Flying High! wins ‘Excellence in Writing’ award

I was in the stunning setting of York Minster last Thursday night, along with many hundreds of other people from the creative scene in York. We were gathered for the second annual York Culture Awards, celebrating cultural achievements in York.

I was shortlisted in the ‘Excellence in Writing’ category for my book Flying High! Discover the poetry in British birds, and I’m thrilled to be able to say that I won!

Photo taken by Paula Duck

I’m particularly thrilled as the award I was given is absolutely stunning. It’s been created by craftsmen at York Minster from a 14th-century roof beam from the North transept of the Minster (where our ceremony was being held). Priceless!

It looks like it’s charred around the edges, so I’m assuming it was removed from the roof as a result of a fire. I’ll have to find out more!

The whole evening was a great celebration of York’s cultural vitality and variety, and included, in addition to the announcement of the award winners, performances from local choirs. A highlight for me was the sublime performance by the Ebor Singers, in the Chapter House, of Sleep by Eric Whitacre.

I’d like to thank all those involved in the award, including the judges, MakeItYork, and the sponsors of my particular category, RED Publications, who said of my book:

Described as ‘poetry meets ornithology’, Flying High! is a gorgeous guide to British birds for children (and grown ups) mixing up entertaining poems, science facts and amazing feathery photos.

Andy said: “Anneliese’s award was well deserved – Flying High! is a brilliant book for getting youngsters interested in wildlife. We were delighted to be involved in this year’s York Culture Awards – it’s great to be able to help shine a light on our local creative talent here in York.

“Well done Anneliese – and congratulations to all the winners!”

Congratulations to all the winners indeed. You can see them below, find out more about them here, and look through more photos of the ceremony here. ( You’ll see that the York Festival of Ideas won the award for ‘Best Cultural Event or Festival’. As it happens, Flying High! was launched at that very festival!)

Winners of the York Culture Awards 2017. (Photo by Paula Duck)

At the end of the ceremony I was nabbed by Kay Hyde, from MakeItYork, who asked me if I’d like to go on Radio York the next day to talk about the ceremony and my award. Seemed like a good idea to me, so I blithely said ‘Yes’. Only to discover that they wanted me there at 7.30 the next morning!

This is what I sound like when I’m interviewed (by Joanita Musisi) at 7.30am the morning after the night before:

Big thanks to my publishers, Brambleby Books, Flying High!’s designer, Tanya Warren of Creatix Design, Prof. Sir John Lawton for supporting the project by writing the Foreword, and all the talented photographers whose stunning photos appear in the book.

If you’ve yet to get a hands on the book, you can order a signed copy here, dedicated to you! I hope you enjoy it!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life


Teachers’ Book Award winners

Looking for ‘the best literature on offer for use in the primary classroom’? Look no further! The NS Teachers’ Book Award was set up this year with the aim of finding just that. Since October, teachers, teaching assistants and school librarians across the country have been voting for the shortlisted titles. And the winners were announced at a ceremony on Saturday.

I’m thrilled to announce that the winner in the Poetry category was … my book Buzzing!


The award ceremony was a fantastic occasion, with home-made buns and cakes aplenty, including book buns!

Book bun

A lovingly made (and very delicious) book bun at the NSTBA ceremony

I was very pleased to meet there 12-year-old Tayler, who had interviewed me about my book back in September.

With interviewer Tayler

With interviewer Tayler

And it was fabulous to meet so many other talented children’s authors who had been shortlisted in the other award categories, i.e. Picture Books, Quality Fiction, Read Aloud and Information.

NSTBA authors

With NSTBA authors Tom Moorhouse, Huw Powell, Stephen Lenton, Sharon Tregenza and Sam Gayton

I also thoroughly enjoyed meeting the members of the ‘Just About Books’ group (linked to the Federation of Children’s Book Groups), who had set up this award. They had put so much time, effort and dedication into the whole enterprise, from book selection through book reviews, interviews, photographs and website creation, to shortlisting, selecting the winners and putting on the ceremony. It was hugely uplifting to see so much commitment to the importance of books in children’s – and teachers’ – lives.

The Book Bun lady, with her copy of Buzzing!

Torie, the brilliant Book Bun lady, with her copy of Buzzing!

The group’s website is an excellent resource for anyone looking for quality children’s fiction. I really recommend a visit. You’ll see there that they state ‘Children’s literature is our passion’. That certainly came across at the award ceremony.

The Just About Books group said that this award was ‘born out of a desire to celebrate the very best in children’s literature’. It is a huge honour to have been recognised by them as offering ‘the very best in children’s literature’.

With my award at the NSTBA ceremony

With my award at the NSTBA ceremony

Congratulations to the authors of the other winning books, which are:

Thank you to everyone at the Just About Books group (especially powerhouse Sue Wilsher) for a fabulous journey. And thank you, too, to my publishers Brambleby Books, without whom there would be no Buzzing! book. It was a real treat to have Nicola and Hugh Loxdale of Brambleby Books with me at the ceremony.

You can order your – signed – copy of Buzzing! here.  And if you’d like a Buzzing! visit to your school, just get in touch.

