The award-winning Unforgotten Coat!
We’re absolutely delighted that The Reader Organisation patron Frank Cottrell Boyce has won the Guardian Children’s Fiction prize 2012 for The Unforgotten Coat, the story he wrote exclusively for us for Our Read 2011.
50,000 free copies of the wonderful story, about two brothers from Mongolia who come to Merseyside but are forced to return to their homeland and their friend Julie, were distributed across Merseyside and travelled far beyond in our biggest book giveaway to date in March 2011, with hundreds of thousands of readers of all ages enjoying the tale. The Unforgotten Coat, funny and touching in equal measure, similarly enchanted the judges of the Guardian Children’s Fiction prize, who said it contained “”a very profound message dressed up in a magical, original, humorous story”.
Frank was inspired to write The Unforgotten Coat by the true story of a Mongolian schoolgirl he met while doing a reading at a local primary school whose family were forcibly deported from their home by immigration authorities. One of the things her classmates were most worried about was the fact she had left her coat behind, as she had said how cold it was in Mongolia. The image was one that haunted Frank, and set him to writing.
The Unforgotten Coat is a story that crosses all boundaries, with people of all ages and backgrounds being able to relate to it. This is why Frank was kind enough to write it as a gift to The Reader Organisation. Since the runaway success of Our Read 2011 – where Frank himself joined us for the book’s launch, reading the story aloud to a group of schoolchildren on a special train – we have read the story with many of our varied groups of readers in Get Into Reading groups across the UK.
Winning the prize in its 45th year is a massive achievement for Frank, and one which he’s especially proud of:
“I love the Guardian prize, the fact it’s given by other writers, and that it’s gone to books I loved reading like The Owl Service. It’s fantastic to win it anyway, but to win with something so exuberant, that was not trying to win any awards, is really great. This is a book that was written for fun, and for friendship.”
And we’re incredibly proud of Frank and The Unforgotten Coat – a gift to our readers across the world.