We’re still reeling from Digital Play (the book) winning the British Council’s ELT award for innovation (the ELTons) in teacher resources, presented to us at a ceremony held in London at Tavistock House on May 23rd.
When we got there, we took part in the red carpet interviews that the British Council conducted as part of the event, and spoke to Luke Meddings, who was tirelessly interviewing all of the guests. It was a great way of building up the excitement, and Luke did a fabulous job – you can also watch all of this on the British Council’s English Agenda website, the new home of the ELTons.
Once inside, we met up with Nick (pictured with us in the photo below) from Delta, our publishers, and other friends and colleagues, sharing wine and canapés. The work from all of those short-listed was on display and the talk was of what was going to happen over the next couple of hours. There was also mention of whether any of us had been told that we’d won, and a rumour passed around that the winners would have already been informed – this was important, as I started to think that we hadn’t won because of this.
Before long, we were all asked to take our seat in the auditorium of the BMA (British Medical Association) building. This stunning building was built at the beginning of the 19th century. Charles Dickens used to live there, and wrote Bleak House, Little Dorrit and A Tale of Two Cities there.
In the auditorium, the British Council’s Michael Carrier introduced the awards, giving a background to why they were set up (ten years ago) and then he handed over to the presenter of the evening, Scott Thornbury. Scott was a brilliant host who had both presented the ELTons before and won on two previous occasions.
As the first award was presented, I realised I should have gone to the Gents beforehand. By the time a very surprised Nik Peachey had been called to the stage to collect the award for Excellence in course innovation, I’d decided that I couldn’t wait, so I got up and left the auditorium.
I was directed four floors downstairs, and by the time I got back, our award category had come and gone. As I walked back into the auditorium, Sue Lyon Jones called me over and whispered in my ear “Where were you, Graham? You won”.
I wandered back to my seat in a daze to find an equally stunned Kyle, who had gone to the stage to collect the award with Nick, but as the only thing he’d prepared was a joke about his co-writer looking like Elton John, and finding him absent, he had been lost for words for a minute or so, before he collected his composure. You can see all of this in the recording of the awards ceremony.
The rest of the awards ceremony passed me by, until I was unexpectedly called up by Scott to make the speech I’d missed. Thanks to Luke, who suggested Scott do this.
There followed more interviews, more wine and more canapés, then a trip to the pub afterwards. It was quite a celebration, and Kyle and I only found our way back to the hotel afterwards by asking a couple of people talking on a street corner near Baker Street. Strangely, it turned out they were Catalan, from Barcelona. a surreal end to a surreal experience.