Childrens Book Awards

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Monsters of Men wins Carnegie Medal

23 June 2011

Patrick Ness has been awarded the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2011 for his novel, Monsters of Men, the final part in the Chaos Walking trilogy. Ness slammed the government's lack of support for libraries during his acceptance speech.

During the award ceremony at Bafta earlier today, Thursday, Ness laid particular blame at the foot of Education Secretary Michael Gove.

He said, "Here is a man who races to the latest news about what a tragedy it is that three out of 10 children don't own a book. Yet utterly fails to see the irony of how closing libraries will affect not only the three who don't, but the seven who do and who would like to read more and more and more.

"While the government says it wants children to read, it is not providing the means to do so."

Ness also defended librarians whose jobs are at risk of being lost to volunteers, "a one-sentence, Big Society idea whose ramifications and consequences they haven't even remotely considered," he said. "Librarians open up the world. Knowledge is useless if you don't even know where to begin to look."

Each of Ness' three books in the Chaos Walking trilogy have been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal the first time this has been achieved by a series. Ness also joins one of an elite number of authors to win The Guardian Book Award and the Booktrust Teenage Prize alongside the Carnegie Medal.

While Ness was reluctant to attribute any particular success to Monsters of Men over the other two titles in the series, which are The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer, he said, "Monsters of Men brings together all the themes explored in the earlier Chaos Walking titles.

"These are big questions like what does war mean, what does it mean to be an individual in a war, how complicated real love can be all the themes that have been leading up to the final book."

The CILIP Carnegie Medal and CILIP Kate Greenaway Medals are awarded annually for achievement in children's fiction and illustration. The shortlisted and winning titles are chosen by specialist children's librarians.