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70 Years Celebration



Chris Riddell, The Observer cartoonist, wins The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for Pirate Diary, a fictionalised account of the adventures of young Jake Carpenter on the high seas. From cabin boy to pirate, with marooning, mutinies and storms galore, this exciting information book for children from 8 to 14 is the first to win such an accolade in nearly three decades.

Chris was always enthusiastic about the idea of pirates but when he spoke with author Richard Platt the harsh necessities of historical accuracy came into play. "Everything I got excited about got shot down. No parrots, eye-patches or wooden legs. Thank god there were weapons and amputations!" In fact, Chris’s drawings are meticulously researched and he loved the challenge
of capturing a young boy’s emotions as he copes with his new environment. "Whether it’s trying to stay in a hammock, knocking the weevils out of a biscuit or assisting in ship-board surgery, I’m always interested in what film-makers call ‘the response shot’."

Karen Usher, Chair of this year's CILIP Youth Libraries Group judges says, "It’s been twenty seven years since an information book has won the Greenaway, but Chris’s incredible variety of style and gift for capturing character stood out. He can move from detail to a huge canvas within a page
and his use of perspective and humour will stimulate and entertain children and young people for a long time to come."

Instigated in 1956, The Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded annually by CILIP for
"outstanding illustration in a children's book".   This year xxx will present the medal at 12 noon on Friday 12 July at a special ceremony at the British Library. The Greenaway winner receives the annual £5000 Colin Mears Award. Colin Mears, a Worthing based accountant and children's book collector, left a bequest to provide Greenaway winners from 2000 onwards with a cash award as well as the coveted Medal. 

Chris’s mother spotted his talent early. Married to a liberal Anglican Vicar, she soon learned the surest way to keep their son quiet during sermons was to give him paper and pen. Chris studied art under Raymond Briggs at Brighton Polytechnic and has developed a dual career as illustrator and political cartoonist. He’s been with The Observer since 1995 and describes himself as
having "a polite drawing style in which I can say very rude things". His influences are classic: Tenniel and E H Shepherd. Without intending to he has followed their career trajectory almost exactly.

Childhood library visits inspired him to get a Saturday job stamping books. Since then he has been a staunch supporter of the service, speaking at national events. "The Library Service is an incredible resource which is often overlooked," he says, "as is the wealth of knowledge that librarians possess."

Chris lives in Brighton with his wife, illustrator and print-maker Joanne Burroughes and their three children.

Highly Commended

From the shortlist of eight books, Fix-It Duck by Jez Alborough and Sometimes I Like To Curl Up In A Ball by Charles Fuge, author Vicki Churchill, have both been Highly Commended.

Notes for Editors:

  • The 2001 Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards are announced in 2002. Books published between 01/01/01 and 31/12/01 are eligible.
  • The Colin Mears Award of £5000 to the Greenaway winner was made possible by a bequest from Colin Mears, a collector of children’s books. Mears, a Worthing based accountant had a long-standing interest in children’s illustration and was a keen collector of works by Kate Greenaway and Edward Ardizzone. The bulk of his collection has been left to the Worthing Museum and Art Gallery.
  • ‘The Best of Carnegie’ and the ‘The Best of Kate Greenaway’ - two leaflets featuring the shortlists and the best of the rest of the nominations for 2001, will be published by the Youth Libraries Group on 12 July 2002.
  • CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals is the leading professional body for Librarians and Information Managers. It was formed on 1 April 2002 by the unification of The Library Association and the Institute of Library and Information Professionals. It has 23,000 Members, most of whom are personal Members whose working environment includes libraries in higher and further education, industrial and commercial organizations, the health sector, professional and learned societies, government departments and agencies, schools, voluntary organisations and national and public libraries.
  • The Youth Libraries Group (YLG) is a Special Interest Group of CILIP. It works in a ‘pressure group’ role, independently and with other professional organisations, to preserve and influence the provision of quality literature and library services for children and young people, both in public libraries and school library services.

Book details:
Chris Riddell      Pirate Diary (Richard Platt); Walker Books, age range 8+

Jez Alborough     Fix-it Duck, Picture Lions, age range 3+
Charles Fuge          Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball (Vicki Churchill); Gullane, age range 2+

Chris Riddell was Highly Commended for Castle Diary in 1999 (author: Richard Platt) and Commended for Something Else in 1994 (author Kathryn Cave).