Sarah McIntyre has called into question the division between authors and illustrators in children’s books, after Oliver and the Seawigs was nominated for the 2015 CILIP Carnegie Award with Philip Reeve listed as the only author.
In the nomination, announced yesterday (20th October), Reeve, who provided the words for the book, is listed as the author of Oliver and the Seawigs (OUP Children’s Books), but McIntyre, who co-created and illustrated the book, is not mentioned.
“I don’t want to scupper Philip’s chances (of winning) by complaining, he’s one of the best authors in Britain, but because the book has a lot of illustrations it has a shorter text; the world is built by the pictures as well as the words,” she told The Bookseller.
When working on Oliver and the Seawigs, Reeve was the writer but they were both co-authors, McIntyre said.
Cat Cooper, communications and campaigns manager at CILIP, said a book has to have a single author to be eligible for the Carnegie award, and that Philip Reeve was listed as the single author by the publisher.
She said: “We checked their nominations on Nielsen and Philip is listed as author and Sarah is listed as illustrator. We’re trying to clarify the situation at the moment.”
To avoid future problems, McIntyre said the organisers could open the award up to books attributed to co-authors.
There is also “definitely room” for a third award for books that fall into that middle-grade category, as the CILIP Kate Greenaway award tends to go to picture books and the Carnegie is often given to books for older readers, McIntyre said.
“Usually it’s the longer books that appeal to adult readers that win. The longer books have more space to build worlds using text alone – we deliberately used fewer words to have more space for the pictures. The illustrations are an integral part of the book.”
On a blog posted last night , McIntyre said her publisher and agent are asking if the book should be withdrawn from the nominations but said she is tempted to leave it in to “give the awards process a chance”.
“I think the inclusion of the book allows us to talk more about these issues,” she said.
The announcement came only days after McIntyre wrote a blog entitled ‘Why I hate the word ‘author’’.
In the blog she wrote: “When I do 'Author's Visits' to schools, teachers will introduce me as an 'author', explain to the children that this means I write books. Then I have to explain to the kids that I write a little bit but, actually, I mostly draw for a living. It's confusing! Yes, I AM an author! And I would still be an author even if I never wrote a word.”
CILIP released 91 nominations for the Carnegie yesterday (20th October), with last year’s winner Kevin Brooks in the running once more for The Ultimate Truth: Travis Delaney Investigates (Macmillan Children's Books). Also nominated were established authors such as Neil Gaiman (Fortunately, the Milk, Bloomsbury) and Sally Gardner (Tinder, Orion Children’s Books), and debut writers like Non Pratt (Trouble, Walker Books).