Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Neil Gaiman Wins Carnegie Medal



It was announced on June 24 that Neil Gaiman's teen novel, The Graveyard Book, won the Carnegie Medal for 2010. Gaiman is the first author to ever win a Carnegie and a Newbery Medal for the same book. Carnegie Medal winners receive a golden medal and £500 worth of books to donate to a public or school library.

The Carnegie Medal is one of UK's most prestigious awards for children's and teen literature. Gaiman considers it a great honor because the Carnegie Medal was the first literary prize he remembers being aware of as a child: "When I was seven I got the Narnia books for my birthday. I had read a couple before, but I got the box set, and I got to The Last Battle and it said winner of the Carnegie Medal. I thought wow. It was a couple of years later that I bought A Wrinkle in Time and became aware of the Newbery. They are the first literary awards of any kind I was ever aware of and I've got both of them—it's amazing."

The Graveyard Book is about a toddler who crawls into a graveyard after his family's murder and is raised by ghosts who give him the name Nobody Owens—Bod for short. Growing into his teen years, he learns that life is more dangerous outside the graveyard than in.

Gaiman got the idea for The Graveyard Book when he was living in London and the only place his 2 year old could ride his tricycle was in the nearby graveyard. When he saw how at home his son looked peddling his trike furiously among the headstones, it reminded him of Mowgli from The Jungle Book, how content he was in the jungle being raised by animals, and he got to thinking about writing a story about a boy raised by ghosts.

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