Carnegie Medal (literary award)

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The Carnegie Medal is a British literary award that annually recognizes one outstanding new book for children or young adults. It is conferred upon the author by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP).[1] CILIP calls it "the UK's oldest and most prestigious book award for children's writing" and claims that writers call it "the one they want to win".[2]

The Medal is named after the Scottish-born American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919), who founded more than 2800 libraries in the English-speaking world, including at least one in more than half of British library authorities.[1] It was established in 1935 by the British Library Association (LA or LAUK) partly to celebrate the centenary of Carnegie's birth[3] and inaugurated in 1937 by the award to Arthur Ransome for Pigeon Post (Jonathan Cape, 1936) and the identification of two Commended books. (There are, or have been, highly recommended, commended and honour books at least so recently as 2002.)[3] That first Medal was dated 1936; only since 2007 it is dated by its presentation, which is now one or two years after publication.[4]

Since 1956, the Carnegie Medal has been a companion to the Kate Greenaway Medal, which recognises "distinguished illustration in a book for children".[5] Both awards were established by the Library Association (1877–2002) and administered by the LA until it was succeeded by CILIP.[3]

Nominated books must be written in English and first published in the UK during the preceding school year (September to August).[6] Until 1969 the award was limited to books by British authors first published in England.[7] The first non-British medalist was Ivan Southall of Australia in 1972, for Josh. The original rules also prohibited winning authors from future consideration.[7][page needed] The first author to win a second Carnegie Medal was Peter Dickinson in 1981, who won consecutively for Tulku and City of Gold. There were six repeat winners to 1992 and Patrick Ness became the seventh by winning in 2011 and 2012.[8]

The award by CILIP is a gold Medal and £500 worth of books donated to the winner's chosen library.[1]

Latest rendition[edit]

Geraldine McCaughrean won the 2018 Carnegie Medal for Where the World Ends, a historical novel based on a true story, about boys stranded on a sea stack in the St Kilda archipelago.[9] She previously won the medal in 1988 for A Pack of Lies.

There were eight books on the 2018 shortlist, each published September 2016 to August 2017. The official website provides bibliographic data, front cover images, capsules, annotations for the public by the judging panel.[10] The other books were:

Recommended ages have ranged from 8+ to 14+ for books on the shortlist since 2001.

The only other previous winner of the Carnegie Medal on the shortlist was Patrick Ness, who won in 2011 and 2012.


CILIP members nominate books in September and October, after the close of the publication year.[11] Valid nominations are announced in the fall and students from many schools read nominated books and send comments to the panel.[12] The judges are 12 children's librarians in CILIP's Youth Libraries Group (YLG). Currently the shortlist is announced in March and the winner in June, 10 to 21 months after first U.K. publication.[11]

Candidates must be single-author English-language works published in the U.K. during the preceding year (September to August). They must be published for young people, and published in the U.K. originally or within three months in case of co-publication. At least 75% of the content must be originally published during the specified year.[6]

"All categories of books for children and young people are eligible."[6]

CILIP specifies numerous points of plot, characterisation, and style that should be considered "where applicable". Furthermore, "the book that wins the Carnegie Medal should be a book of outstanding literary quality. The whole work should provide pleasure, not merely from the surface enjoyment of a good read, but also the deeper subconscious satisfaction of having gone through a vicarious, but at the time of reading, a real experience that is retained afterwards."[6]


Up to 2018 there have been 79 Medals awarded in 82 years, covering 1936 to 2017 publications approximately. No eligible book published in 1943, 1945, or 1966 was considered suitable.[4]

From 2007 the medals are dated by the year of presentation. Previously they were dated by the calendar year of their British publication, which then defined the eligible works.[4]

Forty winning books were illustrated in their first editions, including every one during the first three decades. Six from 1936 to 1953 were illustrated or co-illustrated by their authors; none since then. (These notes do not count a single map or diagram.)

