The Roald Dahl Prize ‘On Hold’ Until 2016

The annual ‘Roald Dahl Prize’, awarded for humour in literature, will be ‘on hold’ until 2016, according to the organisers. In a statement on their website, Booktrust’s CEO Viv Bird announced the news, as the ceremony will be AWOL for the next three years – returning in 2016 so it can be timed to coincide with what would have been Dahl’s 100th birthday.

roalddahlprize

Of course, there are plenty of other awards out there, but it is a little sad that an award which offers prize-money (and has a notable impact for sales) has been lost for a few years, for a not-quite-readily-apparent reason. Rebranding and everything is all very nice, but it’s strange that it’s going to take three years for things to be finished and ready to go again. They say in the statement that they want things to be more “impactful”, whatever that may mean. I’m fairly certain it’s not a word.

The Roald Dahl Prize for funny books is typically aimed at an all-ages audience, and has in the past celebrated books by cartoonists like Philip Reeve and Jamie Smart. Although it is sad to see it go away for a few years, founder Michael Rosen does add a little perspective:

When I was Children’s Laureate I wanted to put a special emphasis on reading for fun. With the help of Booktrust and the Roald Dahl family I set up the Roald Dahl Funny Prize. I did this because funny books often get overlooked when it comes to prizes. It’s usually felt that they should reward serious books. My own view is that many funny books tackle serious issues in a funny way, and that being funny is one extremely good way to engage children’s interest in reading.

‘In the six years the Prize has been running, we’ve celebrated 72 funny books across two age categories, rewarding 87 authors and illustrators. I think this list of books is a great resource to make children, parents and teachers smile, giggle and laugh.

And as a resource, the website still offers a great first step into the world of funny fiction. So, y’know, that’s at least something we can hold to while we wait for 2016 to come around.

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