Tom Palmer wins Ruth Rendell Award 2019 for outstanding contribution to literacy

04 Dec 2019
Tom Palmer - Ruth Rendell Award winner 2019.jpg

Reluctant reader turned children’s author, Tom Palmer, has won the Ruth Rendell Award for his outstanding contribution to raising literacy levels in the UK in 2019.

The award, launched in memory of bestselling author Ruth Rendell in 2016 by the National Literacy Trust and Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) celebrates the author who has done the most to champion literacy throughout the UK over the past year.

In 2019, Tom Palmer:

  • Undertook visits with 150 schools across the UK to deliver engaging workshops and activities to inspire 30,000 children’s reading and writing
  • Got the nation’s children reading with Rocky of the Rovers, a live story published daily during the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which was downloaded by more than 2,500 schools and parents; it was also the first story in the 65 year history of the Roy of the Rovers comic to feature a female lead
  • Wrote Rugby Academy, a trilogy of stories with free accompanying teaching resources to promote reading for pleasure during the Rugby World Cup 2019
  • Is the children's writer in residence at the RAF Museum and worked with Reading Force to promote reading to British Armed Service families
  • Published Armistice Runner (Barrington Stoke), which has won four children’s book awards and has been nominated, longlisted or shortlisted for a further 12 awards

Following his award win, Tom Palmer has launched his top tips for teachers, librarians and parents to get kids excited about reading and writing using the interest that first inspired him – football.

“I’m absolutely thrilled. This is a particularly special achievement as I found books intimidating as a child and feared I’d fail to finish them. But short sport articles in newspapers and magazines – including Roy of the Rovers – and sport books from the library were a great way into reading for me. Anyone can enjoy and strengthen their reading if they find the right thing for them, and that’s what I really try and get across to all the young readers I meet. I’m also very proud that many of my books are published by Barrington Stoke, whose books are written, edited and designed with reluctant readers and those with dyslexia and visual stress. I want to thank everyone who nominated me for this award, and the National Literacy Trust and ALCS for this honour.”

Tom Palmer

Our Chief Executive, Jonathan Douglas, presented Tom with the award last night at a special ceremony hosted by ALCS in London.

“Tom is creative, fun and incredibly dedicated to helping children better their reading skills and discover a transformative love of reading. He is particularly brilliant at engaging the most reluctant readers through sport and the armed forces, and supporting their onward reading journey. His efforts this year have been truly extraordinary. Congratulations Tom – a thoroughly deserving winner.”

Jonathan Douglas, Chief Executive, National Literacy Trust