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Meet the Judges: Luca

The Inky Award judges have 20 books to read in two months and the shadow judges had a month to read two books each… so I set them some extra work! I asked them to tell us a bit about themselves so we can get to know them a bit better. Curious about who is hard at work creating the Inky Awards shortlist? Meet them in our Meet the Judges series.

Today we meet judge Luca (biglou)

My favourite book when I was little:

My favourite books as a child were the Akimbo books by Alexander McCall Smith. These books, about a young child – Akimbo – living in the African planes, who sets out on a mission to stop the poachers from hunting the beautiful animals that roam his homeland are beautifully written and emotional, as well as carrying an intriguing plotline. As a child of about 8-9, I could not put them down.

Most unusual place you might find me reading:

Inside a washing basket… While playing hide and seek with my little brothers, I often find that the whole game is made rather more interesting if you are reading while playing. While I have nothing against hide and seek as a game, it never hurts to read now and then…

A book I have read that I wish more people would read:

Baby and Fly Pie by Melvin Burgess. Just. Incredible. It is a rare opportunity to find a book that has both an amazing plot, amazing characters, amazing voice and writing and the ability to keep you reading no matter what. One of the most confronting books I’ve ever read, but also one of very, very best. And the ending. Oh, the ending…

A book cover that I love:

Kit’s Wilderness is one of my all-time favourite books, and while it has many covers, there is one that is just incredible. It has aspects that you only start to notice once you’ve read, and re-read, and re-read, and re-read and re-read and so on, but just makes it all the better.

My controversial opinion about books/reading:

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman – One of the most popular books out there, but I just don’t get what all the rage is about. The plot isn’t terrible, but it doesn’t grab me. Books set in an alternate universe have never intrigued me, as one of my favourite aspects of books such as Harry Potter and Percy Jackson is the thought that it could happen to you. That feeling on your 11th birthday that Hagrid might just come and kick down your front door before inviting you to Hogwarts is certainly a good one, and Northern Lights loses that. And the writing doesn’t grab me either. For me – and I know this is not for everybody, but still – The writing just tries to be too fancy, tries too hard to use big clever words and in trying too hard it loses what makes the best writing so great – an amazing voice. A character has to speak like a person, not like a manuscript, which is, for me, what Northern Lights feels like.


julianne Centre for Youth Literature

So interesting that you're not that into Northern Lights. I re read it recently and was struck by the density of the language - I read it aloud to my kids. We then went on to read The Subtle Knife and that appealed much more because it moved between our world and the other world and involved a boy missing his dad and it all comes together. We tried the third book but it was too heavy for my kids for now. But the Subtle Knife would give the reader more of what you are talking about - that feeling of it could happen to you.

1st Aug, 18

Thank you! I'll definitely try it out.

8th Aug, 18

I can (kind of) see what you mean about the Northern Lights. I am a firm believer in never judging a book by its movie (percy Jackson anyone?) but honestly, if I don't enjoy the film, I will never go looking for its book. Every time The Golden Compass is on tv, I want to leave the room, I simply don't find it's plot interesting, and it feels kind of slow. But from what I've seen in the movie (and I don't even know faithful that is to the book) it's got everything a hit fantasy story needs, and I guess maybe that makes it 'work'.

3w ago