Winner of Guardian children's fiction prize 2011
The shortlist was made public on October 1st 2011, and Andy was awarded the prize on November 11th 2011 at the Guardian's head office in London.
'Was I surprised?' says Andy. 'I was...dumbstruck. I turned into a babbling football-player, discovering that phrases like 'over the moon' were the only appropriate ones - because I didn't expect to win. 'Return to Ribblestrop' is a strange book in a strange series. It's not an easy book - it's long, and the plot is labyrinthine. The humour is a queer mixture of slapstick, farce and satire, intermingled with the naivete and worldliness of a rich variety of schoolchildren. To be honest, I've always wondered if anyone would "get" the book, or if the book was gettable. The Guardian got right behind the first volume, and I see the award as a shot in the arm - a gesture of support for doing something a little bit different, and a little bit dangerous. It's a prestigious award, of course, and the award ceremony was attended by literary stars I'd never hoped to meet. I will stop here, for fear of babbling. My thanks go to my editor, Venetia Gosling, and my ever patient agent, whose hard work and faith continue to amaze me. Can I also slip in a very personal thank you to Joe, who asked the right question at just the right time, and set a ball rolling that has now started to bounce.'
Andy is currently hard at work on the final volume.
'It's going well. The first draft is roughed out, so I know how things end. The orphans come to the fore, and there's a lot of outward bound - it's the summer term, after all, and there's a huge, dangerous stretch of moorland on their doorstep. Lots of accidents, lots of gags and lots of good old fashioned adventure - I'm feeling very confident about it."