Geraldine McCaughrean scoops second CILIP Carnegie Medal 30 years after first win and champions triumph of 'literary' fiction

  • A true survival story of Scottish boys marooned at sea, Where the World Ends, earns second Carnegie Medal for Geraldine McCaughrean, whilst Canadian illustrator Sydney Smith wins first Kate Greenaway Medal for Town Is by the Sea

  • McCaughrean petitions against the dumbing down of children's literature, encouraging writers and publishers to challenge young readers and provide them with a vocabulary that allows them to think for themselves

  • Themes of empowering children to stand up for their beliefs and encouraging them to shape the world around them are celebrated in the Amnesty CILIP Honour commendations / #CKG18 / #bestchildrensbooks

The winners of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals, the UK's oldest children's book awards, are announced today, Monday 18th June, at a ceremony at The British Library in London hosted by presenter and author June Sarpong. Widely regarded as the greatest of all accolades available to a children's writer or illustrator, the Medals are unique in being judged by children's librarians.

British writer Geraldine McCaughrean wins the CILIP Carnegie Medal for the second time with her middle-grade novel Where the World Ends (Usborne). McCaughrean is the most shortlisted author in the history of the prize, and this win comes 30 years after her first Carnegie Medal for A Pack of Lies in 1988. Inspired by an historical record from 18th century St Kilda, the book explores the fates of a group of men and boys who find themselves stranded on a remote and inhospitable sea stac after their return boat mysteriously fails to turn up. On winning the Medal, McCaughrean commented: "When I won the Carnegie 30 years ago, it felt like a licence to go on writing - to call myself an author. I am almost ashamed of how much I wanted to win again - just to prove to myself that it wasn't a fluke!"

Canadian illustrator Sydney Smith wins the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for the first time for his illustrations in Joanne Schwartz's Town Is by the Sea (Walker Books). The picture book, which depicts a day in the life of a boy growing up in a coal mining town in the 1950s, contrasts a child's life of play with that of the adult world of work, with the bright world above ground juxtaposed with the perilous subterranean world of a mining pit. Smith visited a miner's museum in Cape Breton's Glace Bay, where the story is set, and took inspiration for his expressive brush work from Impressionist artists such as J.M.W. Turner.

Smith said: "Although this story is specific to a place and a time, the context of childhood is universal. There is something so beautiful about the universality of the complicated richness of youth. It is a dream come true to see my work, crafted from my heart, for family and my home to be honoured by the highest of praises. There is no better feeling than to be recognized for something that was created with sincerity and joy. I regard this honour as a challenge to continue to work with such tools."

At the ceremony, McCaughrean gave an impassioned speech, petitioning against the dumbing down of language in children's literature and stressing the importance of children and young people's right to language, expression and information. She praised her fellow Medals nominees for their unflinching look at difficult subject matter, from the Black Lives Matter movement to bullying and depression. She said:

"Fiction can achieve marvellous things, especially inside individual heads, not least when it subtly nudge-nudge-nudges the reader towards minding more, thinking more, asking questions. It's been said often in recent years that 'literary' fiction for young people has had its day. We master words by meeting them, not by avoiding them. The only way to make books - and knowledge - accessible is to give children the necessary words. And how has that always been done? By adult conversation and reading. Since when has one generation ever doubted and pitied the next so much that it decides not to burden them with the full package of the English language but to feed them only a restricted diet of simple worlds? The worst and most wicked outcome of all would be that we deliberately and wantonly create an underclass of citizens with a small but functional vocabulary: easy to manipulate and lacking in the means to reason their way out of subjugation, because you need words to be able to think for yourself.

"In my opinion, young readers should be bombarded with words like gamma rays, steeped in words like pot plants stood in water, pelted with them like confetti, fed on them like alphabetti spaghetti, given Hamlet's last resort: "Words. Words. Words."

Jake Hope, Chair of the 2018 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals judging panel, commented on the winning titles:

"2018 has been an exceptional year for the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medals. A record number of nominations were received leading to incredibly strong shortlists. This has presented a real challenge for the judges as any of the books would have guaranteed a solid winner.

"As librarians, we promote education and knowledge for all, and we heartily endorse Geraldine's call for intellectual freedom through stories with rich language and complex themes which equip all children with the tools to understand - and, in some cases, change - the world around them. Her book, Where the World Ends, is outstanding and a hugely deserving winner of the Carnegie Medal. Each of the characters caught on Warrior's Stac has their own tale and the tension built through the predicament they find themselves ensnared in - quite literally caught on a precipice - is palpable. Like a diamond, this is a story with an impressive array of sides and surfaces, each reflecting and refracting experience and understanding in ways that judges feel will stay with readers for a lifetime.

