I'm especially interested in the Novel and First Novel categories as I've read some of those books: in First Novel, I'm very pleased to see Kate Clanchy's Meeting the English, which I reviewed here, and I hope it gets the recognition it deserves. Meanwhile in Novel I have read three of the four books - Kate Atkinson's Life After Life, Maggie O'Farrell's Instructions for a Heatwave (post here), and the late Bernardine Bishop's Unexpected Lessons in Love (post here) - and can recommend them all.
If you have access to BBC iPlayer, do watch last night's edition of the arts programme Imagine which was a profile of the author and illustrator Judith Kerr. What a charming lady, and how incredibly sharp and sprightly for a person of 90 - I hope I'm able to run upstairs as fast as she does should I reach that age!
Two little details which made me smile: the monster from her husband Nigel Kneale's famous series Quatermass and the Pit had three legs in tribute to the symbol of its creator's homeland (being Manx-born myself, I rather like that), and Judith Kerr's son Matthew, when learning to read, was so bored by the 'Janet & John'-type reading schemes he was given that he said he would learn with the Cat in the Hat books, and so he did.
Dr. Seuss must have served him well for Matthew Kneale is now, of course, a famous novelist, and if you haven't already read his wonderful, wonderful English Passengers (which features a Manx smuggling vessel, and which in 2000 won the Whitbread Award, as the Costa Book Award was formerly known), then do.
I'm enjoying reading about everyone's favourite children's books in the comments on yesterday's post, so do please keep them coming and enter the draw for the Bodleian cards and bookmarks. I'm also delighted to see some unfamiliar names among the commenters, readers who haven't made themselves known before but have done so now - it's lovely to hear from you!