What’s the T? by Juno Dawson, illustrated by Soofiya, wins the UK’s sole award for creative educational writing

Teddy McDonald

Teddy McDonald

Teddy works on SoA communications and outreach and alongside the Policy department on the SoA's campaigns work. He is also co-coordinator of the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group (CWIG).
'With a powerful charge of optimism and lived experience, it is witty and funny without being flippant, and practical without being dull'

The winner of the 2022 ALCS Educational Writers’ Award is WHAT’S THE T?, written by Juno Dawson and illustrated by Soofiya.

Published by Wren & Rook and created for young people aged 14+, WHAT’S THE T? is a no-nonsense guide to all things trans and/or non-binary, written by award-winning YA author and former PSHE teacher, Juno Dawson, with drawings by gender non-conforming illustrator, Soofiya. From identity and expression to coming out and dating, it aims to guide young people (and their parents and carers) through the modern transgender experience, and help them live their best lives, true to who they are.

The independent 2022 judging panel – children’s author, Sita Brahmachari; secondary school science teacher, Sean Chuhan; and secondary school librarian, Melissa Craig – praised the winning book for being hugely informative and written in a way that will appeal to a wide audience.

They commented: “Juno Dawson and Soofiya have produced something incredibly special with this book. It is a fantastic guide, not just for young people who may be exploring their own identity and sexuality, but for anyone seeking to understand transgender and non- binary issues. With a powerful charge of optimism and lived experience, it is witty and funny without being flippant, and practical without being dull. We can see it becoming an influential book indeed, with the power to open minds and hearts”.

The result of this year’s ALCS Educational Writers’ Award – the UK’s only award for creative educational writing – was announced this evening by poet Karl Nova at the ALCS Annual Awards ceremony at the Goldsmiths’ Centre in London. Juno Dawson and Soofiya share prize money of £2,000.

Further information about the winning author and illustrator can be found below. The 2022 award focused on books for children within the 11–18-year-old age bracket, published in 2020 and 2021. WHAT’S THE T? beat off strong competition from the five other titles shortlisted for this year’s award. They are:

  • MUSICAL TRUTH: A Musical Journey through Modern Black Britain, written by Jeffrey Boakye and illustrated by Ngadi Smart (Faber & Faber)
  • A REBEL IN AUSCHWITZ: The True Story of the Resistance Hero Who Fought the Nazis From Inside the Camp, written by Jack Fairweather (Scholastic)
  • THE ART OF DRAG, written by Jake Hall and illustrated by Sofie Birkin, Helen Li & Jasyot Singh Hans (Nobrow)
  • SILENCE IS NOT AN OPTION: You Can Impact the World for Change, written by Stuart Lawrence and designed by Richard Smith (Scholastic)
  • THE PLACE FOR ME: Stories About the Windrush Generation, written by KN Chimbiri, Kevin George, Salena Godden, Judy Hepburn, Ashley Hickson- Lovence, Jermain Jackman, Kirsty Latoya, Katy Massey, EL Norry & Quincy the Comedian; illustrated by Joelle Avellino and designed by Richard Smith

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

#EWA22 #ALCSAwards
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