NSTBA prize

Anneliese Emmans – Bringing poetry to life



Royal Society Award Ceremony

It’s been an exciting journey since May, when my Buzzing! book was shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize. That journey reached its climax on Monday when I made my way to the Royal Society’s beautiful home in Carlton Terrace, London, for the announcement of the prize winner. There I was reunited with the book’s publisher, Nicola Loxdale of Brambleby Books, and the designer, Tanya Warren of Creatix.

At the Royal Society award ceremony with publisher NIcola Loxdale of Brambleby Books and designer Tanya Warren of Creatix

At the Royal Society award ceremony with publisher Nicola Loxdale of Brambleby Books and designer Tanya Warren of Creatix

Also gathered there were the authors of the 5 other shortlisted books, plus their guests and, of course, the judges. Well, the adult judges. You’ll recall the final arbiters were around 1,000 children and young people nationwide who had been sent the 6 shortlisted books from which to choose a winner. Here’s what some of them thought of our books:

Hosting the evening was the Royal Society’s President, Sir Paul Nurse, and announcing the winner was the chair of the adult judging panel, Professor John Goodby (whose comments about Buzzing! you can read here.)

And the winner was …? Not me – unfortunately – but Rob Lloyd Jones for his wonderful book Look Inside Space. Congratulations, Rob! A worthy winner!

Winner Rob Lloyd Jones, with his trophy, surrounded by fellow authors and judges and Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society

Winner Rob Lloyd Jones with his trophy, surrounded by fellow authors and judges and Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society

This Young People’s Book Prize has been sponsored by an anonymous donor, to whom I am very grateful. All us runner-up authors received a handsome cheque, presented to us by some of the child judges, from Ellen Wilkinson school. The highlight of my evening was when a little girl from this school came up to me after the ceremony and told me that she had liked my book best. Not only that, but her friend Yu had liked mine best too!

"I liked your book the best"

“I liked your book the best”

Thank you to everyone involved in organising and judging the award. I met a whole host of fascinating people at the event on Monday, not least the very talented authors of the other shortlisted books. I commend all their books to you, and wish them all the best in their future writing endeavours.

So, off I go now to finish off my next writing endeavour …

Anneliese Emmans – Bringing Poetry to Life


Shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize

Royal Society Young People's Book Prize logo 2013Who says you have to choose between the sciences and the arts?

When I was at school I did maths and arts A levels. At Cambridge University I started off studying in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and ended up in the Department of Engineering. I enjoyed analysing a poem just as much as I enjoyed doing spectrographic analyses of speech signals. And so when it came to creating my  Buzzing! book, it was entirely natural to me to mix science and amusing poetry, entomology and etymology, to create a colourful, fizzing, ‘edu-taining’ experience.

I was thrilled to discover yesterday that the Royal Society, that august scientific body founded over 350 years ago, recognised what I set out to do by shortlisting Buzzing! for this year’s Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize.

Royal Society web page showing Young People's Book Prize shorlisted books

I was particularly pleased about this as I had had a hard job convincing publishers that mixing science and poetry was a good idea. But in the end I was very lucky to find Brambleby Books, who immediately  ‘got’ what I wanted to do, and who went on to produce the handsome tome that is Buzzing!

The Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize is a prestigious prize that ‘celebrates the best English-language books that communicate science to young people up to the age of fourteen’.

Buzzing! was one of six books shortlisted for the Prize by a judging panel that consisted of five eminent scientists, science communicators and educationalists. They described my book as being:

Buzzing! by Anneliese Emmans Dean, nominated for the 2013 Carnegie Medal

Buzzing! by Anneliese Emmans Dean

‘buzzing with interesting science facts and wonderful poetry. Each page features a different British minibeast that you might find in your back garden, with a funny poem about them.’

The Chair of the panel was Professor John Goodby FRS, who said:

‘This year’s books have shown how science can become the subject of beautiful poems, be the object of wonderful works of art, and all the time stretching minds, young and old, into the “realms of imagination” and down-to-earth “model building” … Our eclectic collection of books have been truly enthralling, and our decisions on six candidates for “book of the year” have been incredibly difficult.’

Copies of all six shortlisted books are now being sent out to groups of young people up and down the country. It is they who will be the final judges. The book they choose as the winner will be announced on 11 November …

Fingers crossed!

Meanwhile, you can find out more about Buzzing! here, order your signed copy here and see where you can catch a live Buzzing! show here.

STOP PRESS: Find out how the award ceremony went and who won here!

Anneliese Emmans – Bringing poetry to life


The Carnegie Medal …

I am thrilled to report that my Buzzing! book has been nominated for the 2013 Carnegie Medal.

The Carnegie Medal is one of the most prestigious prizes in writing for children. It is awarded annually by CILIP, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals for an outstanding book for children and young people.

The longlist announced today is full of Big Names I admire enormously, such as Anne Fine, David Almond and Kevin Crossley-Holland. So it’s a huge honour to find my name appearing on the same list as them.

Of course those big names are mostly published by big, mainstream publishers, so I’m doubly chuffed that my book, brought out by small, independent publisher Brambleby Books, should have made it onto the list.

