Scallywag Press
Scallywag Press
Scallywag Press
Scallywag Press

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Queens Knickers Award

We're delighted to announce that UMBRELLA by Elena Arevalo Melville has won the inaugural Queen's Knickers Award!

Watch Elena receiving the award.

This new award has been endowed by Nicholas Allan in order to promote books which take risks and have a bit of edge. Some of his own titles such as THE QUEEN'S KNICKERS and JESUS'S CHRISTMAS PARTY were banned when they first came out but are now classics. His new prize calls for books that 'strike a quirky, new note and grab the attention of a child, whether this be in the form of curiosity, amusement, horror or excitement.'

Children need to be exposed to reality and work out boundaries for themselves. Although UMBRELLA is about magic and generosity, it also shows that everyone can go wrong and have a moment where they are rained upon - but may then stop and think of a new and better way to carry on.

Perhaps lockdown will also have made us stop and think of new and better ways. For now, we're grateful to Nicholas Allan for founding a new award to give edgy and original picture books a share of the limelight.

Here are the judges comments on UMBRELLA:

Emily Gravett: I was so delighted that Umbrella was chosen as the winner of The very first Queens Knickers Award. It is a truly original, engaging and all round wonderful book.

Korky Paul: The sheer originality of this tale combined with the powerful illustrations make it a winner!

Alexis Deacon: When judging this prize each of us thought that they alone would be speaking up for Umbrella and each of us was overjoyed to discover that we all felt the same. It is a book that makes you feel like it is your discovery, like it belongs to you. At first glance Umbrella can appear quiet or small. It is a book that might easily be overlooked on shelves packed with bolder shapes and brighter colours. It doesn't deserve that. Like the umbrella in the story it deserves to be found and opened. Opening the book is like opening that umbrella: You do it and something wonderful unfolds.
It is my hope that this award will allow Umbrella to reach a wider audience than it otherwise would and help its creator to make more books like it. In a world where it seems like you have to scream just to be heard, Umbrella talks to you in its own clear voice, as a friend. It is a very worthy winner.