Page last updated at 17:25 GMT, Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Haig wins Blue Peter book award

Copyright: Justin Slee
Matt Haig has written five novels

Shadow Forest by author Matt Haig has been named book of the year at the Blue Peter Book Awards.

The dark and grisly tale about two orphans and a forest full of one-eyed trolls was chosen as the winner by a panel of eight child judges.

Haig received his award in a special episode of the BBC children's TV show, on Wednesday.

Shadow Forest also won the Book I Couldn't Put Down category. Haig said he was "over-the-moon".

The book beat winners from two other categories to win the overall award.

They were Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear, by Andy Stanton and illustrated by David Tazzyman, in the Most Fun Story with Pictures category; and Horrible Geography Handbooks - Planet in Peril by Anita Ganeri, illustrated by Mike Phillips, in the Best Book with Facts category.

Camera crew

Matt Haig said: "I am absolutely over-the-moon that Shadow Forest won, not only as a lifelong Blue Peter fan but also because this is one of the only national awards where children decide the winner.

"To say I was shocked is an understatement. I was halfway through a book event at a school when suddenly I turned around and saw a Blue Peter camera crew burst in to hand me the award. I nearly hyperventilated!

"I was up against some very stiff competition so I couldn't believe I'd won my category let alone the overall prize, although I'm very pleased I did!"

The young judges described Shadow Forest as "a creepy fantasy book full of weird and wonderful creatures" and "fun but scary at the same time".

Tim Levell, editor of Blue Peter, said: "The Blue Peter Book Awards are special because they are chosen by children for children.

"We know how much our young audience loves reading, but on World Book Day, we want to encourage children to try some books they might not know about - and hopefully get some new favourites to add to their bookshelf!"

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