In this episode we talk about libraries, writing for boys and prizes. Anthony McGowan is a children’s author and until this week the holder (although, as we’ll hear, that’s not exactly true) of the Carnegie Medal, the most prestigious prize for writing for young people in the UK.
Anthony McGowan is the author of various children’s books but the one that won the Carnegie Medal was Lark, which he wrote for one of my favourite publishers, Barrington Stoke.
As well as Anthony's contemporary books featuring young, male protagonists, I was curious to hear about the Carnegie Medal process and I think Anthony explains very well why the shortlist is exciting, for readers as well as for writers. The Carnegie tends to favour a certain kind of book, but he reminded me about the range of other prizes out there too, and the absolute importance of libraries.
It just takes one book to resonate with someone and turn them into a reader. Anthony talks about the book that did it for him when he was nine, and how he read it over and over, and it taught him what a novel was. You want to know what it is now, don’t you?
We recorded this episode in April 2021, before the latest winner of the CILIP Carnegie medal was announced. He is the US poet and author Jason Reynolds, for his book Look Both Ways, published by Knights Of … a small, brave, young publishing company whose success I’m happy to celebrate today. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy my conversation with Anthony.
Barrington Stoke: https://www.barringtonstoke.co.uk
Anthony McGowan at Penguin Books: https://www.penguin.co.uk/authors/68003/anthony-mcgowan.html
Anthony McGowan at Faber & Faber: https://www.faber.co.uk/author/anthony-mcgowan/
CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards: https://carnegiegreenaway.org.uk