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Folkestone author Manjeet Mann wins Costa Children's Book Award for 'The Crossing'


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A Kent author has won a prestigious award for a book set in the county.

Folkestone writer Manjeet Mann has won the Costa Children's Book Award for her novel 'The Crossing'.

Folkestone author Manjeet Mann has won an award for her latest novel (54078371)
Folkestone author Manjeet Mann has won an award for her latest novel (54078371)
Manjeet Mann's new novel 'The Crossing' was inspired by her home town of Dover
Manjeet Mann's new novel 'The Crossing' was inspired by her home town of Dover

The story, Ms Mann's second book, is set in Dover and tells the story of two teenagers from opposite worlds centered around Channel crossings.

Written in verse, it follows Natalie, a Dover resident who has just lost her mum, and Sammy, who has left his home and family in Eritrea for the chance of a new life in Europe.

Speaking to KentOnline, Ms Mann said she was "in disbelief" at the award and that she had found inspiration from her home town.

"I still can't quite believe it. I keep smiling – it's something that I really didn't see happening," she added.

"The inspiration was really moving down to the Kent coast. I sat on the idea for around seven years but I just knew there was a story there [with the Channel crossings].

'I just want people to see that there is more that unites us than divides us.'

"I think we feel the news more there than perhaps in other areas, and seeing the town that I'm living in changing through gentrification, all these stories were bubbling away and I think they made up the fabric of the town. I just get inspired by what's around me."

Having moved to Kent from Walsall seven years ago, Ms Manjeet was selected for the WriteNow programme at Penguin Random House, producing her debut novel 'Run, Rebel' during the programme.

The book went on to be shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and won the Carnegie Shadower’s Choice Award, the Diverse Book Award, the UKLA Book Award and the Sheffield Children’s Book Award. It was also a Guardian Best Book of 2020.

Ms Mann has also founded Run the World, an organisation that works with women and girls from marginalised backgrounds in Birmingham and Folkestone and helps to empower them through sport and storytelling.

"I think my main hope and message has always been one of empathy, that was the reason I decided to write 'The Crossing'," she explained.

"I just want people to take that away and see that there is more that unites us than divides us."

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