeve with Mortal Engines (Scholastic Children's Books) and Malcolm Rose for Clone (Scholastic Children's Books)