The award celebrates the fantastic authors and writers who have help to raise literacy levels in the UK over the past year. It was first launched in 2016 in honour of the author Ruth Rendell, who tirelessly championed literacy throughout her lifetime and supported the National Literacy Trust since its foundation in 1993.
In response to recent school and library closures, countless authors and writers have continued and increased their support for children, families, schools and charities during this unprecedented time. Many have been incredibly creative in the ways they engage children with reading and writing, where face-to-face visits and events are no longer able to take place.
What’s more, our latest research shows that lockdown has inspired a resurgence in children and young people’s creative writing, which has in turn played an important role in supporting their wellbeing during a time of uncertainty.
Surveys of young people aged 8 to 18 in the UK conducted before and during lockdown found that more children and young people are writing short stories or fiction (40%), letters (39%), diaries or journals (27%) and poems (21%) in lockdown than they did before. Many of these young people will have been inspired by authors who have been working hard to keep encouraging children to read and write.
Publishers, booksellers, libraries, schools, charities and families are invited to nominate the author or writer they believe has had the most significant influence on literacy in the UK in the past year. Nominations close on 30 September 2020 and the winner will be announced in December 2020.
Winning the Ruth Rendell Award helped me truly understand that being an author is about more than writing stories and selling books: it is about collaborating with libraries and schools, parents and charities like the National Literacy Trust, to help children and young people discover a love of reading that can – reader by reader – change the world for the better. I look forward to seeing who wins this year’s award. Authors have been so innovative and generous in promoting literacy during COVID-19, the judges will have a tough job choosing!Tom Palmer, winner of the Ruth Rendell Award 2019