A NORTH-EAST author is hoping for a FA Cup-style giant killing after his debut picture book was shortlisted for an award.

David Crosby’s debut book, Pirates vs. Monsters, has been shortlisted for the Bishops Stortford Picture Book Award.

The 40-year-old Sunderland author and former journalist is competing against eight others including ‘The Hospital Dog’ by former Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson of ‘Room on the Broom’ and ‘The Gruffalo’ fame.

A public vote will now decide the winner. Voting is normally restricted to primary schools in Bishops Stortford but due to the pandemic they’re opening it up nationwide and inviting schools to get involved too.

Mr Crosby said: “Julia’s sold more than £10million worth of books in the UK every year for the last 10 years in a row, so you could say I’m up against it. It’s a bit like Carlisle United drawing Liverpool at Anfield in the FA Cup.

“If I was to win this it would be an historic giant-killing. But anything is possible.

“Anyone can vote and the organisers are actively inviting schools to get involved too – you just need to contact them so the children have enough time to read the shortlisted books and cast their votes before the January 22 deadline.”

‘Pirates vs. Monsters tells the story of three pirates down the pub bragging about the ingenious methods they’ve used to get the better of three fearsome monsters.

The book has had rave reviews from children’s book bloggers, with one describing it as “an absolute stonker” and another saying it left her four-year-old “in stitches”.

Mr Crosby said: “There are lots of books out there addressing serious issues but I just set out to write a funny, unconventional book with a ripping story that’ll hopefully give kids a good laugh. I think that’s important with everything that’s going on in the world at the minute.

“The illustrator, Lee Cosgrove, has done a marvellous job – creating atmospheric and eerie scenes with mist, candle-lit taverns, pompous pirates, and monsters that are fierce but child-friendly.

“I’m not sure where the idea for the story came from but when I was a boy I loved Sinbad films with Ray Harryhausen monsters and the Monkey Island games on the Amiga.

For full details of the Bishops Stortford Picture Book Award and how to vote, visit www.festivalofliterature.co.uk/picture-book-award