Historical novelist Rosemary Sutcliff won the top UK literary children’s book award from the Library Association, the Carnegie Medal, for The Lantern Bearers in 1959. The Carnegie Medal is awarded every year in the UK to the writer of an outstanding book for children. The Library Association started the prize in 1936, in memory of the Scottish-born philanthropist Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919). Carnegie was a self-made industrialist who made his fortune in steel in the USA. His 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.”
First awarded to Arthur Ransome for Pigeon Post, the Carnegie Medal is now awarded by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. The winner receives a golden medal and some £500 worth of books to donate to a library of their choice.
- The book must be written in the English language
- The book must be published originally for children and young people
- The book must have received its first publication in the United Kingdom or have had co-publication elsewhere within a three month time lapse. In the case of e-books and short stories previously published in a magazine or elsewhere, the point of publication should be considered as the date when the work is published as a whole
- All categories of books for children and young people are eligible
Other awards that Rosemary Sutcliff also won included:
- Phoenix Children’s Book Award for The Mark of the Horse Lord in 1985
- The Boston-Globe Horn Book Award for Tristan and Iseult in 1972
- Was highly Commended by the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1974
- The Other Award for Song for a Dark Queen in 1978
Carnegie set up more than 2800 libraries across the English speaking world and, by the time of his death, over half the library authorities in Great Britain had Carnegie libraries.