Carnegie Medal winners[4][13]
Year Author Title Publisher
2018 Geraldine McCaughrean
illustrated by Jane Milloy
Where the World Ends Usborne Publishing
2017 Ruta Sepetys Salt to the Sea Penguin Books
2016 Sarah Crossan One Bloomsbury Children's
2015 Tanya Landman Buffalo Soldier Walker Books
2014 Kevin Brooks The Bunker Diary Penguin Books
2013 Sally Gardner Maggot Moon Hot Key Books
2012 Patrick Ness
illustrated by Jim Kay
A Monster Calls Walker Books
2011 Patrick Ness Monsters of Men Walker Books
2010 Neil Gaiman
two illustrators[a]
The Graveyard Book Bloomsbury
2009 Siobhan Dowd Bog Child David Fickling
2008 Philip Reeve Here Lies Arthur Scholastic
2007 Meg Rosoff Just in Case Penguin
2006  The award date is the year of publication before 2006, the year of presentation after 2006.
2005 Mal Peet Tamar Walker Books
2004 Frank Cottrell Boyce Millions Macmillan
2003 * Jennifer Donnelly A Gathering Light Bloomsbury
2002 Sharon Creech Ruby Holler Bloomsbury
2001 Terry Pratchett The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents Doubleday
2000 Beverley Naidoo The Other Side of Truth Puffin
1999 Aidan Chambers Postcards from No Man's Land Bodley Head
1998 * David Almond
illus. Adam Fisher
Skellig Hodder & Stoughton
1997 Tim Bowler River Boy Oxford
1996 * Melvin Burgess Junk Andersen Press
1995 * Philip Pullman Northern Lights Scholastic
1994 Theresa Breslin Whispers in the Graveyard Methuen
1993 Robert Swindells Stone Cold H Hamilton
1992 Anne Fine Flour Babies H Hamilton
1991 Berlie Doherty Dear Nobody H Hamilton
1990 Gillian Cross Wolf Oxford
1989 Anne Fine Goggle-Eyes H Hamilton
1988 Geraldine McCaughrean A Pack of Lies Oxford
1987 Susan Price The Ghost Drum Faber
1986 Berlie Doherty Granny Was a Buffer Girl Methuen
1985 * Kevin Crossley-Holland
illus. Alan Marks
Storm Heinemann
1984 Margaret Mahy The Changeover J.M. Dent
1983 Jan Mark
Handles Kestrel
1982 Margaret Mahy The Haunting J.M. Dent
1981 Robert Westall The Scarecrows Chatto & Windus
1980 Peter Dickinson
illus. Michael Foreman
City of Gold and other stories from the Old Testament  Gollancz
1979 Peter Dickinson Tulku Gollancz
1978 David Rees The Exeter Blitz H Hamilton
1977 Gene Kemp
The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler Faber
1976 Jan Mark
Thunder and Lightnings Kestrel
1975 * Robert Westall The Machine Gunners Macmillan
1974 Mollie Hunter The Stronghold H Hamilton
1973 Penelope Lively
The Ghost of Thomas Kempe Heinemann
1972 Richard Adams Watership Down Rex Collings
1971 Ivan Southall Josh Angus & Robertson
1970 Leon Garfield and Edward Blishen 
illustrated by Charles Keeping
The God Beneath the Sea Longman
1969 K. M. Peyton
The Edge of the Cloud Oxford
1968 Rosemary Harris The Moon in the Cloud Faber
1967 * Alan Garner The Owl Service Collins
1966  — Prize withheld as no book considered suitable[b]
1965 Philip Turner
The Grange at High Force Oxford
1964 Sheena Porter
Nordy Bank Oxford
1963 Hester Burton
Time of Trial Oxford
1962 Pauline Clarke
The Twelve and the Genii Faber
1961 Lucy M. Boston
A Stranger at Green Knowe Faber
1960 Ian Wolfran Cornwall
illus. Marjorie Maitland Howard
The Making of Man Phoenix House
1959 Rosemary Sutcliff
The Lantern Bearers Oxford
1958 * Philippa Pearce
Tom's Midnight Garden Oxford
1957 William Mayne
A Grass Rope Oxford
1956 C. S. Lewis
The Last Battle Bodley Head
1955 Eleanor Farjeon
The Little Bookroom Oxford
1954 Ronald Welch (Felton Ronald Oliver)
Knight Crusader Oxford
1953 Edward Osmond
illus. by the author[c]
A Valley Grows Up Oxford
1952 * Mary Norton
The Borrowers J.M. Dent
1951 Cynthia Harnett
illus. by the author[c]
The Wool-Pack Methuen
1950 Elfrida Vipont
The Lark on the Wing Oxford
1949 Agnes Allen
illus. Agnes and Jack Allen[c]
The Story of Your Home Faber
1948 Richard Armstrong
Sea Change J.M. Dent
1947 Walter de la Mare
Collected Stories for Children Faber
1946 Elizabeth Goudge
The Little White Horse University of London
1945  — Prize withheld as no book considered suitable
1944 Eric Linklater
The Wind on the Moon Macmillan
1943  — Prize withheld as no book considered suitable
1942 BB (D. J. Watkins-Pitchford)
illus. by the author[c]
The Little Grey Men Eyre & Spottiswoode 
1941 Mary Treadgold
We Couldn't Leave Dinah Jonathan Cape
1940 Kitty Barne
Visitors from London J.M. Dent
1939 Eleanor Doorly
The Radium Woman Heinemann
1938 Noel Streatfeild
The Circus Is Coming J.M. Dent
1937 * Eve Garnett
illus. by the author[c]
The Family from One End Street Frederick Muller
1936 Arthur Ransome
illus. by the author[c]
Pigeon Post Jonathan Cape
* named to the 70th Anniversary Top Ten in 2007.[14]

