Winning Year: 1983
Author: Jan Mark
Title: Handles

Original Publisher: Kestrel
Current Publisher:
Out of print

Bored with her holiday in the country, motorcycle buff Erica Timperley discovers an unusual motorcycle repair shop where she meets Elsie Wainwright, Bunny, Bill Birdcycle, the Greenlin and other colourful characters. By the end of her holiday Erica has discovered that even vegetables can be interesting, if you approach them in the right way, that there may be more to a name than she ever thought possible and that it is not enough to have a name - you have to have a handle too.

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Jan Mark would have been born in London during the Second World War, but the maternity hospital had been evacuated to Hertfordshire for the duration. She remained there for a full nine days, a prelude to an unsettled childhood spent moving around Southern England before moving with her husband and children to Norfolk and subsequently to Oxford. This rootlessness turned out to be a good thing as most of her books were set in places where she lived or worked, either lightly disguised or else meticulously faithful to the local geography. She died in 2006 and is survived by two children.