Author Melvin Burgess and illustrator Jane Ray nominated for international honours

Author Melvin Burgess, noted for his sometimes controversial work for young adults, and the talented illustrator Jane Ray have been nominated by IBBY UK for the international Hans Christian Andersen Awards 2018. The Awards are the most prestigious in the international children’s book world and presented every other year by the International Board on Books for Young People. They honour a “living author and illustrator whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to children’s literature”.

Melvin and Jane have been writing and illustrating for children and young people for more than twenty years. Melvin’s 1996 book Junk won both the Guardian Award and the Carnegie Award, an achievement shared only by five other writers. Its unflinching portrayal of the lives of young squatters in 1980s Bristol is widely recognised as extending the boundaries of fiction for young adults. Jane is as adept illustrating her own texts as she is the work of other writers and is perhaps best known for her luminous and intricate illustration of traditional tales and her sensitivity to culturally diverse ways of looking at the world.

Pam Dix, the Chair of IBBY UK, said, “We are very excited to be nominating two such highly respected contributors to the UK children’s literature world and look forward to working with them during the nomination process and holding an event with them later in 2017.”

The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) is a non-profit organization which represents an international network of people committed to bringing books and children together. There are 75 national sections including IBBY UK, all of which can make nominations for the awards, which are judged by an international jury. Five books for each nominee are submitted for consideration by the jury. The books, chosen by Melvin and Jane and IBBY UK from all their work, are:

Melvin Burgess, Bloodtide, The Cry of the Wolf, Junk, and Lady,  published by Andersen Press; and Kill All Enemies, published by Penguin.

Jane Ray, Ahmed and the Feather Girl, Frances Lincoln; The Little Mermaid and Other Fishy Tales, Boxer Books; and illustrations for Kevin Crossley-Holland, Heartsong, Orchard Books; Berlie Doherty, Classic Fairy Tales, Walker Books; and Carol Ann Duffy, The Lost Happy Endings, Bloomsbury.

The shortlists for the awards will be announced in January 2018 and the winners at the Bologna Book Fair 2018. The Awards will be presented to the winners at the 36th IBBY World Congress, in Istanbul, Turkey in September 2018.

Previous UK winners of the author award are: Eleanor Farjeon (1956), Aidan Chambers (2002) and David Almond (2010). Last year’s winner was Cao Wenxuan (China). Previous British winners of the illustrator award are Anthony Browne (2000) and Quentin Blake (2002). The 2016 winner was Rotraut Susanne Berner (Germany).

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