Patrick Ness winning the Carnegie Medal was somewhat lost in the hype surrounding Pottermore (including on Kid You Not!). Author of the Chaos Walking trilogy, the Medal was won by the final book in the series Monsters of Men. Focusing on a dystopian future in which men can hear each other’s thoughts and women are outlawed, it is the story of teenagers Todd and Viola as they find themselves first lovers and then on different sides of a war. The books explore the nature and the price of war; its complexities and ambiguities; its moral dilemmas and dehumanisation. Although (still) suffering from dystopian overload, I have been a fan of these books since I first read The Knife of Never Letting Go. Original and brilliantly written, this is an uncontroversial choice for the Carnegie.
It is a shame that Ness’ voice was diminished by Potter mania, as he used his acceptance speech to lambast the government for its library closures, highlighting the importance they had played in his upbringing and childhood reading. Describing himself as ‘a child that libraries built’, he singled out Education Minister Michael Gove for his failure to oppose the closure of libraries.
As the latest in a long line of prestigious authors to protest against the closure of so many libraries it will be interesting to see whether in fact the Government – or the media – take any notice of the campaigns to prevent the policy from happening.