Pick of the Picts

No, that’s not a picture of the winners and runners up in a contest for Chas and Dave tribute acts, but the four writers fortunate enough to share a couple of glorious days in sunny (yes, sunny) Scotland for the 2012 Angus Book Award bash.

The prize of a replica Pictish standing stone and £500 went to Kevin Brooks, front right, for his terrific novel iBoy while (l to r) Phil Earle, for Being Billy, me, for Flip, and Ian Beck, for Pastworld, made up the shortlist of finalists.

Gang of four

The prestigious annual award for a young adult novel involves some 450 students from all eight secondary schools in Angus, on Scotland’s east coast, and is voted for entirely by the teenagers themselves. As part of the event, the shortlisted authors visit two schools each to give talks and to meet some of the students – I had two great sessions at Forfar Academy and Arbroath Academy.

Two nights at the 5-star Carnoustie Golf Hotel – right next to the world famous golf course, regular venue for the British Open – was a very pleasant treat, too, although the four of us looked distinctly out of place among so many men in diamond-patterned Pringle sweaters and brightly coloured slacks.

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