The Wessex Amazing Book Awards 2024

WABA, aka the Wessex Amazing Book Awards, was hosted by Talbot Heath school this year, as we were last year’s winners.

This local book award was originally started to bring the power back to students to make their own decisions – to choose their favourite, recently published, fiction title to represent the school, and then champion it against others.  It culminates in them having a deeper dive into a more immersive fiction centred event, preparing and delivering their own presentations, listening to a guest speaker, voting for their own individual choice, all of this with like minded keen readers – and WABA cake. [Thank you Holroyd Howe.]

More schools than ever before were involved this year, with keen readers from 9 school book groups across the local area and 90 students attending.  The titles represented a wide range of genres and were as follows:

This book kills’ (winner) a debut novel from Ravena Guron, a murder mystery set in an exclusive boarding school environment where one of the most popular, and richest, students is found dead in the woods.

Away with words’ by Sophie Cameron:  a gentle book about moving away from the familiar, having to make new friends and the rewards of finding someone to share the trials of school life.

‘Five survive’ by Holly Jackson:  a fast paced thriller about a road trip which starts with a stranded bus, no mobile phone service and a sniper who is looking for answers to one particular question.

‘The lighthouse’ by Alex Bell:  a psychological horror mystery about two sisters who become stranded in a lighthouse with a malevolent presence.  They start to investigate what it might be but when one of them disappears, and no one remembers her, the tension builds.

‘Unraveller’ by Frances Hardinge:  a dark magical fantasy about the power of curses, the anonymity of those who set curses and the implications to the people involved.

‘The wall between us’ by Dan Smith:  a historical fiction book about building the Berlin Wall in 1961 and the effect this had on the lives of two friends who live on opposite sides of the wall.

This year’s winner was ‘This book kills’ and the librarian of Shaftesbury School, Mrs Katie Wyatt received the trophy on behalf of her school.  It is hoped that the award will continue to grow from year to year.

Mrs Wakeling said how proud she was of the pupils: ‘Our book group has been fantastic this year – many keen readers. It was a very successful event overall. Thanks to everyone for their enthusiasm and positive input.’

Mr Sinclair-Smith, Head of English at TH said: ‘Thank you to all of your teachers and librarians for their support with the WABA award and giving up their time. Librarians can be the unsung heroes of schools and this is another example of the huge impact that they can have. Adding, ‘A special thank you to our librarian, Mrs Harty and to Mrs Wakeling for organising the WABA event and giving up their time to promote reading in school.


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