Charlton author Andrew Donkin up against Marcus Rashford for Waterstones book prize

Andrew Donkin is up for the award with co-author Tracey Turner and illustrator Libby VanderPloeg

Charlton-based author Andrew Donkin is up for a prestigious book award – but he faces stiff competition from Marcus Rashford and Sir Paul McCartney.

A History of the World in 25 Cities – written by Donkin and Tracey Turner, illustrated by Libby VanderPloeg and produced with curators at the British Museum, is on the shortlist for the Waterstones Book of the Year award.

Aimed at all ages, it takes readers on a tour of the globe, taking them to every continent on Earth, from the walled city of Jericho built over 10,000 years ago, to the modern-day metropolis of Tokyo.

Donkin said he and Turner were “delighted” to be up for the award. The shortlist also includes McCartney’s The Lyrics and Rashford’s You Are A Champion, while previous winners include Sally Rooney for Normal People and Greta Thunberg’s No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference.

Cover of History of the World in 25 Cities

He added: “This book has been a labour of love for us both, brought to fruition working with the wonderful curators at the British Museum and Libby. It’s a joy to see it flying off bookshop shelves and being enjoyed by young and old readers alike.

“I love a detailed map to pore over, and what better than 25 beautiful maps packed with facts that plot the development of human civilisation from the very first city, Jerico, through Rome, Athens, Venice, Paris, New York and of course our own London. It’s a book for everyone from 11 to 99.”

Readers can take a trip around the world thanks to Libby VanderPloeg’s illustrations

Asked about the shortlist, he joked: “The shortlist is amazing. It’s slightly surreal to suddenly find yourself up against other full time professional authors like Marcus Rashford and Paul McCartney.”

Three years ago, Donkin was in the spotlight for his award-winning children’s book Illegal, about a boy’s epic journey to Europe. He recently teamed up with his Illegal co-author Eoin Colfer to launch a podcast, Double Booked.

He said: “Children’s books account for 30 per cent of money taken in bookshops, but get around 5 per cent of feature and review space in newspapers and magazines. Double Booked is a chatty, family-friendly podcast for anyone who likes children’s books, graphic novels, books, bookshops, libraries, librarians, second0hand bookshops or second-hand librarians.”

A History of the World in 25 Cities is available at Waterstones in Blackheath and Greenwich, and also via The Hive to pick up at Ottie and the Bea in Blackheath.

The Double Booked podcast is on Apple, Spotify and Acast.


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