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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"Thinking of Laura. Thinking of Sonny. Thinking up explanations for the note they’d find beside the body. I don’t know how it happened, Aunt Clara. I guess it’s my natural talent for getting into trouble. One thing led to another. Doesn’t it always? If trouble’s around I always seem to find it, but I can’t find my money."


Carnegie winner: 1971
Author: Ivan Southall

Fourteen year old Josh is a sensitive boy and an award winning poet.  He begs his parents to be allowed to go and stay with his Great Aunt Clare in the ancestral home at Ryan’s Creek, an occurrence that is something of a rites of passage.   Far from being the break he’d hoped, instead it becomes a collision of two worlds, one urban, reflective and cerebral and the other provincial, deprived and greatly affected by the Great Depression. From his arrival, Josh finds himself ill at ease having no personal and private space of his own with even his bags having been violated and unpacked and the poems that he’d written read.

Aunt Clara is held in high esteem by the residents of Ryan’s Creek, but Josh feels less certain and experiences a growing sense of frustration, anger and mounting pressure.  This insular and inward looking nature of the small town, becomes all the more pronounced when Josh tries to dissuade Laura from jumping off a bridge in attempts to impress him and is, instead, accused by the locals of having encouraged her.  Josh’s world view is widening and his experiences broadened through his stay in the town, although this is deeply uncomfortable with both mental and physical chastisement by his Aunt and the denizens of the town itself.

Stylish, experimental through its stream of consciousness narration and breaking with convention, Josh is a confident, assured and highly unusual novel that comments on the nature of difference and how this is broached and broadened by other views.


Be yourself if you dare /