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‘As Fast as I Can’ wins Readings Children’s Book Prize 2021

Penny Tangey’s middle-grade novel As Fast as I Can (UQP) has won the 2021 Readings Children’s Book Prize.

Readings bookseller and prize judge Clare Millar writes that the judging panel were in ‘unanimous awe’ of Tangey’s fourth novel, which is ‘a beautiful story about dreams, resilience and determination’ and whose protagonist, 10-year-old Vivian, is ‘a fierce character, whose honesty and, at times, stubbornness drive the plot’.

As Fast as I Can was chosen by a panel of judges comprising Millar, Readings Kids manager Angela Crocombe, booksellers Sam Kelly and Tye Cattanach, and author and former Readings employee Emily Gale, who joined the judging panel as a guest judge to select the winner.

‘Tangey’s depiction of a primary school felt like a real and down-to-earth slice of Australian life, and I loved her deft handling of friendships and family dynamics,’ said Gale. ‘Above all, Vivian’s humour, honesty, hopefulness and grit make her a memorable and enduring character.’

As Fast as I Can was chosen from a shortlist announced in February, and Tangey receives $3000 prize money. The novel previously won the Children’s Book Award in the 2020 Queensland Literary Awards.

The Readings Children’s Book Prize was established in 2014. Matilda Woods was the winner of last year’s prize for her novel The Girl, the Cat and the Navigator (Scholastic).


Category: Awards Junior Local news