A YOUNG adult thriller about a ghost infestation has won the Hampshire Book Award.
Author Jonathan Stroud has won the prize for his novel The Screaming Staircase.
Mr Stroud’s book was picked over five other shortlisted novels by Year 8 pupils from across the county.
He was awarded the prize in a ceremony at the Winchester Guildhall.
County Councillor Anna McNair-Scott said: ‘The Hampshire Book Award is hugely popular, and every year it motivates hundreds of young people to take a keener interest in books, by giving them the responsibility of judging a prestigious award.
‘Pupils were given evaluation guidelines and were asked to reflect on enjoyment, enrichment and engagement.
‘The award has shown to have had a significant impact within the schools who have taken part.’
Mr Stroud gave a presentation to hundreds of pupils gathered at the Guildhall about the writing process and what it means to become a published author.
Other books shortlisted for the prize included Captain by Sam Angus, Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper, Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan, Thirteen by Tom Hoyle and The Last Minute by Eleanor Updale.