"Sydney Smith's Town Is by the Sea skillfully balances an intimate story of a child's world of play and wonder alongside a bigger story of a whole community and culture built around mining. Its illustrations are impressive and expansive in scope and beautifully evoke both time and place. Both winners are expertly crafted and hold interest and appeal for a range of readers of all tastes and ages."

McCaughrean and Smith each receive £500 worth of books to donate to a library of their choice, a specifically commissioned golden medal and a £5,000 cash prize from the Colin Mears Award.

Themes of empowering children to stand up for their beliefs and encouraging them to shape the world around them are celebrated in both the Amnesty CILIP Honour commendations. From the CILIP Carnegie Medal shortlist, the Honour went to American debut author Angie Thomas for The Hate U Give (Walker Books). Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, it tells the story of 16-year-old Starr following the fatal shooting of a best friend by a white police officer. The Amnesty CILIP Honour from the Kate Greenaway Medal shortlist went to British artist and former Medal winner (Black Dog, 2013) Levi Pinfold for his black and white illustrations in The Song from Somewhere Else by A.F. Harrold (Bloomsbury). One of his first commissions to illustrate a novel, the book explores friendship, betrayal, acceptance and doing what's right. The Amnesty CILIP Honour is selected by a separate team of judges, which this year included Jordan Stephens, writer, performer and one half of hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks, who presented the commendations.

Angie Thomas comments on her commendation: "I'm thrilled that Amnesty International have chosen to award The Hate U Give this honour - to be given a prize which recognises the importance of encouraging young people to empathise and broaden their horizons is particularly special to me. I hope that the book helps young people to see themselves and see others from a new perspective, and know that they have a voice that they can use to stand up for themselves, and others."

Levi Pinfold adds: "While working on the pictures for The Song From Somewhere Else I was routinely struck by how important kindness is for a person who can only see shadows and a world in black and white. Amnesty International's amazing work encourages us to work hard towards caring for each other, and I feel truly honoured that our book has been recognised by such a vital and life-preserving organisation."

Kate Allen, Amnesty UK Director, said: "Amnesty has chosen two very timely stories about marginalised young people deciding how to stand up to bullies and oppressors. The idea of putting yourself in the firing line and the personal cost that entails is hugely relevant to life today given the sort of backlash people in movements like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter experience. It's a reminder that brave people are also vulnerable and that true friends make you stronger. The costs and the unexpected gains of standing up to hatred shape the young protagonists in these books in ways that we hope will inspire young readers."

The CILIP Carnegie Medal was first awarded in 1937, to Arthur Ransome's 1936 novel Pigeon Post. Its roll-call of winners includes C.S. Lewis, Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman, Noel Streatfeild, Meg Rosoff and Penelope Lively. The winners of the Kate Greenaway Medal, first awarded in 1957 to Edward Ardizzone's 1956 book, Tim All Alone, include Raymond Briggs, Shirley Hughes, Janet Ahlberg, Quentin Blake, Helen Oxenbury and John Burningham. This is the third year that the Medals are joined by the Amnesty CILIP Honour, a commendation for the book on each shortlist that most distinctively illuminates, upholds or celebrates freedoms.

In 2017, CILIP announced an independent review into how diversity, inclusion and representation can best be championed and embedded into the work of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals. Chaired by Margaret Casely-Hayford, the Diversity Review has been running throughout the 2018 Medals cycle and is currently in the final stages of consultation. Following an online survey, developed in collaboration with Coventry University, CILIP is conducting focus groups with key stakeholders in the awards. Final recommendations will be published in a report in Autumn 2018.

For further information or interview requests please contact Katy MacMillan-Scott or Katherine Bovey at Riot Communications: /

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Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean (Usborne)

Where the World Ends is a novel based on a true survival story from 1727 which played out on the isolated Scottish island of Hirta, St Kilda. What starts out as an annual three-week harvest during fowling season turns into a courageous daily battle for survival as nine young boys are left stranded on the perilous sea stacs, imprisoned on every side by the ocean, and by their fears of the unknown.

British author Geraldine McCaughrean, 67, is a multi-award-winning children's author. She has now been shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal eight times, and has won once before with A Pack of Lies in 1988. She has won the Whitbread Children's Book Award three times, the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the Smarties Bronze Award (four times) and the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award. In 2005 she was chosen from over 100 other authors to write the official sequel to J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan: Peter Pan in Scarlet (2016). She lives in Berkshire.


