The Blagger's Guide To: The Carnegie Medal

Dyslexic winner gives Gove yet another kicking

The oldest and most prestigious children's book prize in Britain was won on Wednesday by Sally Gardner, a dyslexic writer who was written off at school as "unteachable". Her novel Maggot Moon (Hot Key Books, £6.99), a story about a dyslexic boy who stands up against the oppressive "monstrous Motherland", has won the CILIP (the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) Carnegie Medal, awarded by children's librarians for an outstanding book for children and young people. The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded for outstanding illustration in a children's book, and was won by Black Dog, illustrated by Levi Pinfold (Templar, £6.99).

In her acceptance speech, Gardner became the second high-profile children's writer in a couple of weeks to have a go at the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove. His new curriculum plan, she said, "excludes rather than embraces those like me, and millions of others, with a different way of seeing and thinking … Politicians need to get out of schools and let teachers do what they do best – teach." She added that dyslexic children are being "tested into depression and worthlessness – that's how I felt at school" and called for an end to standardised tests which "crush" rather than "nurture" imagination. Her outspokenness echoes that of Malorie Blackman, who was appointed as the new Children's Laureate earlier this month, and immediately criticised Gove for his "prescriptive" curriculum, and this Government for presiding over the closure of libraries. But hey, what would a bunch of award-winning children's writers who felt excluded from reading when they were children know, eh?

The Carnegie shortlist included A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle who, had he won, would have become only the second author to claim both the Booker and Carnegie Prizes. (Penelope Lively remains the only one.)

The Carnegie Medal was established in 1936, in memory of the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who was born in Scotland but made his fortune in steel in the USA. When he was a child, he vowed that "if ever wealth came to me that it should be used to establish free libraries", and he eventually set up 2,800 libraries all over the world. (Anyone would start to think that there was something in this idea of providing all children with free access to books.) The winner of the prize receives a gold medal and £500 worth of books to donate to any library.

The first ever winner of the Carnegie Medal was Arthur Ransome, for Pigeon Post. Since him, winners have included CS Lewis, Alan Garner, Anne Fine (see today's interview, on page 55), Terry Pratchett and Meg Rosoff. JK Rowling has never won.

Patrick Ness, who won in 2011 and 2012, was particularly impressed by the prize's shadowing scheme, which has tens of thousands of children and young people reading the shortlisted books in groups, writing reviews, and debating their favourites. He called it "one of the very best things in the entire book world". Reviews of Maggot Moon by this year's shadowing panel include: "This is a story about friendship love and courage in a terrible world"; "I absolutely loved this book and think it would make a great movie. Spielberg, I'm waiting ..."; and "Maggot Moon was the WORST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ. Not only did it have a disgusting title but the book was AWFUL. I am outraged that it won."

Arts and Entertainment
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Arts and Entertainment
U2's Songs of Innocence album sleeve

tvU2’s latest record has been accused of promoting sex between men

Arts and Entertainment
Alison Steadman in Inside No.9
tvReview: Alison Steadman stars in Inside No.9's brilliant series finale Spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk