The Carnegie Medal for 2011 (won by Rosemary Sutcliff in 1959, see previous post!) has been presented to Patrick Ness for his book Monsters of Men, the final volume of the Chaos Walking trilogy. In his acceptance speech, according to The Guardian, he launched a “scorching” attack on the (UK) coalition government’s policy on libraries – a policy which results in many many closures.
His first two novels, The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer, were runners-up for the Carnegie Medal in 2009 and 2010. The Knife of Never Letting go won both the Guardian Children’s Book Award and the Book Trust Teenage Award.
The chair of the 2011 Carnegie judging panel praised Ness for creating a “complex other world, giving himself and the reader great scope to consider big questions about life, love and how we communicate, as well as the horrors of war, and the good and evil that mankind is capable of.” I am not sure who the chair of judges was, but possibly not a writer?! Patrick Ness, however, clearly is. An American, one time writer for a big corporation, he has lived in the U.K. since 1999. I have not read anything he has written – yet – I am afraid. Any readers of this blog have any experience and views?
Addendum: Since I posted this I have read that the book Monsters of Men that had begun as a fragment and an idea written by Siobhan Dowd, who died of breast cancer before the novel was finished (and who won the 2009 Carnegie Medal posthumously for Bog Child). See tis Q&A with Patrick Ness and Denise Johnstone-Burt.