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Yesterday I read about both the Man-Booker Prize for Fiction, and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Prize (for children’s and young adult literature). It put me in mind of some of the awards Rosemary Sutcliff won or was commended for (nearly won!).

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Rosemary Sutcliff sent an address to the Children’s Literature Association in Arbor, Michigan, 19th May 1985 when she received the Phoenix Award for The Mark of the Horse Lord. This is an excerpt.

The Mark of the Horse-Lord  is one of my best-beloved books, amongst my own, and has remained so warmly living in my mind, though I have never re-read it, that when I heard that it had won an award for a book published twenty years ago, my first thought was “How lovely!! But my second was, ‘But it can’t be anywhere near twenty years old; it’s one of my quite recent books; there must be some mistake!” And I made all speed to get it out of the bookcase and look at the publication date, to make sure. And having got it out, of course I started reading it again.

Re-reading a book of my own is for me (and I imagine for most authors) a faintly nerve-wracking process, (more…)

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From Rosemary Sutcliff’s  German publisher, Verlag Urachhaus, a brief biography:

Rosemary Sutcliff wurde am 14. Dezember 1920 in England geboren und starb am 23. Juli 1992.

Sie besuchte eine Kunstschule und arbeitete zunächst als Malerin, bis sie Mitte der vierziger Jahre zum Schreiben fand.

Trotz ihrer starken Behinderung durch die Still’sche Krankheit, an der sie seit ihrem zweiten Lebensjahr litt, pflegte sie von jedem ihrer Romane wenigstens drei handgeschriebene Entwürfe anzufertigen, ehe sie mit ihrer Arbeit zufrieden war.

Intensiv an Geschichte, besonders derjenigen Großbritanniens, interessiert und im Erzählen hoch begabt, hat sich Rosemary Sutcliff mit ihren Kinder- und Jugendbüchern zu historischen Themen weit über England hinaus einen Namen gemacht.

Ihre Bücher sind in vielen Sprachen erschienen und mehrfach ausgezeichnet worden. 1975 erhielt sie als geniale und kompromisslose Chronistin den Orden des British Empire für ihre herausragenden Verdienste um die Jugendliteratur.

Als die englische Originalausgabe vom Lied für eine dunkle Königin (Song for a Dark Queen) 1978 erschien, wurde sie mit dem feministischen Literaturpreis The Other Award ausgezeichnet.

Für Morgenwind (Dawn Wind) erhielt Rosemary Sutcliff den begehrten New York Herald Tribune Preis.

Im März 2000 stellte Jean-Claude Lin Rosemary Sutcliff in dem Lebensmagazin a tempo vor und im Februar 2009 schrieb Ute Hallaschka in  der Rubrik weiterkommen über Ein Leseleben mit Rosemary Sutcliff.

Source here: Verlag Urachhaus website

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I recently discovered  Felix Felton (1911 – 72) who was a British actor, and a radio director and author. In 1961 he adapted Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Lantern Bearers (published in 1959) for a six-part series for Children’s Hour for BBC Radio. In 1962 he also adapted  Dawn Wind (1961) for radio, playing the role of Einon Hen himself.

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Some thirty-two years ago almost to the day the Book Marketing Council published a list of who they judged to be the 20 greatest living British authors.  The Times – then (and now?) a paper of record – covered the group, but sadly mis-spelled Rosemary Sutcliff as Sutcliffe (sic) with an E. Of the twenty, only three are still alive, and sadly Rosemary  is not one of them.

The full list was Beryl Bainbridge (21 Nov 1932 – 2 July 2010), John Betjeman (28 Aug 1906 – 19 May 1984), Malcolm Bradbury (7 Sept 1932 – 27 Nov 2000), Anthony Burgess (25 Feb 1917 – 22 Nov 1993), Margaret Drabble (born 5 June 1939), Lawrence Durrell (27 Feb 1912 – 7 Nov 1990), John Fowles (31 Mar 1926 – 5 Nov 2005), Leon Garfield (14 Jul 1921 – 2 Jun 1996), William Golding (19 Sept 1911 – 19 Jun 1993), Graham Greene (2 Oct 1904 – 3 Apr 1991), Ted Hughes (17 Aug 1930 – 28 Oct 1998), John Le Carre (born 19 Oct 1931), Laurie Lee (26 June 1914 – 13 May 1997) , Rosamund Lehmann (3 Feb 1901 – 12 March 1990), Iris Murdoch (15 Jul 1919 – 8 Feb 1999) , V.S. Naipaul (b. 17 Aug 1932), V.S Pritchett (16 Dec 1900 – 20 Mar 1997. Rosemary Sutcliffe (sic) (14 Dec 1920 – 23 Jul 1992), Laurens Van de Post (13 Dec 1906 – 16 Dec 1996), Rebecca West  (21 Dec 1892 – 15 Mar 1983).

