Geraldine McCaughrean and Sydney Smith have won the 2018 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals respectively, with Amnesty honours going to Angie Thomas and Levi Pinfold.
British author McCaughrean was given the Carnegie Medal for Where the World Ends (Usborne). Inspired by a true story, the novel is about a group of boys from St Kilda, Scotland, who find themselves stranded on a sea stac when the boat that was meant to come and pick them up never arrives.
McCaughrean first won the Carnegie 30 years ago for A Pack of Lies (OUP) and said: “When I won the Carnegie 30 years ago, it felt like a licence to go on writing – to call myself an author. I am almost ashamed of how much I wanted to win again – just to prove to myself that it wasn’t a fluke.”
Canadian illustrator Sydney Smith was given the Kate Greenaway medal for the first time for his artwork in Joanne Schwartz’s Town Is by the Sea (Walker Books). The picture book depicts a day in the life of a boy in a coal mining town in the 1950s and is set in Nova Scotia, where Smith grew up.
“It is a dream come true to see my work, crafted from my heart, for family and my home to be honoured by the highest of praises,” said Smith. “There is no better feeling than to be recognised for something that was created with sincerity and joy.”
McCaughrean and Smith each received £500 worth of books to donate to a library of their choice, a specifically commissioned golden medal and a £5,000 cash prize from the Colin Mears Award.
Geraldine McCaughren and Sydney Smith (© Katariina Jarvinen)
Jake Hope, chair of the judging panel, said 2018 was an “exceptional” year for entries and that any of the books on the shortlist would have been solid winners.
“Where the World Ends is outstanding and a hugely deserving winner of the Carnegie Medal. Each of the characters caught on Warrior’s Stac has their own tale and the tension built through the predicament they find themselves ensnared in – quite literally caught on a precipice – is palpable. Like a diamond, this is a story with an impressive array of sides and surfaces, each reflecting and refracting experience and understanding in ways that judges feel will stay with readers for a lifetime.
“Sydney Smith’s Town Is by the Sea skillfully balances an intimate story of a child's world of play and wonder alongside a bigger story of a whole community and culture built around mining. Its illustrations are impressive and expansive in scope and beautifully evoke both time and place.”
Amnesty CILIP Honour commendations are given each year to two books - one from the Carnegie shortlist and one from the Kate Greenaway shortlist - that empower children to stand up for their beliefs. This year the commendations went to the Carnegie-shortlisted Angie Thomas forThe Hate U Give (Walker Books) and Levi Pinfold for his black and white illustrations in The Song from Somewhere Else by A F Harrold (Bloomsbury).
In 2017, CILIP announced an independent review into how diversity, inclusion and representation can be championed and embedded into the work of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medals. Chaired by Margaret Casely-Hayford, the review is in the final stages of consultation and will be published in September.
Full interviews with McCaughrean and Smith will be published in The Bookseller magazine on Friday 22nd June.