Town Is by the Sea illustrated by Sydney Smith and written by Joanne Schwartz (Walker Books)

Town Is by the Sea brings a piece of mining history to life by showing the striking contrast between a sparkling seaside day and the darkness underground where the miners dig. It follows the story of a young boy who wakes up to the sound of the sea, visits his grandfather's grave after lunch and comes home to a cosy dinner with his family, whilst all the while his mind strays to his father digging for coal deep down under the sea.

Canadian illustrator Sydney Smith, 38, has illustrated multiple children's books, including The White Cat and the Monk andNew York Times Children's Book of the Year, a winner of the Governor General Award for Illustration and shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2016. He lives in Toronto, Canada.


From the CILIP Carnegie Medal shortlist:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Walker Books)

The Hate U Give tells the story of 16-year-old Starr, a girl of two worlds. Every day she walks a fine line between the poor inner-city neighbourhood where she was born and raised, and the wealthy suburbs where she goes to high school. The uneasy balance between the two is shattered when Starr becomes the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend by a white police officer. What she saw, and whether she speaks out could affect her entire community and have an impact on her friends and close-knit family.

Angie Thomaswas born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. She studied Creative Writing at Belhaven University, where she was one of the only black students - a theme visited inThe Hate U Give, her debut novel, which is currently being adapted for film. A former teen rapper, she recently won the inaugural Walter Dean Myers Grant awarded by the We Need Diverse Books campaign. She lives in Jackson, Mississippi, United States.

From the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal shortlist:

The Song from Somewhere Else illustrated by Levi Pinfold (Bloomsbury) and written by A.F. Harrold

The Song from Somewhere Else is a story of friendship, betrayal, acceptance and doing what is right. Frank doesn't know how to feel when Nick Underbridge rescues her from bullies one afternoon. Nick is big, weird and smells. But there's more to Nick, and to his house, than meets the eye, and soon Frank realises she isn't the only one keeping secrets, or the only one who needs help.

British illustrator Levi Pinfold has published several picture books, including The Django, Greenling and Black Dog, which won the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal in 2013. Born in England, he now lives in New South Wales, Australia.


  • For more information, to interview any of the authors or for image request, please contact Riot Communications
  • The CILIP Carnegie Medal 2018 shortlists were:

    CILIP Carnegie Medal 2018 shortlist (alphabetically by author surname):
    1. Wed Wabbit by Lissa Evans (David Fickling Books)
    2. After the Fire by Will Hill (Usborne)
    3. Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean (Usborne)
    4. Rook by Anthony McGowan (Barrington Stoke)
    5. Release by Patrick Ness (Walker Books)
    6. Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick (Orion)
    7. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Walker Books)
    8. Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk (Corgi)

    The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2018 shortlist (alphabetically by illustrator surname):
    1. King of the Sky illustrated by Laura Carlin and written by Nicola Davies (Walker Books)
    2. Night Shift illustrated and written by Debi Gliori (Hot Key Books)
    3. A First Book of Animals illustrated by Petr Horáček and written by Nicola Davies (Walker Books)
    4. The Song from Somewhere Else illustrated by Levi Pinfold and written by A.F. Harrold (Bloomsbury)
    5. Town is by the Sea illustrated by Sydney Smith and written by Joanne Schwartz (Walker Books)
    6. Thornhill illustrated and written by Pam Smy (David Fickling Books)
    7. Under the Same Sky illustrated and written by Britta Teckentrup (Little Tiger)

  • CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals
    The Carnegie Medal, awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children, was established in 1936 in memory of the Scottish-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919). A self-made industrialist who made his fortune in steel in the USA, Carnegie's experience of using a library as a child led him to resolve that "If ever wealth came to me that it should be used to establish free libraries." He set up more than 2,800 libraries across the English-speaking world and by the time of his death over half the library authorities in Great Britain had Carnegie libraries.

    The Kate Greenaway Medal was established in 1955 for distinguished illustration in a book for children. Named after the popular nineteenth century artist, known for her beautiful children's illustrations and designs, the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded annually for an outstanding book in terms of illustration for children and young people.

    The full list of past winners of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals can be found here:

  • About the Awards Shadowing Scheme
    Each year thousands of reading groups in schools and libraries in the UK and overseas get involved in the Awards, with children and young people 'shadowing' the judging process. They read, discuss and review the books on the shortlists and get involved in reading related activity in groups and online. Free shadowing educational resources include visual literacy teaching notes, talking points, human rights teaching notes produced by Amnesty, activity ideas and video interviews with the shortlisted authors and illustrators. Shadowing groups are encouraged to publish their own creative response to the books online including reviews, blogs, and videos.

