Year 9 and 10 students from across the area came together at Weydon School’s Medici Theatre in Farnham on Thursday last week for the finale of the first Weydon Multi-Academy Trust Book Award.

The initiative saw students from Weydon and Heath End schools in Farnham, Woolmer Hill in Haslemere, and Rodborough in Milford decide on a shortlist of six books earlier this year, read them and then vote for their favourites.

The shortlisted books are listed to the right – with students voting Manjeet Mann’s The Crossing, a story of seeking refuge and philanthropy, the winner.

Weydon library manager Angela Daniels said: “The idea for the award came from a discussion about the wealth of incredible fiction that is written for young adults today and the importance of student voice.

“We felt we really wanted to give our KS4 students the opportunity to read a range of books that had been shortlisted by fellow students and to have their say in which book should win.

“We also thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to give students in Years 9 and 10 across the WMAT the opportunity to come together and discuss the shortlisted titles and this is what the voting morning was all about.

“Our shortlisting panels from each of the four schools were given a long-list of 12 titles published in paperback between September 1, 2020, and August 31, 2021, which they duly read and came up with a shortlist of six.

“The participating students from all four schools then read the books over a three-month period, meeting for group discussions led by the LRC managers from each of the schools.  Then the students voted and the winning book was The Crossing by Manjeet Mann.

“We are hoping to invite Manjeet Mann to accept her award and to meet the students in the autumn term.”

The students also took part in an inter-school quiz prior to the winner of the inaugural Weydon Multi-Academy Trust (WMAT) Book Award being announced.

Speaking to the Herald afterwards, students said the initiative had “definitely” inspired them to read more, while the winning novel had also changed the way they see the news and helped them understand the refugee journey.