Aberdeenshire children’s author shortlisted for top award

An Aberdeenshire children’s author has been shortlisted for a top literary prize.

Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens by Alex McCall, 20, from Kintore, has been has been nominated in the 8-11 year-old young readers category at the Scottish Children’s Book Awards.

Mr McCall, originally from Kittybrewster, was only 19 when the book was published, making him one of the youngest authors in Scotland.

He could receive a prize fund of £3,000 if he wins the accolade.

Mr McCall said he was “overjoyed” to be on the shortlist.

“I have always liked making stories up, I was about 14 when I first started writing,” he said.

“I just didn’t have the discipline when I was younger.

“I never expected the book to get published because it’s about robot chickens.

“I’m overjoyed to be shortlisted for this Scottish Children’s Book Award. It’s fantastic to think that my first published novel could get a response like this.”

The author also studies film-making and screen-writing at the University of the West of Scotland, in Ayr.

Mr McCall added: “I wanted to go to university and was trying to find a good course that would let me do a fair amount of writing.”

The awards are run by the Scottish Book Trust, and the winners will be voted for by children from across the country.

Jasmine Fassl, head of schools at the Scottish Book Trust said: “The Scottish Children’s Book Awards are much more than a celebration of Scottish literature – they are about expanding children’s horizons far beyond their physical boundaries and barriers.

“By simply reading just one of the shortlisted novels in their category, a five-year-old can imagine what it’s like to have rampaging robots as babysitters, a 10-year-old can hop aboard a pirate ship, and a 15-year-old can be transported into the mind of a teenager in a war zone.”

The winners will be announced on March 4, 2015.