Local debut author Leo Hunt dubbed Newcomer of the Year at Culture Awards 2016

Local author Leo Hunt was awarded Newcomer of the Year at this week's Culture Awards in Sunderland. The Culture Awards, now in their 10th year, were held in Sunderland Minster in association with See It Do It Sunderland and supported by Sunderland BID. The award ceremony aim is to celebrate and reward the breadth of talent, creativity and culture on display across the region.

Newcastle-born Leo's debut novel 13 Days of Midnight (Orchard Books) was published in 2015 and has gone on to gain fans, acclaim and award nominations; with sequels in the pipeline both in the UK and America cementing Leo's recognition world-wide.  Winning Newcomer of the Year also follows a nomination for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2016. Leo has a longstanding relationship with Seven Stories.  The Newcastle National Centre for Children's Books is delighted by the news and proud to have played a part in nurturing and inspiring local talent.

Leo Hunt has been involved with Seven Stories from the age of seven when his mother joined the team working to set up a national centre for children’s books in Newcastle. Seven Stories’ exhibitions and events made a strong impression on Leo, who began writing seriously as a teenager. He started 13 Days of Midnight when he was 19 and in his first year at the University of East Anglia. Leo wanted to write the kind of book he would have enjoyed at the age of 15, and entertained fellow students with readings during open mic nights in the Union Bar. This early feedback helped him hone his craft and a publishing deal followed in his final year.  

Leo's decision to hold the book launch for 13 Days of Midnight at Seven Stories - The National Centre for Children's Books in the July 2015 is testiment to the organisation's influence on his burgeoning career. 

In an article published in February for the Chronicle, Leo spoke to journalist David Whetstone and credited Seven Stories with firing his creativity and imagination:

Seven Stories is an amazing place,” says Leo. “I grew up around children’s books and reading. Our house was always full of books. But I also met a lot of children’s and young adult authors when I was younger. For me, they weren’t these people you never met. I met quite a lot of them, including some who were quite famous, so I suppose I always saw it as a job you could have. There is a very big connection between my upbringing and what I chose to do.”


For a full round up of the Culture Awards 2016 and list of winners - click here.

Read more:

Newcastle Writer whose inspiration was fired by Seven Stories is in the running for a prize - The Chronicle, David Whetstone, February 2016