Figgy and the President cover

Shortlist year: 2017

Shortlist category: Children's literature

Published by: Scholastic Australia


Funny, original story from a young, award-winning author. The sequel to NSW Premier's Literary Award winner Figgy in the World. Figgy gets a role in a movie, and her friend Nana wants to be the President. But Figgy's mama is sick and expecting a baby, and Nana's father takes him away. Suddenly, Figgy's life changes course. This is an inspiring story about resourcefulness, courage and helping others.

About the author

Tamsin Janu

Tamsin Janu

Tamsin Janu lives in Sydney. Her debut novel Figgy in the World, and its sequels Figgy and the President and Figgy Takes the City, were born from memories of her three month trip to Ghana, West Africa in 2009. Many of the locations she visited and kids she met are depicted in her novels. Her standalone junior novel Blossom, set in Australia, was released in 2017.

Tamsin won the Children's Literature Award and Premier's Award at the 2016 Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature, and was joint winner of the Patricia Wrightson Prize at the 2015 NSW Premier's Literary Awards. 

Judges’ comments

Figgy is an endearing, warm-hearted girl who lives with her grandmother and other children in a village in Ghana. Tamsin Janu introduced Figgy, and her stoic attitude towards her damaged eye, to young Australians in her debut novel, Figgy in the World. Figgy and the President can be read independently as an original and exciting narrative. This tale highlights and develops Figgy’s joyous voice, thoughts and ingenuous yet independent character. Her best friend, exuberant Nana, aspires to becoming the President of Ghana. Even though only ten years old, Figgy feels pressure to plan her own career but her path diversifies when she is given the opportunity to act in a movie, playing the role of a girl from a background like her own. Although materially poor, the characters in this community are rich in friendship, respect and love.

The children face disturbing situations and weighty issues when Figgy’s dysfunctional mother returns and Nana is stolen and sold by his father. Figgy’s strong agency to effect change, despite her childhood innocence, is shown deftly and with authority. In clear, fresh prose the author creates an authentic picture of her characters, their interaction and the colour and spirit of Ghana within an engaging, empowering and sometimes humorous storyline.