The 2009 CILIP Carnegie Medal was awarded posthumously to Siobhan Dowd for Bog Child (David Fickling Books) at a ceremony in London on Thursday. Dowd finished writing Bog Child in 2007, just before her death from cancer. Set in Northern Ireland in 1981 at the height of the Troubles, it tells a story of growing up against a background of sectarian violence.
“Siobhan Dowd was a writing phenomenon,” said David Fickling, who edited all of Dowd’s books. "She wrote and delivered four completely different books of the highest possible standard in less than three years, a completely unprecedented rate of production in my publishing experience. None of them needed much editing. She had the seemingly effortless empathetic ability to transport the reader into the lives of her characters. And then, wonder of wonders, she was blessed with an almost pitch-perfect sense of story structure. It hardly bears thinking about what she might have achieved if she had lived.”
Bog Child is Dowd’s third published novel, following A Swift Pure Cry, which won the Branford Boase Award for a first novel in 2006; and The London Eye Mystery, winner of the 2007 Bisto Prize. Her fourth novel, Solace of the Road, was published in the U.K. earlier this year (due out this fall from Random/Fickling in the U.S.).
Click here to see this year’s Carnegie Medal shortlist.
Catherine Rayner, with her Greenaway Medal.
At the same ceremony, CILIP’s 2009 Kate Greenaway Medal was awarded to Catherine Rayner for Harris Finds His Feet (Little Tiger Press). The story of a hare who has to learn to manage his exceptionally large feet was inspired by a real and magical encounter with a wild hare as well, in part, by Rayner’s own large feet.
Harris Finds His Feet, which was published by Good Books in the U.S., is 27-year-old Rayner’s second book. She was named Best New Illustrator at the Booktrust Early Years Awards for her first book, Augustus and His Smile. “When I was a student I heard of the Kate Greenaway, Rayner told PW. “I looked it up and thought maybe, one day.... And now that day has come. I am extremely flattered, and very excited and honored, to have won it when it is choosen by people who really know so much about books.”
Good Books has published two other picture books by Rayner: Augustus and His Smile, and Sylvia and Bird.
Click here to see this year’s Greenaway Medal shortlist.
2009 Phoenix Award
In other awards news, Rosemary Sutcliff, author of The Shining Company (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), has won the 1990/2010 Phoenix Award from the Children's Literature Association. The prize is given to the author of a book for children published originally in English that did not win a major award at the time of its publication 20 years earlier.