Welcome to our Anniversary Blog by resident blogger Jake Hope. Jake will be reading and reviewing all of the past CILIP Carnegie Medal winning books during the anniversary year. We are also asking shadowers to "Adopt a Book" and join in reading and discussing the anniversary titles in their shadowing groups.

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"All these tales you have told are well-known, and some of them are lies. But I will tell you one you do not know, and yet it is true, for my father’s father told it me, who heard it from his father, who was Caleb, the right hand of Joshua. And Joshua heard it from the lips of Moses. So Listen!"

City of Gold

Carnegie winner: 1980
Author: Peter Dickinson

Collecting together thirty-three stories from the Old Testament, City of Gold, explores the oral traditions and origins of many of these stories and the idea that these predate the Bible as a written document.  Despite many of the stories being centuries old and very familiar – the Garden of Eden, the story of Noah and the flood, Joseph’s dreams – there is nonetheless an exhilarating vitality and freshness in the way they have been curated.  The set-up is that these stories are actively being told as the reader encounters them, and through the characters that relay these, by men of standing, men of the land, sung by groups of working women, and by entertainers.  The scope is impressive and carries the reader across a period of 750 years from 1300BC to 550BC. 

Notes provide references to the parts of the Bible where the stories can be found, but also explore some of the themes, ideas and appearances of similar stories that appear through different cultures, making this an impressively wide-reaching tome.

There is a richness of language and a great sense of time, place and the strata of society achieved through the stories themselves and the various raconteurs that appear throughout the book.  This is a book that truly takes its readers on a journey, one that spans time and civilisations and one whose energy, sheer scope and reach, cannot fail to impress.

Far more than just an anthology of stories, City of Gold is an astonishing achievement, a web of words whose gossamer strands pull together many profound aspects of humanity – belief, civilisation and social fabric and the ways stories embrace experience, preoccupations and emotion.


alternative stories / alternative tellings / Bible / Old Testament / religion /