Pupils from Yateley School were in London to see their favourite author receive the Carnegie Prize for the best children's fiction of the year.

No, it was not JK Rowling, but Terry Pratchett, who won for his book "The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents."

The pupils were among 20,000 who took part in the judging by reading the short-listed books and deciding which was best. Yateley was one of only three schools invited to the awards ceremony.

Terry Pratchett fired off a few volleys at "Lord of the Rings" and other books in the fantasy genre and said his book was about the "fantasy of justice" which was "more interesting than the fantasy of fairies and more truly fantastic."

Fantasy was more than just wizards and silly wands, he said.

"Far more beguiling than the idea that evil can be destroyed by throwing a piece of expensive jewellery into a volcano is the possibility that evil can be defused by talking," he said.

His book has been cited as a fable of global politics. His Discworld series of novels have dealt with the nature of belief, politics and journalistic freedom, he said, "but put in one lousy dragon and they call you a fantasy writer."

"The Amazing Maurice" is published by Doubleday.