Library and information association CILIP has opened up nominations for the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards to other industry bodies and is introducing a ‘children’s choice’ prize, in response to the recommendations of an independently chaired diversity review.
Last year CILIP appointed Dr Margaret Casely-Hayford (pictured) to look into how books are nominated for the awards after the 2017 Carnegie longlist failed to include a single BAME author.
At the time CILIP chief executive Nick Poole said the organisation understood it had a responsibility to “deliver real change” on the issue. “As a sector, we have learnt that we need to be proactive in identifying and tearing down the barriers which prevent some people from discovering the joy of reading, of cultural participation and of seeing themselves reflected in literature,” he said. “…We know that the experience of exclusion and prejudice hurts and that we have no right to expect people to share that hurt unless we genuinely intend to deliver real change.”
An interim report from the review was published last December.
Today (27th September) the organisation has published the full report of the review carried out by Casely-Hayford, and announced a number of changes to the awards. The new mission statement for the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway will be framed as "to empower the next generation to create a better world through books and reading". The organisation will also open up the nominations process (currently only open to librarians) to external nominating bodies such as BookTrust and RNIB as well, and is launching a ‘children’s choice’ award, which will be presented by participants of the shadowing scheme.
Other plans include creating a list of eligible books by diverse authors and illustrators (to raise awareness amongst CILIP members) and providing judges with diversity training.
The report also reveals the result of a survey carried out online and in-person with stakeholders from the children’s book sector such as librarians, authors, publishers and child readers. The biggest barrier to books being nominated for the awards was awareness of the titles involved, as 19.3% of white responders to the online survey and 17.4% of BAME responders said this was a problem.
Nearly a fifth (17%) of white responders said 'nominator’s awareness of eligible titles' was a problem and 14.6% of BAME responders said ‘nominator’s bias’ was an issue.
Casely-Hayford said: “It is so important that the Awards processes recognise, and are inclusive of, a full breadth of diversity giving all young people growing up in the UK today access to the same opportunities through books and reading. Through the awards CILIP has a unique opportunity to recognise, celebrate and promote diverse talent and to encourage greater diversity within the books published for children and young people. This would create a virtuous circle, providing a broader range of role models to inspire young readers to become the writers and illustrators of the future.”
“I am immensely pleased that CILIP have taken immediate actions based on the Review recommendations, and as part of an ongoing process I anticipate they will make a real and lasting difference.”
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