Winners of multiple awards[edit]

Eight authors have won two Carnegie Medals, which was prohibited for many years.

  • Peter Dickinson 1979, 1980
  • Berlie Doherty 1986, 1991
  • Anne Fine 1989, 1992
  • Geraldine McCaughrean 1988, 2018
  • Margaret Mahy 1982, 1984
  • Jan Mark 1976, 1983
  • Patrick Ness 2011, 2012
  • Robert Westall 1975, 1981

For many years, some runners-up books were designated Highly Commended, at least 29 in 24 years from 1979 to 2002 and three previously. Among the authors who won two Medals, Anne Fine was highly commended runner-up three times (1989, 1996, 2002) and Robert Westall twice (1990, 1992). The others were highly commended once each, except for Ness who postdates the distinction,[3]

Seven books have won both the Carnegie Medal and the annual Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, which was inaugurated 1967. (Dates are years of U.K. publication, and Carnegie award dates before 2006.)

  • Alan Garner, The Owl Service (1967)
  • Richard Adams, Watership Down (1972)
  • Geraldine McCaughrean, A Pack of Lies (1988)
  • Anne Fine, Goggle-Eyes (1989)
  • Philip Pullman, His Dark Materials 1: Northern Lights (1995)
  • Melvin Burgess, Junk (1996)

Only A Monster Calls, written by Patrick Ness and illustrated by Jim Kay, has won both the Carnegie and Greenaway Medals (2012).

Only The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (2009) has won both the Carnegie Medal and the equivalent American award, the Newbery Medal.[15]

Author Sharon Creech, who won the Carnegie for Ruby Holler (2002), previously won the Newbery and two U.K. awards for Walk Two Moons (1994).[16]

Four writers have won both the Carnegie and the US Michael L. Printz Award. The Printz Award is an American Library Association literary award that annually recognises the "best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit". The four writers are David Almond, Aidan Chambers, Geraldine McCaughrean, and Meg Rosoff. Chambers alone has won both for the same book, the 1999 Carnegie and 2003 Printz for the novel Postcards from No Man's Land.[4][17][18]

In its scope, books for children or young adults, the British Carnegie corresponds to the American Newbery and Printz awards.

Carnegie of Carnegies[edit]

For the 70th anniversary in 2007, CILIP posted online information about all of the winning books and conducted a poll to identify the nation's favourite Carnegie Medalist, to be named the "Carnegie of Carnegies". The winner, announced on 21 June 2007 at the British Library,[19] was Northern Lights by Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials, volume one, 1995). It was the expected winner and garnered 40% of the votes in the UK, 36% worldwide.[20]

The nation considered a ballot or all-time shortlist comprising ten of the 67 Medal-winning works, selected by six "children's book experts".[21] The panel provided annotations including reader ages that range from 6+ to 14+ (age 10+ for the winner, Northern Lights).[21]

70th Anniversary Top Ten

Northern Lights, with 40% plurality, was followed by 16% for Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce and 8% for Skellig by David Almond. As those three books had won the 70-year-old Medal in its year 60, year 23, and year 63, some commentary observed that Tom's Midnight Garden had passed a test of time that the others had not yet faced.[22][page needed]


Date is year of publication before 2006.[4] Selections were announced and medals presented early in the next year.

1936 to 1993[edit]

From 1936 to 1993, there were 55 Medals awarded in 58 years. CCSU library listings for that period include one Special Commendation, 23 Highly Commended books (from 1966, mainly from 1979), and about 130 Commended books. Except for the inaugural year 1936, only the 24 Special and Highly Commended books are listed here.[3]

1936, the inaugural publication year


Arthur Ransome, Pigeon Post (Jonathan Cape) — the sixth of 12 Swallows and Amazons novels


Howard Spring, Sampson's Circus (Faber and Faber)
Noel Streatfeild, Ballet Shoes (J. M. Dent & Sons) — the first of 11 Shoes novels

CCSU listings for 1954 include six commendations, the first since 1936. Beginning 1966 there were some "high commendations" and those were approximately annual by 1979.[3] Only the high commendations are listed here (through 1993).

