The winners of the 2013 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals were announced on Wednesday at a ceremony at the Natural History Museum in London. The U.K.’s most prestigious prizes for children’s books were won by Sally Gardner for Maggot Moon (Hot Key Books) and Levi Pinfold for Black Dog (Templar), respectively. The winners join a distinguished roll call of authors and illustrators dating back to 1936 for the Carnegie Medal, and 1955 for the Kate Greenaway Medal, including such authors as Arthur Ransome, C.S. Lewis, Philip Pullman and Patrick Ness, and such illustrators as Edward Ardizzone, Quentin Blake, John Burningham, Anthony Browne and Emily Gravett. Each winner will receive £500 worth of books to donate to their local library as well as the coveted gold medals. Since 2000, the winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal has also been awarded the £5,000 Colin Mears Award cash prize. Both books are published in the U.S. by Candlewick Press.

It was a first Carnegie/Greenaway for both winners, although both have collected other awards for these titles. Maggot Moon, a bleak, dystopian story that tells of one boy’s fight against an authoritarian regime, won the 2012 Costa Children’s Book Award in the U.K. while Black Dog, described by the Kate Greenaway judges as “a visual treat, full of mood and atmosphere… a timeless, thought-provoking book,” recently won a Picture Book Honor in the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards in the U.S.

Gardner, author or illustrator of almost 30 books, described to PW how hearing the news of winning the medal was “the biggest moment of my professional life.” The win, she said, reflects the long journey that a professional writer may take on the way to success. “I’ve written many books and I know I will write many more,” she added. “That makes me feel more secure. But after all this time, I only now feel I am glimpsing what you can do with words and stories.”

Maggot Moon was a different kind of book for Gardner and she changed publishers to find the right place for it. “Writing is like being a javelin thrower – you just have to keep on throwing and you can’t be sure precisely where it will come down,” she added. “This book is the most violent I have written and it includes swearing. I wrote it out of contract and I didn’t want any words to change. I was lucky that Sarah Odedina understood it lock, stock and all smoking barrels.”

Odedina, managing director of Hot Key Books, who published Maggot Moon as the third title on the inaugural Hot Key list, said, “Maggot Moon is an exceptional and original book and one I am immensely proud that we have published. For it to win the Carnegie Medal is a truly fabulous achievement that we could only have dreamt of when planning to open a new publishing house.”

Levi Pinfold, who took the Kate Greenaway Medal with only his second book, enumerated the title’s success and his delight at receiving the U.K.’s most prestigious award for illustration. “Starred reviews in Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly were more than I could have hoped for, for Black Dog in North America,” he told PW. “To add to these the news that Black Dog is a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor winner is phenomenal. And now, on top of that, the Greenaway Medal makes this an overwhelmingly brilliant moment in my life.”

“Levi Pinfold’s stunning picture book Black Dog, with its theme of conquering fear, has a resonance with readers worldwide,” said Mike McGrath, managing director of Templar Publishing. “Templar prides itself in promoting new talent as demonstrated in its continuing support of Levi, and also congratulates Candlewick on the fantastic job it has done with Black Dog in the U.S.”

This year’s medals provided a double triumph for the Bonnier Publishing Group, which is the first publisher in almost 50 years to take both medals with different books in the same year. Last year Walker Books won both medals for one book: Patrick Ness taking the Carnegie Medal for A Monster Calls and Jim Kay the Kate Greenaway Medal for the same title.