Alex O’Connell announced the outcome of the Times Chicken House Children’s Fiction competition in Saturday Review. congratulations to Kerr Thomson, a geography teacher, who will now see his book published.
After much debate, we gave the award to Kerr Thomson, a geography teacher at Glasgow High School and father of two, for The Sound of Whales. Thomson’s thrilling adventure story about an unusual boy, a child psychologist and people-trafficking on a remote Scottish island thrilled us with its sense of place and an ideas-packed plot. It felt like an old-fashioned story, in the very best sense, and reminded us, in parts, of the wonderful Eva Ibbotson.
Thomson, who has never attended a writing course but has shared his work with a local writing group, was inspired by a stretch of the west coast of Scotland. He says he is fascinated with outsiders and insiders within close communities.
Soon he will become an insider in the community of published authors. Chicken House will endeavour to put his book on shelves within a year.
The terrific runners up are: The Birthday Surprise by Lisa Drakeford,a gritty young adult story which featured a teenage girl giving birth in the bath at her friend’s birthday party; Dearly Wild by Victoria Woolfe, about a motherless boy who finds a friend in a wounded deer; The Territory by Sarah Govett, a dystopian tale with a lot to say about our education system and The Runner by James Lofthouse, a knuckle-in-the-mouth thriller. Thank you to everyone who submitted manuscripts. We’re already getting excited about next year, so watch out for details of the 2015 competition.