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Wednesday, 1 December, 1999, 16:28 GMT
Potter's award hat-trick
JK Rowling: No more Smarties for Harry

Harry Potter author JK Rowling has won a top book award for the third consecutive year - and asked for her creation not to be considered for future prizess.

Ms Rowling won a gold award in the Smarties Book Prize 1999, voted for by 200 separate groups of children - the first author to win the award three times in a row.

Ninety per cent of the voting panels selected Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban the best in the nine to 11-year section of the awards.

Book Trust, an independent charity, worked with a panel of adult judges to compile the shortlist. The classes of youngsters were then enlisted to read the nominees and choose the winners.

Harry Potter: Growing up
Picking up her award from Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq, Ms Rowling said: "Believe it or not, third time round means the most to me, it really does.

"Two years ago when Harry wasn't famous at all he won the Smarties Award and it was the first thing Harry ever won. In fact, it was the first thing I won in my life, ever, apart from a book about how to grow pot plants."

But she added: "I feel now in writing this series, and after this award, that Harry should not be submitted from now on for the Smarties Award.

"He's growing up, he's 14, and his hormones are kicking in."

Ms Rowling's books have built up a huge following around the world, and have sold over seven million copies in the UK and US.

Future Potter volumes are expected to tackle more mature themes as the character grows up.

Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban is also nominated for the Whitbread Prize, to be announced in the new year.

Other Smarties winners were Julia Donaldson and Azel Scheffler for The Gruffalo in the five and under category, and Snow White and the Seven Aliens by Laurence Anholt and Arthur Robins in the six to eight year-olds category.

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