Black History Matters by Robin Walker wins 2020 ALCS Educational Writers’ Award

Martin Reed

Martin Reed

Martin leads the SoA's Communications team. He oversees our strategic communications and campaign-based activities, including PR, social media, events and partnerships.
The winner of the 2020 ALCS Educational Writers’ Award is Robin Walker's 'Black History Matters: The Story of Black History, From African Kingdoms to Black Lives Matter'.

Written by acclaimed Black historian, Robin Walker, the 2020 judges praised this accessible, comprehensive and inspiring book which provides a timely introduction both to Black history and the Black Lives Matter movement.

The result of this year’s ALCS Educational Writers’ Award – the UK’s only award for creative educational writing – was announced on Wednesday 9 December 2020 by Tony Bradman at a virtual awards ceremony hosted by the Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS). Robin Walker receives prize money of £2,000.

Published by Franklin Watts, Black History Matters aims to provide young people with a comprehensive resource throughout Black History Month and beyond. It chronicles thousands of years of Black history, from African kingdoms, to slavery, apartheid, the battle for civil rights and more. Important and inspiring Black personalities, from Olaudah Equiano to Oprah Winfrey, are highlighted throughout, while achievements and progress are balanced alongside a look at the issues that continue to plague Black communities.

This year’s judges – children’s author, Bali Rai; school librarian, Liz Annetts; and secondary school teacher, Charlotte Baggley – were full of praise for the winning title:

This accessible, comprehensive and inspiring book provides a balanced and timely introduction, both to Black history and to the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement. It’s an excellent classroom resource that will be used time and time again by teachers.

This year’s runner-up for the 2020 ALCS Educational Writers’ Award is How to Be Autistic, written and illustrated by Charlotte Amelia Poe, and published by Myriad Editions. The judges praised this highly personal account of autism, mental illness, gender and sexual identity as: “a raw, honest and potentially life-changing personal story which fills a gap in the resources currently available, and illustrates how far we still need to travel in order to understand and support those with autism”.

The 2020 ALCS Educational Writers’ Award focused on books for 11 –18-year-olds, published in 2018 and 2019. Black History Matters beat off strong competition from the four other titles shortlisted for this year’s Award.

The ALCS Educational Writers’ Award was established in 2008 by ALCS and the Society of Authors (SoA), “to celebrate educational writing that inspires creativity and encourages students to read widely and build up their understanding of a subject beyond the requirements of exam specifications”.

Tweet or post about this year’s winner using the hashtags #EWA20 #ALCSAwards


The Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS) is a not-for-profit organisation for the benefit of all types of writers. Owned by its members, ALCS collects money due for secondary uses of writers’ work. It is designed to support authors and their creativity, ensure they receive fair payment, and see their rights are respected. It promotes and teaches the principles of copyright and campaigns for a fair deal. Today ALCS represents over 110,000 members, and since 1977 has paid out more than £500 million to writers. alcs.co.uk

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.