Literary competition with authors and librarians at Streatham & Clapham High School.

Literacy in Lambeth: 130 local children become book critics for a day!

Lambeth Phoenix Book Awards champion reading for children aged 9-13 across the transition years from primary to secondary school. For the second consecutive year, Streatham & Clapham High School (SCHS) played host to the awards this month, bringing together pupils from ten Lambeth schools with the opportunity to quiz, review and vote for their favourite authors.

SCHS is passionate about all pupils reaching their potential and believes that real-life memorable interactive experiences are a game-changer. The Phoenix Awards promote children to the driving seat as they short-list from a breadth of genres before crowning the winning author. Being the judges themselves unlocks myriad opportunities for pupils to experience the world afforded by reading, inspiring the next generation of writers.


 “Phoenix is a rare opportunity for the authors and the students to give and receive new knowledge that can widen their imaginations and inspire.” – Nurah, age 12, Dunraven School

“The Phoenix Awards help children understand the reasons why authors write. After participating last year too, I’ve now started to write my own book.” – Reuben, age 13, Platanos College

 “Cas Lester’s character with dyslexia makes it ok to be different.” – Helena, age 12, Lilian Baylis Technology School


Hosting the Award is part of an extensive partnership programme at the heart of Streatham & Clapham High School’s outreach activity.


Christine Belsham, SCHS Librarian, explains,: “Phoenix is one of our many community partnership programmes. As a librarian committed to promoting literacy and a love of reading for all children, when I see so many pupils from the local community having a great time together being inspired by books and reading, it makes the hard work of organising and hosting this event a pleasure!”


The Mayor of Lambeth, Ibrahim Dogus, gave the keynote address, commenting: “I hope that in 20 years’ time, I can say that I was in a room with the latest award-winning author who was inspired by Phoenix 2019 – but that they’re too cool to remember me!”