Thursday, June 26, 2014

Carnegie medal row over 'depressing' winner grows

Frank Cottrell Boyce among voices questioning whether Kevin Brooks's The Bunker Diary was appropriate for children's books prize

Frank Cottrell Boyce
'A problem' … Frank Cottrell Boyce

The storm over Kevin Brooks's Carnegie medal win has gathered force after two more writers criticised the choice, saying it called into question the whole purpose and value of the UK's top children's book prize.

The award-winning children's author and scriptwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce and the critic Amanda Craig are the latest to attack the award – which has been made annually by librarians since 1936 – joining Telegraph reviewer Lorna Bradbury, who described the winning book as "a uniquely sickening read" which "seems to have won on shock value rather than merit".

Writing in the Independent, Amanda Craig said she had refused to review The Bunker Diary on its publication, because it was "depressing both in its nature and its lack of redemption".
She added: "It is deeply ironic the Carnegie should have chosen this one, out of an otherwise engaging oeuvre, to celebrate and promote. It is the latest in a trajectory for the Carnegie prize which nobody who loves children's books can possibly applaud."

Cottrell Boyce chose to enter the fray via a comment on the Guardian news story. He wrote: "I'm not making a comment on Brooks's book which I haven't read. He is well-regarded and the Carnegie should reward excellence."

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