Between the lines

Children's reading groups recruited from schools by Ottakar's bookstores across England, Scotland and Wales have helped to choose the first winner of the Ottakar's Children's Book Prize. It goes to Stuart Hill's The Cry of the Icemark, an epic fantasy adventure published this month by Barry Cunningham, who signed up JK Rowling for Bloomsbury before setting up his own company, The Chicken House. Hill left school at 16 and spent six years in a car factory before heading for adult education and becoming a teacher; his publisher's website,, says he is "now in recovery".

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