This year, as part of Litfest 2023, Lancaster and District schools were encouraged to take part in the Big Read, the festival’s campaign to promote the pleasure of reading. Young readers who signed up and submitted a review of their book stood the chance of winning their school £250 worth of books.

Students from Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School (LGGS) were quick to rise to the challenge by reading the 11-15 title Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy. This title was winner of the Lancashire Book of the Year 2022, as voted for by more than 200 young readers.

Reviews submitted by students were sent to Cynthia for judging, and the winner was (drum roll….) Izzy Wooldridge, year 8 LGGS student.

Cynthia said of Izzy’s review “It gave a good mixture of high points and criticism and, overall, left the reader wanting to know more about the book.”

Miss Brown, LGGS Librarian, said “We’re always looking for ways to hook students in to reading. Thriller is the number 1 genre in this library and we are keen to promote local authors.”

Izzy, a self-confessed big reader, was shocked to hear that she had the winning review, “it’s a big competition but I thought I would give it a try. I had already seen the book and found the crime and drama concept really interesting. The book was really appealing and age appropriate so I would encourage others to read it.”

Izzy, who is Reading Ambassador at LGGS, never tires of reading: “It develops your vocabulary, and it immerses you in a different world through characters and plot.”

In addition to the £250 worth books that Izzy has won for the school, Izzy herself has won three titles of her choosing. Well done Izzy!

Winning reviewer Izzy Wooldridge (left) with Miss Brown (right), Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School Librarian. © Lisa Keys