Lisa Penman is the CKG Judge for YLG Scotland.
I was thrilled when I found out I was chosen as the judge to represent Scotland and have found it to be one of the hardest, but most rewarding experiences of my career. It’s also been a great learning experience, as it’s so different reading as a judge instead of reading for pleasure, to assess the work against the set criteria and not just get lost in the story.
It felt like Christmas had come early every time I got a delivery of books. Each bookcase was spilling over and my dining room table was taken over by the piles of books I was working on for months, but I absolutely loved it. I’ve happily been able to donate the books I received to the libraries throughout Fife.
I must admit it was daunting to have the pressure of reading all the nominated titles in time and do them justice. It was a mammoth task, but also a fantastic excuse to curl up and read some amazing books I wouldn’t normally have come across or chosen to read otherwise.
There were a few days over the Christmas holidays where it felt like I was moving from one heart-breakingly sad book to another and I often wondered what my two boys were thinking when they would walk in the room and I was crying over a book again. Although, they did enjoy many of the books themselves – a perk of having a judge in the family!
Even the cat was getting in on the reading action.
The quality of the books has been very high and I feel very proud of the long and short lists we’ve created. I’m so excited for the winner’s ceremony!
Even though I’m still in my first year as a judge I realise this is an experience I’ll cherish forever and that I’ll continue to follow the medals closely, long after my judging period is over.