The winners of the 2015 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals were announced at a ceremony in the British Library in London on Monday, June 22.
Tanya Landman was awarded the CILIP Carnegie Medal for Buffalo Soldier (Walker Books), and William Grill was awarded the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for his debut picture book, Shackleton’s Journey (Flying Eye). Each winner received a medal and £500 of books to donate to their local library. In addition, Grill received the Colin Mears Award of £5,000.
Both of the winning titles are inspired by historical events that have been vividly retold to bring them to a new generation. Landman based Buffalo Soldier on the true story of Charlotte Williams, a former slave who enlisted as a man into the U.S. army and served for three years without being detected. In Shackleton’s Journey, Grill recreated the explorer’s desperate trek across Antarctica in simple but effective pencil drawings.
Landman, whose previous titles include I Am Apache and The Goldsmith’s Daughter, both published in the U.S. by Candlewick, told PW that she was inspired to write Buffalo Soldier by her love of westerns and Gone with the Wind. “The Buffalo Soldiers were the missing piece that made sense of the whole picture, but somehow that bit had got lost down the back of history’s sofa,” she said. “I’m thrilled that the CILIP Carnegie Medal judges thought the story was as important as I did. Winning the Carnegie Medal is the kind of thing you daydream about. It’s absolutely amazing.”
Though Candlewick has not announced plans to publish Buffalo Soldier in the U.S., it has Landman's next book, Hell or High Water, scheduled for fall 2016.
By winning the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal at just 25, Grill becomes the youngest winner since 1960. “I never imagined finding myself here this early on.” Grill told PW. “I'm always critical of my own work so it's encouraging to know people have enjoyed it. I think we generally think of picture book makers being middle-aged or older too, so I'm really pleased to see younger names are being commended.”