BOOKWORMS in Dorset have cast their vote on the shortlist for this year’s New Horizons Book Award.

The biannual award encourages young people to explore some of the best fiction by exciting debut authors for nine to 13-year-olds.

It is run by the Dorset Public and School Library Services.

The shortlist of six books has been carefully chosen by over 500 youngsters from across the county, who will now put their heads together to help pick the winner.

Gill Lewis, award winning author of book ‘Sky Hawk’, attended the recent launch event at Dorchester Library and Learning Centre.

She told tales to an audience of 70 children from Allenbourn Middle School, Ferndown Middle School, Shaftesbury School and Clayesmore Preparatory School, including her journey to becoming an author and the inspiration for her novel ‘White Dolphin’.

Coun Peter Finney, Dorset County Council’s cabinet member for community services, said the New Horizons Book Award is a ‘wonderful initiative’ and added: “It’s all about getting children to read for fun and develop a love for reading and writing. It was great to see so many young people voting for their favourite book, and we want to encourage all young budding scribes in Dorset to put pen to paper and tell us their own stories.

“I know we can look forward to reading some really exciting, imaginative stories.”

Children in Years Five to Six are asked to write a story in less than 1,500 words and children in Years Seven and Eight can submit an outline of a novel, including the main events and characters in less than 250 words, and the opening pages of the novel which should be between 500 and 1,000 words.

The winner in each category will receive a book related prize, and if the winners are attending a school which is registered for the New Horizons Book Award, the school will receive £100 towards an author visit of their choice.

For more information and to cast your vote please visit