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East Ham author wins children's book prize

PUBLISHED: 10:00 24 March 2019

Onjali Q Rauf with her trophies for winning the Waterstones children's book prize 2019. Picture: Waterstones

Onjali Q Rauf with her trophies for winning the Waterstones children's book prize 2019. Picture: Waterstones

Waterstones

An East Ham author's debut novel about a refugee boy has won a national book prize.

Onjali Q Rauf’s story, The Boy at the Back of the Class, was named the overall winner of the Waterstones children’s book prize 2019.

The ceremony, held at the bookshop’s Piccadilly store, saw Onjali’s story selected as the best book in the younger fiction category, as well as scooping the overall prize.

The book centres around Ahmet, a new boy in school who has fled Syria and been separated from his family, and the children who try to befriend him.

It was inspired by Onjali’s time working in refugee camps in her role as CEO of human rights organisation Making Herstory.

Waterstones managing director James Daunt, called the book a “future classic”, adding: “It is a book that is funny, generous and vivid. It is a joy to read, and we recommend it unreservedly.”

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