Buzzing!, by Anneliese Emmans Dean, nominated for the 2013 Carnegie Medal

Buzzing!, by Anneliese Emmans Dean, nominated for the 2013 Carnegie Medal

Thank you to everyone involved.

Find out more about my Buzzing! book, and view sample pages, here

Order your copy here

Anneliese Emmans DeantheBigBuzz


Masterful Compost! The (mini-)Musical performance

Garden Organic’s Ryton Gardens near Coventry is a fabulously beautiful place, and on Saturday it was teeming with amazing people – Master Gardeners and Master Composters from across the country who had gathered for their annual National Masters Conference.

National Masters Conference cake!

National Masters Conference (Olympics-themed) cake!

At last year’s conference, my eco-musical Compost!The (mini-)Musical (commissioned by York Rotters) won an award for innovation.

National Masters Innovation Award 2011 for Compost! The (mini-)Musical

National Masters Innovation Award 2011 for Compost! The (mini-)Musical

This year, Catherine Bamford from York Rotters and I were invited to the conference to give the delegates a flavour of the musical.

A packed marquee of some 160 Master Gardeners and Master Composters raised the roof with their enthusiastic drumming, chanting and singing of the musical. What a great sound – from a record-breaking number of Compost! performers.

Afterwards the participants were teeming with suggestions: we ought to go on a national tour – no, a world tour;  if the ‘Military Wives’ could do it, so could the ‘Master Gardeners and Composters’, they enthused!

Although we have no national (or international) tour planned – as yet! – lots of delegates bought a Compost!The (mini-)Musical Teaching Pack, so they’ll be taking the musical back to their part of the country and putting on performances where they are. I’m looking forward to hearing how these performances go!

Compost! The (mini-)Musical Teaching Pack flyer

Compost! The (mini-)Musical Teaching Pack flyer

Next on the stage after us was Chris Collins, the Blue Peter gardener, who gave an inspiring talk about how to engage and enthuse children about plants and gardening.

Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins, on stage at Garden Organic after our Compost! The (mini-)Musical. 30 June 2012

Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins, the next speaker on stage at Garden Organic after our Compost! The (mini-)Musical. 30 June 2012

Thank you to everyone at Garden Organic who was involved in organising the conference and putting on the workshops. And hats off to all the Master Gardeners and Master Composters who give up their time to volunteer in their communities, making them greener, more sustainable places, full of happier, healthier and more fulfilled people. (I can say this with confidence as the research presented at the conference had the stats to prove it!)

Me with Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins at the National Masters Conference at Garden Organic, 30 june 2012

Me with Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins at the National Masters Conference at Garden Organic, 30 june 2012

Stop Press: The post-conference feedback has been great too. Take a look at this quote from the (Masters award-winning)  ‘The Compost Bin’ blog:

After the lunch break we were treated to a performance of “Compost – the mini musical”  from Anneliese Emmans Dean and York Rotters  – which was absolutely BRILLIANT. So funny and creative! If you can go and see it I recommend doing so. It is also available to purchase as a teaching tool .’

Many thanks!

Anneliese Emmans –


Compost! The (mini-)Musical wins national award!

Well, what do you know? My eco-musical ‘Compost! The (mini-)Musical‘ – an edu-taining way for children and grown-ups to learn about how (and why) to compost –  has just won a national award!

National Masters Innovation Award for Compost! The (mini-)Musical

National Masters Innovation Award for Compost! The (mini-)Musical

As you can see, this Garden Organic National Masters Award was presented to York Rotters, who commissioned Compost! The (mini-)Musical from me, and with whom I work closely to deliver teaching sessions all over York – as you can see here and here.

It was Keely Mellor, the then York Rotters Co-ordinator who, back in 2007, commissioned me to ‘come up with something’ about composting. She invited me to attend a York Rotters compost training day, and lo, Compost! The (mini-)Musical was born!

In 2009 I published a comprehensive Compost! The (mini-)Musical Teaching Pack with Resource CD, so anyone anywhere can teach and put on the musical. So far, packs have been sold as far afield as America, Portugal and Turkey – as well as to schools in Britain. Order your copy here!

Compost! The(mini-)Musical Teaching Pack

Compost! The(mini-)Musical Teaching Pack

A big Thank You to everyone at York Rotters, especially the current Co-ordinator Catherine Bamford, and the good folk at York Environment Centre, for all their support and encouragement over the years.

Catherine Bamford of York Rotters dispensing composting advice at a Compost! The (mini-)Musical performance

Catherine Bamford of York Rotters dispensing composting advice at a Compost! The (mini-)Musical performance

And thank you to the Master Composters at Garden Organic, for recognising us with this award!

With my compost bin and my 'Compost! The (mini-)Musical' Teaching Pack

With my compost bin and my ‘Compost! The (mini-)Musical’ Teaching Pack

Find out more about York Rotters and our Compost! The (mini-)Musical activities by clicking here, and scrolling down through the posts.

To put on Compost! The (mini-)Musical where you are, order your copy of the Compost! The (mini-)Musical Teaching Pack here.

If you’d like any further information, email me!

Anneliese Emmans Dean –