1954, Special Commendation
Harold Jones, illustrator Lavender's Blue: A Book of Nursery Rhymes, compiled by Kathleen Lines — collection named for "Lavender's Blue"

The special commendation to Harold Jones in 1955 for his 1954 illustration of Lavender's Blue was "a major reason" for the Library Association to establish the Kate Greenaway Medal that year.[3] No 1955 work was judged worthy in 1956, so that Medal was actually inaugurated one year later.


1966 (no Medal awarded)
+ Norman Denny and Josephine Filmer-Sankey, The Bayeux Tapestry: The Story of the Norman Conquest, 1066 — about the Bayeux Tapestry
+ Henry Treece, The Dream Time


+ Ian Ribbons, The Battle of Gettysburg, 1–3 July 1963 (Oxford)


+ Sheila Sancha, The Castle Story — about Hearthstone Castle
+ Jan Mark, Nothing To Be Afraid Of
+ Jane Gardam, The Hollow Land
+ Gillian Cross, The Dark Behind the Curtain
+ James Watson, Talking in Whispers — depicting repression in Chile
+ Robert Swindells, Brother in the Land (Oxford)
+ Janni Howker, Nature of the Beast
+ Janni Howker, Isaac Campion
+ Margaret Mahy, Memory
+ Gillian Cross, A Map of Nowhere
+ Peter Dickinson, Eva (Gollancz)
+ Elizabeth Laird, Red Sky in the Morning
+ Carole Lloyd, The Charlie Barber Treatment
+ Anne Fine, Bill's New Frock, illus. Philippe Dupasquier (Egmont)
+ Melvin Burgess, The Cry of the Wolf (Andersen)
+ Robert Westall, The Kingdom by the Sea
+ Jacqueline Wilson, The Story of Tracy Beaker, illus. Nick Sharratt (Doubleday) — first of four Tracy Beaker novels
+ Robert Westall, Gulf

1994 to 2002[edit]

Through 2002 some runners-up were Commended, including some Highly Commended.[3][d] Where the entire shortlist is given here (back to 1994), boldface and asterisk (*) marks the winner, plus (+) marks the highly commended books, and dash (–) marks the commended books.[3]

1994 (8)[citation needed]

1995 (8)[23]

1996 (8)[24]

1997 (7)[25]

1998 (5)[26]

1999 (8)[citation needed]

2000 (8)[citation needed]

2001 (8)[27]

2002 (7)[27]

2003 to date[edit]

Runners-up within the shortlist are not distinguished since 2002.

2003 (6)[27]

2004 (6)[27]

2005 (5)[27]

Date is year of presentation after 2006.[4] The publication year is approximately the preceding school year; for 2012 example, September 2010 to August 2011.

2007 (6)[27][28]

2008 (7)[27][29]

2009 (7)[27][30]

2010 (10)[27][31]

2011 (6)[27][32]

2012 (8)[2][27]

2013 (8)[27][33]

2014 (8)[27][34]

The award to Brooks roused some controversy because of the bleak nature of the novel.[35]

2015 (8)

2016 (8)

2017 (8)

The Bone Sparrow received an Amnesty CILIP Honour commendation.[36]

2018 (8)

The Hate U Give received an Amnesty CILIP Honour commendation.[37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dave McKean illustrated UK "Adult" and US editions of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell illustrated the UK "Children's Edition", all published October 2008. Riddell made the shortlist for the companion Kate Greenaway Medal recognising year's best illustration.
  2. ^ For 1966, the last time no medal was awarded, CCSU lists a "Highly Commended" book for the first time: Norman Denny and Josephine Filmer-Sankey, The Bayeux Tapestry: The Story of the Norman Conquest, 1066.
  3. ^ a b c d e f The first two Medal-winning books were illustrated by their authors, as were four others to 1953 (six of the first sixteen winners), but none since then.
  4. ^ CCSU lists Medal winners, "Highly Commended" books, and "Commended" books: about 135 Commended (for 1936 only and from 1954), commonly at least five prior to the first High Commendation (1966).


