It has been announced that Michelle has won Britain’s most prestigious writing prize for children’s fiction, The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.

The award has been given annually since 1967, and is decided by a panel of authors and the reviews editor for The Guardian’s children’s books section.  It is similar in status to the American Newbery Medal.  She joins a distinguished line of past winners including Ted Hughes, Jacqueline Wilson, Anne Fine and Philip Pullman.

The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize was founded in 1967 and is unique in that it is judged by children’s authors themselves, and no-one can win it more than once.  This year’s panellists were Linda Buckley-Archer, Jenny Downham, and last year’s winner Mal Peet.  The judging process was shadowed by young critics, who described Ghost Hunter as “a thrilling story of love, friendship and terrifying evil” and “the perfect book for anyone who likes adventure, prehistory and survival”.

Chair of judges, Julia Eccleshare, said: “It’s relatively rare for a book late in a series to win a major prize, but the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness is such a towering achievement, as a whole as well as in terms of the individual books, that it was our unanimous choice.”