The Eagle of the Ninth author Rosemary Sutcliff, children’s writer of historical fiction, has won the ‘highly prestigious’ Children’s Literature Association (ChLA) 2010 Phoenix Award in the USA – see here – for her historical novel The Shining Company. The prize is for a book which did not win awards when it first came out but whose reputation has grown over 20 years. In 1985 The Mark of the Horse Lord was the first ever Phoenix award-winning book. Uncertain about the significance of this award now, I asked Professor Maria Nikolajeva of Cambridge University. The Professor, Director of the Cambridge/Homerton Centre for Children’s Literature, told me:
… it is a highly prestigious award given to a work of children’s literature published 20 years prior and thus proved to be sustainable and gaining the status of a classic. You can imagine how many excellent books compete for this award every year, so it is indeed an honour and a good reason for wide celebration. Put it as top news in huge letters on the website! ”
The Children’s Literature Association is … a prestigious body which is principally North American. ChLA is one of the major associations in the field, the others being the International Research Society for Children’s Literature and the Australasian Children’s Literature Association for Research.