Article from The Times newspaper on top 20 20th century living authors at circa 1980

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Nominations were announced today for the Carnegie Medal for 2014. The Chartered institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) claims (correctly!) that it is one of the “most prestigious prizes in writing … for children”, but regretfully I have read none of this year’s nominees – yet! The medal is awarded annually by children’s librarians for an outstanding book for children and young people. The press release from CILIP recalls that “previous winners of the medal include Sally Gardener, Patrick Ness, Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman and C.S. Lewis”.

Rosemary Sutcliff was awarded the medal in 1957 for her historical novel The Lantern Bearers. She was short-listed again in 1972 for Tristan and Iseult .

Source: The CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards – Press Release 

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The Carnegie Medal for 2013  is awarded today. The Medal is awarded every year in the UK to the writer of an outstanding book for children. (2013 shortlist here).

The eminent Rosemary Sutcliff  (1920-92) won the (former) Library Association Carnegie Medal in 1959 for her historical novel for children The Lantern Bearers (she wrote for children”aged 8 to 88″, she said).  She was runner-up with Tristan and Iseult in 1972.  (more…)

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Cover of Japanese Edition of The Lantern Bearers

Rosemary Sutcliff won the Library Association Carnegie Medal in 1959 for her historical novel for children (“aged 8 to 88” in her view) The Lantern Bearers. The Medal is awarded every year in the UK to the writer of an outstanding book for children. First awarded to Arthur Ransome for Pigeon Post, the medal is now awarded by CILIP: The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. Both the Carnegie Medal and its sister award, the Kate Greenaway Medal are awarded annually. The 2012 shortlist was recently announced, and the winners will be named on Thursday 14th June.

The Library Association started the prize in 1936, in memory of the Scottish-born philanthropist Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), a self-made industrialist who made his fortune in steel in the USA. The winner now receives a golden medal and some £500 worth of books to donate to a library of their choice. Rosemary Sutcliff also won or was nominated for many other awards in the UK and USA. (She won other awards in translation). She

Full list of Carnegie Medal winners here

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Geraldine McCaughreanThe prestigious Carnegie Medal was once won by Rosemary Sutcliff, as well as multiple award-winning Geraldine McCaughrean (who has written more than 160 books, from picture books to adult novels).  Interviewed at Red House, the web-based, self-styled ‘home of (buying) children’s books’, she spoke of the influence on her of Rosemary Sutcliff’s historical fiction.

Did you have any favourite children’s authors when you were a child and have they influenced your writing at all?

I loved Elyne Mitchell’s Brumby books because I loved all things horsey. One day I shall write a horse book and then all those pony and horse books I read as a child will come into their own.

I also loved Rosemary Sutcliff’s historical fiction – The Eagle of the Ninth, Brother Dusty Feet … – They taught me how a book could take you time travelling to a different age.  That must be why I have written so many books set in the past.  Adventure is so much easier to come by there.

Source: Geraldine McCaughrean | My Red House.

Rosemary Sutcliff won the Carnegie Medal in 1959, not for either of the books mentioned by McCaughrean, but for The Lantern Bearers. She was runner-up in 1972 with Tristan and Iseult. The Medal is perhaps the UK’s most prestigious prize for writing for children, awarded every year in the UK to the writer of an outstanding book for children. The Library Association started to award the prize in 1936, in memory of the Scottish-born philanthropist Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), a great supporter of reading and libraries. The medal is now awarded by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.

Rosemary Sutcliff also won the Boston-Globe Horn Book Award for Tristan and Iseult in 1972; was highly commended by the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1974; won The Other Award for Song for a Dark Queen in 1978; and won The Phoenix Children’s Book Award for The Mark of the Horse Lord in 1985, and The Shining Company in 2010

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Newberry Medal Winner 2012 children's literature Dead EndThe 2012 Newbery Medal winner is Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos (published by Farrar Straus Giroux, who also published Rosemary Sutcliff in the USA). The importance of history and reading is at the heart of this “achingly funny romp” (according to the Newberry website) through a dying New Deal town. It tells the story of two months in the life of a boy named Jack Gantos, whose plans for vacation adventure are suddenly ruined when he is grounded by his feuding parent.  “Who knew obituaries and old lady death could be this funny and this tender?” said Viki Ash, chair of the Committee deciding the award. Anyone who reads this blog have a view?   (more…)

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