For the last couple of years I’ve worked with a group of 3rd year English pupils on the Catalyst longlist. So far this year, they have researched and nominated possible titles for the longlist, analysed titles and covers and shared their first thoughts on the list.

What we haven’t had are the books themselves.

Well, today I hefted the cardboard box and entered the classsroom with great ceremony. Even though I wanted to make a special entrance, I was surprised and gratified when all the pupils cheered! Not often a box of books gets that sort of welcome.

I’ve purchased enough for everyone to be reading, but of course, that doesn’t allow for everyone necessarily getting their first choices, so there’s a fair bit of jostling and argument as everyone tries to lay their hands on the particular book they’ve been patiently waiting for.

Hopefully, everything will match up to some rather high expectations.