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Gisborne book shortlisted for Italian award

15 November 2007

For immediate release

Gisborne book shortlisted for Italian literary award

An orphaned refugee who triumphs over adversity is the focus of a Gisborne children’s book shortlisted for Italy’s Grinzane Junior Award.

Milly, Molly and Alf written by Gisborne author Gill Pittar is one of four finalists in the €5000 award to be announced next week in Turin, Italy. The award is dedicated to children’s fiction written in or translated into Italian that positively promotes multiculturalism. The winner is decided by a popular vote of Italian schoolchildren after writers and literary critics make a shortlist of four.

Gill Pittar, who is being flown to Turin by the Grinzane Foundation, says Alf is one of the most popular characters in her 64-book series read by millions of children throughout the world.

“The Chinese love Alf, our man in England calls him his favourite and a little boy in Hong Kong wrote the sweetest letter asking for another story about him. Alf touches people’s hearts somehow. Alf has lost all his family bar his grandmother. His maturity and humility wins the love and respect of his more advantaged classmates.”

EDT bought the Italian language rights to the Milly, Molly book series in 2004. It launched with eight titles and printed a further 20 in the following three years.

“The multicultural nature of the Milly, Molly books appeals in Italy. The books are popular and widely available. EDT is delighted with the recognition given to Milly, Molly and Alf. They view the nomination as a reflection of the quality of the series and their positive contribution to children's growth of character.“

The Milly, Molly series was launched at the 2001 Frankfurt Book Fair. The title characters – one fair, one dark – tackle issues such as sexual abuse, violence and respect and espouse themes of honesty, responsibility, consideration and coping with grief.

Written for children between four and eight years, the books are sold to 109 countries and published in 30 languages.

A television series produced by an international consortium including Milly Molly Group Holdings was launched at Cannes in 2006. The 13 half-hour episodes currently in production have already been bought by TVNZ and major networks in Australia, Canada, Portugal, Norway, Hong Kong, Finland, Israel and France. Many other networks are competing for the series in other countries. Such is the sales success, plans for a second series of 13 episodes have just been completed.


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