The 2014 CILIP CKG Awards mark the first time that a longlist has been compiled from all the books nominated by members of CILIP. The words inaugural and prestigious were used in the CILIP press release – they are good words although ones that I seldom use on a daily basis so I get a thrill when I see them in print (I am a bit of a word nerd).

From the press release:

Traditionally an extensive list of nominated books, comprised of titles which have received one or more votes from member librarians, is made public, followed by a shortlist announcement, before the overall winners are crowned. CILIP, the organisers of the Medals, took the decision to judge and announce longlists in order to shine a spotlight on some of the brightest authors and illustrators in the running for the esteemed awards, to reflect the high number of quality children’s books being published.

Read the full press release here

The books are chosen by the judges using the same rigorous criteria they use for the shortlisting and eventual winning titles.

Over the past few years due to the increase in quality writing for children and young people longlists had been growing ever larger; this has caused suggestion from some sectors about splitting the Carnegie Award at least into a teen and young reader award (that suggestion was shot down in flames and buried at several unnamed crossroads to prevent it ever rearing its head again). Large longlists also adversely affect the judges who have to juggle work, life and reading up to 120 books several times to adequately judge the merits of each according to the criteria for each of the awards. I will just say that the judges still have to read every title nominated to assess eligibility so the integrity of the awards is not affected in any way.

I am going to be on the CKG Judging Panel next year and am looking forward to the honour (there is a smidgen of dread as well but mostly excitement).

A small part of me is upset as some of the books I was hoping would make it through to the shortlists did not make it, I wholeheartedly support the longlisting as it will bring more books to the attention of the greater public as well as stimulating debate in the literary merits of fiction for children.

Adding a longlist to the steps leading up to the announcement of the winning titles will allow shadowing groups to follow the process more closely; previously by some arcane and unknown process the judges were able to whittle down 60+ books into a 6 book shortlist. Working with 20 titles is more manageable and if schools are able to carry the full longlist students will be able to start discussing the awards process sooner and will have the opportunity to compile their own lists of potential winners and discuss the titles in the run up to the shortlisting when the official shadowing scheme begins,

The books on the longlist that I have read are fantastic and deserve to be there, I will be reading as many of the other longlisted titles as I can before the shortlisting on the 18th March. I will hopefully post my favourites here during the week before the shortlists are announced.

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