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East Ham campaigner's book about refugees shortlisted in Waterstones Children's book prize

PUBLISHED: 09:08 14 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:14 14 February 2019

Onjali Rauf. Picture: REHAN JAMIL

Onjali Rauf. Picture: REHAN JAMIL

© Rehan Jamil

A women's rights campaigner's novel about refugees has been shortlisted for a children's book award.

The front cover of The Boy at the Back of the Class. Picture: PIPPA CURNICK 2018The front cover of The Boy at the Back of the Class. Picture: PIPPA CURNICK 2018

East Ham based Onjali Q Rauf’s story The Boy at the Back of the Class could scoop a gong in the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize which revealed its shortlist today (Thursday, February 7).

The book gives a child’s view on the refugee crisis and highlights the importance of friendship and kindness. It has been shortlisted in the younger fiction category.

Onjali, 37, said: “I am bowled over at being shortlisted for this prize – to the point where I still can’t quite

believe it.

“It’s a dream I didn’t dare to dream could come true.”

The founder of the organisation Making Herstory which campaigns to end the abuse, trafficking and enslavement of women and girls thanked everyone who believed the book worthy of an honour.

In its fifteenth year the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize rewards emerging talent in books.

This year’s winners will be announced at a reception at Waterstones Piccadilly store on March 21.

The winner in each category receives £2,000, with the overall winner receiving an extra £3,000.

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