Congratulations to Shaun Tan and Anthony McGowan, who have won the prestigious Kate Greenaway and Carnegie medals with these wonderful books.
Both are first time winners of their respective awards, but by no means new names. McGowan has been long listed and short listed for the Carnegie for three out of the four books from his novella series, of which Lark is the final story. Tan is a highly acclaimed author-illustrator who won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2011 for his contribution to international children’s literature.
Congratulations, too, to Barrington Stoke, publishers of Lark. This is the first time this small, independent publisher has won, and it is richly deserved. Barrington Stoke have written, “This recognition substantiates our belief that the length of a book is not an indication of the value of the story within. A short novel can explore fundamentally important themes and deliver a story with huge emotional impact.” Their tweet celebrates: “It’s a win for short novels. It’s a win for working class stories. Most of all it shows that accessibility doesn’t have to mean compromising on quality or depth.”
Walker Books, publishers of Tales from the Inner City, have of course long been synonymous with high quality picture books. This fabulously illustrated book comprises a series of surreal tales delving into our relationship with animals, our ability to ignore uncomfortable truths of animal welfare and ecological breakdown. Tan, like McGowan, has commented on the discipline of brevity, “Interestingly, the shortest stories were often the most challenging to write, which is often the case with picture books, every word is like a chess move…”.