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Tan wins 2020 Kate Greenaway Medal

In the UK, Australian artist and author Shaun Tan has won the 2020 Kate Greenaway Medal for distinguished illustration in a book for children and young people for his picture book Tales from the Inner City (A&U). Tan, who is of Chinese and Malay heritage, is the first person of colour to win the medal in its history, according to CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals), the organisation that administers the award.

Tales from the Inner City, which is a sister volume to Tan’s 2008 anthology Tales from Outer Suburbia (A&U), is a collection of 25 illustrated stories that deals with the separation and tension between the natural and artificial worlds.

Tan said, ‘I am surprised, delighted and then deeply honoured—what a wonderful thing to be! I am especially thrilled to receive the Kate Greenaway Medal in the fine company of so many brilliant artists and authors, many of whom inspired my own love of illustrated stories as a young West Australian scribbler.

‘Tales from the Inner City is a strange book for strange times, suggesting that human frailty might well find expression in dreams of tigers, bears, frogs and lungfish reclaiming our cities. To know that I am not alone in enjoying such speculation—maybe even a bit too much—is no small thing. It is profoundly consoling, to feel part of a larger conversation about our relationship to this planet, particularly with younger readers, in whose imagination the future is already taking shape.’

Tan was chosen from a shortlist of seven announced in March this year. The winner was chosen by 14 volunteer youth librarians from a total of 162 nominations. In 2011 Tan was named the recipient of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world’s richest prize for children’s literature, and was previously shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2015.

British author Anthony McGowan was named the winner of the Carnegie Medal for writing for his YA novel Lark (Barrington Stoke), which tells the story of two brothers who set out for an adventure in the North Yorkshire Moors only to be caught in a blizzard when weather conditions take a turn.

Judging panel chair Julia Hale said the ‘the two extraordinary winners … highlight our connection and co-dependency with the natural world’.

The winners will each receive a £5000 (A$9100) cash prize, £500 (A$900) worth of books to donate to a library of their choice and a specially commissioned gold medal. The CILIP Kate Greenaway and Carnegie Medals award the best in children’s writing and illustration published in the UK. For more information, visit the website.


Category: Awards Local news