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In Brief

The Smarties Book Prize overall award of Pounds 6,000 has gone to the novelist and radio dramatist Jacqueline Wilson for Double Act, a novel about conflicts between identical twins published by Doubleday.

The Smarties Young Judges' panel of Year 6 pupils from Burscough county primary school, Lancashire announced its decision yesterday.

This is the latest in a series of commendations for Wilson. The Bed and Breakfast Star was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal earlier this year and she won the 1993 Children's Book Award for The Suitcase Kid. Double Act was also joint winner in the nine to 11-year-old category with Lesley Howarth's Weather Eye (Walker Books).

The adult Smarties judges made three category awards last month, but did not reveal the winners until the Burscough pupils had made the overall award. Jill Paton Walsh's Thomas and the Tinners illustrated by Alan Marks (Macdonald Young Books) won the six to eight-year-olds' category; Jill Murphy's The Last Noo-Noo (Walker Books) won the five-and-under category.

The Northern Children's Book Festival, promoting literacy throughout the north-east, is in full swing with a Children's Book Bonanza at Hexham Library on November 18 and a programme of author visits to schools and libraries in the region.

A gala day at the Eldon Leisure Centre, Newcastle, will round off the festival on November 25. Berlie Doherty, Colin McNaughton and Trish Cooke are among the authors and illustrators running sessions for children up to 12. The day opens at 10am with teenage workshops starting at 12 noon.

The gala events are free but author sessions must be pre-booked on 0191 230 4308.

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