James Dawson has beaten John Green to be crowned the first ever male Queen of Teen. Dawson was announced as the winner of the award at a ceremony on Friday 11th July 2014 surrounded by fans, invited journalists and five out of nine of the other shortlisted authors: Cathy Cassidy, Beth Reekles, Natasha Farrant, Holly Smale, Cassandra Clare, S.C. Ransom, Tonya Hurley, Veronica Roth and John Green.
James is the author of Cruel Summer, shortlisted for the Sheffield Children's Book Award 2014 Young Adult category.
The Queen of Teen was launched in 2008 to celebrate the ever-growing range of fiction available for young adults and acknowledge the hugely significant part that fiction can play in the teenage years. Readers are invited to nominate authors for the award and it is their votes that choose the winner.
The changing shape of the shortlists over the years – each one nominated entirely by teens – accurately reflects the trends and developments in the genre of teen fiction. From the hilarious books of the first-winner, Louise Rennison, through the more issues-focused stories of Cathy Cassidy to the darker tales of Maureen Johnson and James Dawson.
Author of Hollow Pike and Say Her Name, James rallied his loyal fans and followers with a vigorous social media campaign and an ‘endorsement’ from Eurovision Song Contest winner Conchita Wurst. Queen of Teen voters were impressed with his sensitive and entertaining handling of subjects such as challenges affecting the LGBT community.
As one voter commented: ‘There are lots of gay characters in his books. But the books aren't about being gay; they're gay because they're gay and a huge fuss isn't made about it, which is fantastic.’
James said, on being crowned Queen of Teen, ‘I am not the best-selling author on the list. I’m not the most famous. I’m not the most talented. So all I can really do is promise to work twice as hard to be a really good queen. I hope I can take this award and do something with it, and use the platform to shine a light on UKYA.’
For further information on Queen of Teen and how to take part in the voting for next year’s award visit www.queenofteen.co.uk