Inspiring, nurturing and empowering young people with a vision impairment.

The Yoto Carnegies literary awards 2023

group photo againt a photo wall with the professional photographer and the winners

Recently NCW students and staff attended the prestigious Carnegie Awards Ceremony in London. It was a day full of excitement and glamour! Mrs Holmes, our marvellous NCW Librarian, was written the following:  

The Carnegie Medal is awarded every year for the best book written for children and young people. It’s a really famous medal and out of all the book prizes which happen each year, the Carnegie Medal is the one which every author wants to win. 

There were awards for both illustration and writing, one each from ‘pupil shadowers’ and librarian judges.

Myself, Mrs Jones, our fabulous nurse Julie and Lottie from Marketing took three students to the awards ceremony at The Barbican in London. 

Travelling by train NCW student George and Mobility Officer Mrs Jones took advantage of practicing their mobility skills. George had booked Rail Assist from Worcestershire Parkway station and as a group we were assisted onto the train. We were also met at London Paddington by a friendly Rail Assist buggy driver that kindly took us to the Rail Assist Office. We even had chance to say ‘hello’ to the Paddington statue and students enjoyed exploring the shape and texture. 

When we travelled onto the new Elizabeth line, Leo and George were the pros, having been on it before and telling us all about it. 

 If you haven’t been before, the Barbican is a big complex of several floors and buildings made mostly of concrete. It is home to an orchestra and lots of exhibition and meeting spaces. We made our way to one of the Cinemas and were welcomed by the hosts. Once inside the cinema we had plush seats in the VIP area with a goody bag each.  The screen showed the awards titles and even had New College Worcester in the slide welcoming the specially selected shadowing groups. 

Lauren Child was the guest speaker who made the introductions. She won a Carnegie award a few years ago with her famous Charlie and Lola stories. We had a few speeches from the important people involved in the awards. We had short videos from the shortlisted illustrators first talking about what it would mean to win.

The 2023 Yoto Carnegie Medal for Illustration was awarded to Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear illustrated by Jeet Zdung!

This illustrator had recorded his acceptance speech, I think from his home in Vietnam. He talked about his childhood love of cartoons and nature. Dr Trang Nguyen the conservationist who wrote the story and Jeet Zdung hope that the impact of the prize draws attention to the plight of the Sun Bears and other wildlife all around the world.

The shadowers award went to The Comet by Joe Todd-Stanton who had a really short speech and seemed genuinely overwhelmed that he had the approval of the children who read his book.

Now the awards the college was really interested in. The 2023 Yoto Carnegie Shadowers’ Choice Medal for Writing went to…drum roll please..

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys

Some of you read about Cristian who struggles under the surveillance and oppression of Ceausescu’s Romania. 

I was pleased this book won an award as it highlighted an event I knew had occurred in my childhood but history has brought out much more than I realised happened at the time. I later saw the medal up close when I stood next to Ruta Sepetys  the reception photo shoot.

The 2023 Yoto Carnegie Medal for Writing was won by The Blue Book of Nebo by Manon Steffan Ros. 

This book is a translation from the original Welsh, done by the author and it had already won awards in Wales.  Manon Steffan Ros peppered her acceptance speech with Welsh words, mostly diolch meaning thank you! This is an extract:

“I can confidently tell you that this book is the tiniest speck on the very tip of a massive iceberg of Welsh language literature that you would love. Each language offers a unique and enriching perspective on the world, and so literature in translation has the potential to enhance our lives greatly. Your favourite book might not yet be translated into a language that you understand.”

After the awards ceremony we spent a little time walking up too many flights of stairs to get to the garden room reception.  We actually got there before most of the people waiting for the lifts. The organisers had arranged for our group to have a photo with the two writing medal winners. I also got a selfie with Stefan Mannon Ros because I had learnt so much about her and the book, telling her I had got a little badge of her book cover from her publisher at another conference!

We had a short chat with 2 people from RNIB who support the awards including making our formats of the shortlist available for us in good time. They look after NCW, not just for the awards and want to spend more time helping us, especially when it comes to RNIB BookShare!

What great day we had and what a marvellous opportunity for our students. 

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