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The Bunker Diary: Exeter author Kevin Brooks wins children's book prize

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: June 23, 2014

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Kevin Brooks

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A TEN year battle to have his book published has paid off for Exeter author Kevin Brooks.

His reward is to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Arthur Ransome, CS Lewis and Terry Pratchett, by winning the CILIP Carnegie Medal

Kevin, who was born and raised in Exeter and won a scholarship to Exeter School when he was eleven, took the prestigious prize with the Bunker Diary.

The story is a fictional diary of a kidnapped boy held hostage in a bunker.

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After being rejected for its lack of hope, Brooks struggled for a decade to see his winning teen novel in print.

He said, said: “There is a school of thought that no matter how dark or difficult a novel is, it should contain at least an element of hope.

“ As readers, children – and teens in particular – don’t need to be cosseted with artificial hope that there will always be a happy ending. They want to be immersed in all aspects of life, not just the easy stuff.

“They’re not babies, they don’t need to be told not to worry, that everything will be all right in the end, because they’re perfectly aware that in real life things aren’t always all right in the end.

“ To be patronising, condescending towards the reader is, to me, the worst thing a young adult fiction author can do.

“The history of The Bunker Diary makes this win particularly special. I knew I could have got the book published years ago if I’d rewritten it – toned it down, changed the ending, explained a lot of unexplained things – but to me that would have meant writing a different book, a book that I didn’t want to write.”

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