Shortlist announced for the UK’s only award for creative educational writing

The ALCS Educational Writers’ Award celebrates the best of non-fiction that stimulates or enhances learning. This award was established in 2008 by the Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS) and the Society of Authors (SoA) “to celebrate educational writing that inspires creativity and encourages students to read widely and build up their understanding of a subject beyond the requirements of exam specifications” and today the shortlist for the 2016 award as been announced.


The books on the shortlist are:

Authors: David & Ben Crystal
Illustrator: Kate Bellamy
(Publisher: Oxford University Press)

This illustrated dictionary, compiled by the renowned English language expert David Crystal and his Shakespearean actor and producer son Ben, aims to unlock the mysteries of Shakespeare’s world, words and language. Over 4000 words are clearly explained, with examples from the twelve most-studied and performed plays, and the book also includes thematic sections which illuminate a wide range of topics from Armour and Colours to Occupations and Ships.

The judges said: “Far more than a dictionary, this visually appealing treasure chest is fun as well as informative, and gives a real insight into Shakespeare’s language and the rich world of his plays. With its wonderful variety of layout, colour and pace, you could spend hours with this book, dipping into the richness of Elizabethan life. There is an amazing range of information, from the finer points of swearing to the influence of cosmology and the details of armour. Whether you are encountering Shakespeare for the first time, or studying his work at A-level, it will help to make sense of the “unconsidered trifles” whilst also illuminating a world both familiar and strange.

Author: Teal Triggs
Illustrator: Daniel Frost
(Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions)
Learn how to make great art with this illustrated collection of forty informative lessons, which introduces the key principles underpinning all good design, from composition and colour to line, shape and perspective. Each lesson is led by one of the School of Art’s five expert professors who together demonstrate key concepts never previously brought together in a children’s art compendium, and the book also includes a wealth of suggestions for art activities.

The judges said: “At a time when creative subjects are coming under increasing pressure in the secondary curriculum, this very well-executed book has enormous depth and breadth, and offers the opportunity for forty weeks of serious study and application for independently-minded students who would like to immerse themselves in the School of Art’s friendly but challenging curriculum. Engagingly written, it is beautifully clear and light-hearted – but never childish, and has the potential both to build artists, and help the rest of us understand the techniques of the artworks we encounter.

Author: Anna Weltman
Illustrators: Edward Cheverton & Ivan Hissey
(Publisher: Ivy Kids)

Discover how maths can be artistic, and art can be mathematical with this graphic activity book, full of drawing challenges that have a mathematical basis. From simple geometric patterns to fractal art, anamorphic art, and Celtic knots, discover the beauty in maths, and the maths in beauty. Whether you’re a maths whizz or just a daring doodler, this book is a graphic guide to smart art.

The judges said: “This is of course, a maths book; just not maths as you thought you knew it. With sheer visual pleasure on every page, it makes you itch to take up a pencil and get started on the designs. It’s such an original idea: a book that marries art and maths and helps make sense of quite complex concepts without making you think you’re doing anything in the slightest bit difficult. And it makes you so much more aware of the beauty of maths, and its close relationship to art. It taught us more about both subjects than we’ve learned in aeons!

The 2016 award this year is for books published during 2014 and 2015 for the 11-18 age group (the award rotates age categories each year). The winner of the £2,000 award will announced on December 6th.

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