Broadcaster originally from Raunds shortlisted for top children’s book prize

Chris Smith and Greg James (picture credit: Jenny Smith)
Chris Smith and Greg James (picture credit: Jenny Smith)

A broadcaster who grew up in Raunds has been shortlisted for Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2018.

Chris Smith from Radio 1’s Newsbeat, who was born in Kettering and grew up in Raunds, has been nominated for the award which is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious accolades in the world of children’s books.

Chris and Greg's book Kid Normal

Chris and Greg's book Kid Normal

Announced today (Wednesday), he is shortlisted in the younger fiction category with co-writer and fellow Radio 1 presenter Greg James for their book Kid Normal.

Chris and Greg said: “The icing on the cake idiom is overused to describe happiness in these sorts of moments, so let’s change it slightly - this feels like preparing to eat a massive, beautifully iced cake, only for

a unicorn to burst out of it announcing that you’ve just won the lottery.

“This is an honour we never even dreamed of, and we’re truly grateful.”

Chris Smith at St Peter's Church in Raunds back in 2012

Chris Smith at St Peter's Church in Raunds back in 2012

Chris Smith is an award-winning journalist most frequently heard as the voice of Radio 1’s Newsbeat as well as hosting shows on BBC Radio 5 Live.

He teamed up with Greg James to write Kid Normal, a funny, fast-paced adventure about Murph Cooper, a boy who struggles to fit in to a school for superheroes.

Unlike his fellow students Murph has no special abilities whatsoever, but as he soon discovers you don’t need superpowers to be a hero.

David Payne, bookshop manager at Waterstones Kettering said: “Smith’s very funny book has really hit the spot with Kettering’s kids.

“The story has a keen message; as the only ‘normal’ child at a school for superheroes Murph must learn to trust himself.

“It’s wonderful, warm-hearted stuff, with all the wacky high-jinks that our discerning younger customers enjoy.”

The Waterstones Children’s book prize aims to reward and champion new and emerging talent in children’s books.

Now in its fourteenth year, it is widely regarded as one of the most important prizes for children’s books.

Last year’s winner, The Girl Of Ink And Stars shot to the top of the bestseller charts after announcement and saw an increase in sales of more than 1400 per cent across the Waterstones estate.

The winners will be announced at an evening reception at Waterstones Piccadilly (London), Europe’s largest bookshop, on March 22.

Six books will compete within each category to be crowned category winner, with the three category winners then vying for the overall title of Waterstones Children’s Book of the Year 2018.

The winner of each category will receive £2,000, with the overall winner receiving an extra £3,000.

To read about Chris’ support for a campaign run by St Peter’s Church in Raunds back in 2012, click here