Thursday, November 02, 2006

Today's 4th Booktrust Teenage Book Prize, awarded on the top floor of the Pearson Building, was a wonderful event thanks to the efforts of Hannah, Helen, Katherine and Rosa at Booktrust. The winner, Anthony McGowan for 'Henry Tumour', made a touching off the cuff acceptance speech. Go to to find out more about the short story prize, the teen judges, reading diaries and more.

THE BATTLE OF IDEAS at the Royal College of Art on 28th October had a fantastic spirit. I went to debates on Happiness and Money. The 'future of the book in the era of txting' debate which I was speaking at was not so contraversial, but John Sutherland stood up for bookshops and paper against wicked American search engines, while I asserted that the book of the future will remain the book, even if it's digitised and downloadable. Someone said Star Trek presented a bookless future - but maybe Captain Kirk has an iBookreader under his bunk containing an infinite library of great literature. "Transport me to Narnia, Scotty." "Aye Aye, Cap'n."

Another good quote: "Technology is anything invented since you were born." And Alyson Rudd said she has two children and loves them both; it's possible to love books and computer screens too.
My fellow debaters were Michael Caines, editor at TLS; Shirley Dent of Institute of Ideas; John Sutherland; Alyson Rudd,Times Books Group; Jack Klaff. Read what we all said at the Battle of Ideas website.

Oh and finally 2 pictures of The Bettertones, featuring Eamonn Flynn, Booktrust's own Head of Finance, on mandolin. We were playing at the launch of The Very Best Of Linda Smith, a much missed friend.

The star studded cast included Arthur Smith, Sandi Toksvig, Phil Jupitus, Andy Hamilton, Jo Brand... and, most impressively, all the newsreaders off Radio 4.