Shaun Tan has been announced the winner of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for his book Tales from the Inner City, while Anthony McGowan scoops the CILIP Carnegie Medal for Lark.
As always, the winning books were chosen by Youth Librarians and over 160 books were submitted for the awards, recognised as the UK’s most prestigious children’s literary awards. The winners each receive £500 worth of books to donate to a library of their choice, a specially commissioned golden medal and a £5,000 Colin Mears Award cash prize.
Neither McGowan or Tan have before, though Anthony McGowan has previously been longlisted and shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal with three out of the four books in this novella series Truth of Things (Brock, Pike and Rook).
Australian author and illustrator Tan, who is of Australian, Chinese and Malay heritage, is the first illustrator of colour to win the Kate Greenaway Medal.
This is the 12th win for his publisher Walker Books, but the first for McGowan’s publisher Barrington Stoke.
Anthony McGowan said: ‘Every writer for young people dreams of winning the Carnegie Medal. Its incredible history, the rollcall of the great writers who have won it and the rigour of the selection process, makes this the greatest book prize in the world. It is also a magnificent way of connecting with readers. The hundreds of shadowing groups in schools and libraries around the country provide that one thing that writers cannot do without: a living, arguing, debating, biscuit-munching population of brilliant readers.
Shaun Tan said: ‘I am surprised, delighted and then deeply honoured – what a wonderful thing to be! I am especially thrilled to receive the Kate Greenaway Medal in the fine company of so many brilliant artists and authors, many of whom inspired my own love of illustrated stories as a young West Australian scribbler.’
Jake Hope interviews Shaun Tan about his win here.
Julia Hale, Chair, CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals judging panel, commented: ‘During challenging times, librarians believe books for children and young people are more important than ever. The best books provide adventure, solace, inspiration, comfort, escape, rich experiences and sheer enjoyment; they are a port in a storm, a reflective mirror and an entry to new worlds. In an unprecedented year for all of us, we are delighted to reveal the two extraordinary winners of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals that highlight our connection and co-dependency with the natural world.’
She added: ‘Lark was admired for its clear, simple storytelling; combining authentic characters and realistic situations in pared down prose with blunt humour, genuine tension and moments of pure poetry as fleeting and transcendent as birdsong. It is incredible that such a rich reading experience is in no way impeded by its short and accessible form, indeed it is a strength. The book leaves the reader with hope for the future; that through the bonds of love from friends and family things can and will get better.’
She described Tales from the Inner City as ‘a masterwork of illustration that generates an outstanding experience for the reader’, adding: ‘Never have the bonds between us and the beautiful creatures we share the earth with been so exquisitely rendered with such prescience. The judging panel were moved, amused and astonished by the artistry and imagination of a stunning book that should be widely shared and celebrated.’
CILIP will celebrate the conclusion of the Shadowing Scheme by announcing the winners of the Shadowers’ Choice Award – voted for and awarded by the children and young people who shadow the Medals – on 9th October 2020, during National Libraries Week.
The shortlists in full:
CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal
The Iron Man illustrated by Chris Mould and written by Ted Hughes (Faber & Faber)
The Suitcase written and illustrated by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros (Nosy Crow)
The Undefeated illustrated by Kadir Nelson and written by Kwame Alexander (Andersen Press)
The Dam illustrated by Levi Pinfold and written by David Almond (Walker Books)
Mary and Frankenstein illustrated by Júlia Sardà and written by Linda Bailey (Andersen Press)
Tales from the Inner City written and illustrated by Shaun Tan (Walker Books)
Child of St Kilda written and illustrated by Beth Waters (Child’s Play)
CILIP Carnegie Medal:
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta, illustrated by Anshika Khullar (Hachette Children’s Group)
Nowhere on Earth by Nick Lake (Hachette Children’s Group)
Lark by Anthony McGowan (Barrington Stoke)
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay (Little Tiger)
Lampie written and illustrated by Annet Schaap and translated by Laura Watkinson (Pushkin Children’s Books)
Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black by Marcus Sedgwick and Julian Sedgwick, illustrated by Alexis Deacon (Walker Books)
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas (Walker Books)
Girl. Boy. Sea. by Chris Vick (Head of Zeus)