The Mighty Nose Awards

This year I was lucky enough to be one of the judges for the Mighty Nose Awards, along with Richard E Grant, actor and perfumier, and Nicky Cox, editor of First News.

I’ve judged several writing competitions, but this one was particularly enjoyable, because all the entries were focused on smell. During the judging process, we three judges were asked to award points for “originality; quality of writing; and lively depiction of smells”.

You can read more about the awards on the Marty the Mighty website – – and find out how to enter the 2017 awards. Anyone aged between 7 and 11 can enter, and the closing date is the end of this year.

Here’s a short film which shows the judging process and features the judges reading some of winning poems:


Calderdale Book Award

I’m delighted that The Sultan’s Tigers has won the Calderdale Book Award.

I was nominated for this award a few years ago for Bearkeeper, but didn’t win. When I went back to Halifax last week for the ceremony at the Central Library, I remembered that occasion, and felt quite sure that, once again, I would be watching someone else win the award. But this time I won.

Here is a picture of me with two of the other writers nominated for the award, Simon Mason and Sam Gayton. I travelled back on the train with Sam, and he took revenge during an epic three-hour marathon of ipad games, every one of which he won.