Thursday, March 25, 2010

David Almond wins Hans Christian Andersen medal
British author 'stunned' to take top international children's literature prize
Alison Flood,, Tuesday 23 March 2010

Left -David Almond, who won the Hans Christian Andersen medal for his 'unique voice.

An international jury of children's literature experts this afternoon decided to award the world's most prestigious prize in children's literature to British author David Almond.

Almond, who won the Carnegie medal and the Whitbread children's prize with his first children's book Skellig, the story of a boy who discovers an angel in a derelict garage, was selected as winner from authors around the world, seeing off finalists from Iran, Brazil, Sweden and Denmark to win the medal. Given biennially since 1956 by the International Board on Books for Young People for an author's complete works, the award comes with no money but much honour: past winners include much-loved British children's writer Eleanor Farjeon, Pippi Longstocking creator Astrid Lindgren and Moomins author Tove Jansson.

"Good god, that's absolutely brilliant," said the Newcastle-born Almond, reached this afternoon at home before he had officially been informed about his win. "It's amazing. I didn't think I'd win but you never know — I'd never heard anything from the prize organisers though, so I thought it was all sorted, and that the winner would be out there in Bologna [at the children's book fair, where the news was announced this afternoon]."

Describing Almond as "a creator of magical realism for children", the jury praised his "unique voice" and said that he "captures his young readers' imagination and motivates them to read, think and be critical". "His use of language is sophisticated and reaches across the ages," the 10 international members said in a statement.

Read Alison Flood's full report at The Guardian.

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