  • About CILIP, the library and information association
    CILIP is the leading voice for the information, knowledge management and library profession. Our goal is to put information and library skills and professional values at the heart of a democratic, equal and prosperous society. CILIP is a registered charity, no. 313014. The Youth Libraries Group (YLG) of CILIP works in a 'pressure group' role to preserve and influence the provision of quality literature and library services for children and young people, both in public libraries and school library services.

    YLG has 12 regional committees covering all of the UK and each committee advertises and democratically elects a YLG judge to represent them on the panel of judges. Each judge serves a two-year term and each year the panel is a unique mix of new and experienced judges led by the Chair of Judges who is also the National Chair of YLG. Find out more about this year's judges here:

  • About Amnesty International and the Amnesty CILIP Honour
    Amnesty International is the world's leading human rights organisation with over 7 million supporters worldwide. It was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1977. The Amnesty CILIP Honour was introduced in 2016, to commend human rights in children's literature. One book is selected from each of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal shortlists, chosen because it most distinctively illuminates, upholds or celebrates freedoms. The inaugural Amnesty CILIP Honours were awarded in 2016 to Robin Talley for Lies We Tell Ourselves (CILIP Carnegie Medal shortlist) and Ross Collins for There's a Bear on My Chair (CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal shortlist).

    The judges for the 2018 Amnesty CILIP honour are: Nicky Parker, Publisher, Amnesty International UK; Rowena Seabrook, Human Rights Education Manager, Amnesty International UK; Abie Longstaff, children's author and former human rights lawyer; Jamila Gavin, award-winning children's author whose dual Indian and English heritage has been a constant source of inspiration; Gabrielle Cliff-Hodges, former Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Cambridge, specializing in children's literature; Louise Johns-Shepherd, chief executive of the Centre for Literary in Primary Education; Autumn Sharif, singer-songwriter and daughter of Somali refugees and Jordan Stephens, writer and performer best known as one half of pop duo Rizzle Kicks. The judges for the 2018 Amnesty Kate Greenaway honour are: Nicky Parker, Publisher, Amnesty International UK; Rowena Seabrook, Human Rights Education Manager, Amnesty International UK; Dan Jones, artist, storyteller, collector of nursery rhymes and Amnesty human rights educator; Chris Riddell, former Children's Laureate and Amnesty Ambassador; Manya Benenson, artist and storyteller, daughter of Amnesty's founder; Carlos Reyes-Manzo, Chilean social documentary photographer and poet - he was an Amnesty prisoner of conscience in Chile during Pinochet's civic-military dictatorship and exiled to Panama in 1975. In November 1979 he was kidnapped in Panama by the Chilean secret police and sent back to Chile via London where he escaped from the plane; Evelyn Arizpe, educator specialising in children's literature, senior lecturer in education at Glasgow University and Amy Leon, Harlem-born musician, poet and educator.

  • CILIP Equality and Diversity Action Plan
    A Diversity Review, chaired by Margaret Casely-Hayford, is taking place throughout the 2018 Medals cycle. CILIP announced the review of Medals - as part of the organisation's wider Equality and Diversity Action Plan following concerns raised about the lack of BAME representation on the 2017 Carnegie Medal longlist. CILIP's Equality and Diversity Action Plan follows previously published research commissioned in 2015 by CILIP and the Archives and Records Association, which outlined diversity issues in the library, archives, records, information management and knowledge management sector. The Review will inform the annual evaluation process and long-term planning around the Awards and accompanying shadowing scheme.

    An interim report was published in December 2017 outlining the work carried out to date. In this report Margaret Casely-Hayford has stated: "I took on this role following criticism of the 2017 Carnegie longlist as it included no Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) authors. Since then I have listened to comments, concerns and ideas about how the awards can be the best champion of diversity, inclusion and representation in order to create greater opportunity for the widest pool of talent to be drawn upon, providing authors and illustrators who can unlock a broader world of literary excellence for readers. This in turn should increase participation in reading and associated activities by all children and young people - regardless of who they are, their background and where they live."

    Nick Poole also stated in the report: "Librarianship is at the very heart of what makes the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards unique. A librarian is someone who behaves according to the ethics of our profession, who has made a lasting personal commitment to the universal rights of access to knowledge and of self-expression. Libraries are built on the twin ideals of universality and empowerment. They belong to everyone and everyone has the right to use them. But simply being universally accessible is not sufficient. As a sector, we have learnt that we need to be proactive in identifying and tearing down the barriers which prevent some people from discovering the joy of reading, of cultural participation and of seeing themselves reflected in literature."

    The Diversity Review is currently in the final stages of consultation. Following an online survey, developed in collaboration with Coventry University, CILIP is conducting focus groups with key stakeholders in the awards. Final recommendations will be published in a report in Autumn 2018.