  1. ^ a b c The CILIP ... Book Awards. Carnegie Medal [1].
  2. ^ a b 2012 Awards: Carnegie shortlisted books Archived 22 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine.. CILIP. 2012-07-31.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Carnegie Medal Award". Curriculum Lab. Elihu Burritt Library. Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). Retrieved 2012-06-19.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g The CILIP ... Book Awards. Carnegie Medal: Full List of Winners [2].
  5. ^ The CILIP ... Book Awards. Kate Greenaway Medal [3].
  6. ^ a b c d The CILIP ... Book Awards. Carnegie Medal: Award Criteria [4].
  7. ^ a b Cullinan, Bernice E.; Goetz Person, Diane (2005). The Continuum Encyclopedia of Children's Literature. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 149.
  8. ^ Ness, Patrick; Kay, Jim (14 June 2012). "How we made A Monster Calls". The Guardian (UK ed.). Retrieved 2012-06-14.
  9. ^ "Geraldine McCaughrean, Sydney Smith Win 2018 Carnegie, Greenaway Medals". Publishers Weekly. 18 June 2018. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  10. ^ "The CILIP Carnegie Medal Shortlist for 2018". CILIP Awards. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  11. ^ a b The CILIP ... Book Awards. Awards Process [5].
  12. ^ "Awards Process: Nominate for the 2017 Medals". CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards. Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  13. ^ The CILIP ... Book Awards. Carnegie Medal: Recent Winners [6].
  14. ^ 70th Anniversary. Anniversary Top Tens.
  15. ^ Flood, Alison (24 June 2010). "Neil Gaiman wins Carnegie Medal". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
  16. ^ "Walk Two Moons". Sharon Creech: Novels. Sharon Creech. Archived from the original on 12 October 2010. Retrieved 13 September 2010.
  17. ^ "The Carnegie Medal: Full List of Winners". Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  18. ^ "Michael L. Printz Winners and Honor Books". YALSA. ALA. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  19. ^ 70th Anniversary.
  20. ^ Eccleshare, Julia (21 June 2007). "Rosoff, Grey Win Carnegie, Greenaway Medals in U.K." Publishers Weekly. Archived from the original on 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  21. ^ a b 70th Anniversary. Press Desk, Releases for Anniversary (20 April 2007).
  22. ^ The Guardian news coverage
  23. ^ Brennan, Geraldine (3 May 1996). "Eyes on the prizes". Times Educational Supplement (TES). Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  24. ^ Brennan, Geraldine (2 May 1997). "Library favourites". TES. Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  25. ^ Brennan, Geraldine (1 May 1998). "It's the way they tell 'em". TES. Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  26. ^ Brennan, Geraldine (7 May 1999). "Staying power; Children's book awards". TES. Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Press Desk (directory). CILIP. Retrieved 2012-07-31. Quote: "media releases relating to the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards in date order." (2002 to 2006 releases concern 2001 to 2005 awards.)
  28. ^ 2007 Awards: Carnegie shortlisted books Archived 4 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine.. CILIP. 2012-07-31.
  29. ^ 2008 Awards: Carnegie shortlisted books Archived 24 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine.. CILIP. 2012-07-31.
  30. ^ 2009 Awards: Carnegie shortlisted books Archived 22 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine.. CILIP. 2012-07-31.
  31. ^ 2010 Awards: Carnegie shortlisted books Archived 26 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine.. CILIP. 2012-07-31.
  32. ^ 2011 Awards: Carnegie shortlisted books Archived 29 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine.. CILIP. 2012-07-31.
  33. ^ 2013 Awards: Carnegie shortlisted books Archived 14 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine.. CILIP. 2014-02-16.
  34. ^ 2014 Awards: Carnegie shortlisted books. CILIP. 2014-03-18.
  35. ^ a b Flood, Alison (24 June 2014). "Carnegie medal under fire after 'vile and dangerous' Bunker Diary wins". The Guardian (UK ed.).
  36. ^ "First Double American Win for the Cilip Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals". The CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  37. ^ "Geraldine McCaughrean scoops second CILIP Carnegie Medal 30 years after first win and champions triumph of 'literary' fiction". The CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  • The CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards (homepage). Sponsored by CILIP and others. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
  • Marcus Crouch and Alec Ellis, Chosen for children: an account of the books which have been awarded the Library Association Carnegie Medal, 1936-1975, Third edition, London: Library Association, 1977. ISBN 9780853653493. — The second, 1967 edition by Crouch covers the first three decades. The third edition by Crouch and Alec Ellis comprises the second, except a new introduction by Ellis, plus coverage of the fourth decade by Ellis.

External links[edit]