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Another feather in Harry Potter's cap

india Updated: Nov 28, 2006 16:07 IST
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It has been five years since JK Rowling won a major literary prize in her native Scotland, but when children had the chance to vote she triumphed.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was voted best Scottish children's book, for readers aged eight to 12 in a poll of 3,000 schoolchildren, backed by leading literary organisations. They chose from a judges' shortlist of three titles.

In a message and read by her editor, Emma Matthewson, the author pleaded pressure of work for not turning up for the ceremony at the Royal Mail Awards for Scottish Children's Books, reports the Scotsman.

"Thank you so much for this award. I'm sure any writer will agree that it's always reassuring to receive recognition for your work, but it's particularly meaningful when the decision has been made by the readers themselves," she said.

"To them, I'm enormously grateful and delighted that Harry Potter continues to give so much pleasure.

"I'm sorry I am unable to receive this award in person today, but I currently have my head down writing the final book, which is coming along nicely."

The first Royal Mail Awards for Scottish Children's Books have evolved from the Scottish Arts Council for children's books.

JK Rowling has not won an SAC prize since 2001, when Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was one of five books listed for a £1,000 prize, when the author accepted the accolade, but not the cash.

This year's runners-up were Deep Water, by Debi Gliori, and The Sign of the Black Dagger, by Joan Lingard. The shortlisted titles were read by young people in reading groups at schools, libraries and bookshops across Scotland this term.

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