Mal Peet's win of the Guardian Children's Book Prize was announced at their swanky new offices in King's Place last night. Exposure is the third in Mal's "football" series set in South America and , incredibly, only his fourth book. (His Tamar won the Carnegie Medal).
I haven't read Exposure (am really put off by the footballing setting, even though I know that's not what the book is "about") but I know there's a re-working of Othello in there and parallels with Posh and Becks (I don't think he'd dare strangle her).
Last year's winner, Patrick Ness, made a generous announcement speech after Julia Eccleshare had been through all the longlisted books, which was also nice for the authors there who hadn't quite made it to the shortlist.
And then Mal, appearing fleetingly like Boris Johnson in his astonishment at having won, made an amusing speech and was given a framed mocked up Guardian front-page. He had been unkind about the paper in Exposure and reckoned that the amount he had spent on buying it for 35 years meant, even with his award cheque, the Guardian was still quids in.
Mal was a co-judge, with me and Jenny Valentine last year when The Knife of Never Letting Go won and now he will have another go because part of the prize is to be judge next time. It's the only children's book prize judged by fellow-writers and a lovely one to win. Congratulations to Mal.
The other two judge were Celia Rees and Andy Stanton and the award is chaired by Julia Eccleshare.