Hear the one about the three Irishmen and the Carnegie Medal?

Three Irish authors have been long-listed for the prestigious Carnegie Medal, presented annually for books written for children or young adults.

And when I say long-list, I mean long-list.

By my quick count there are 67 books included, which prompts the question, tweaked from its regular application to certain low-grade Junior Gaelic football teams over the years: Is it harder to get off the list than get on it?

That might be a bit facetious, and it’s good to see three Irish authors present and correct on the looonnnnnng-list in the shape of John Boyne’s The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket, Roddy Doyle’s A Greyhound of a Girl and Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant: Death Bringer.

I haven’t dipped into any of these three books yet but I have read (along with everyone else) The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and received a glowing report from Mrs Blogger about Noah Barleywater Runs Away, so Boyne has certainly become one of the most esteemed young adult writers out there.

Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant series has won staunch admirers in recent years – and Death Bringer is not even his most recent instalment, with the seventh book, Kingdom of the Wicked, having been published in August.

As for Roddy Doyle, there are plenty who would argue that even his books for adults find a natural home among the young – there is certainly something a bit puerile about his latest venture Two Pints, 90-odd pages in which two men sitting in a pub dissect the events of the day.

Sample (via Irish Times extract a week or two back):

– Who’s goin’ to win [the election]?

– Hard to say. They’re all shite.

– I seen Mary Davis’s Sex an’ the City posters.

– There yeh go. An’ Mitchell. He said you can see the house he grew up in – in Inchicore, like – from the window of the Áras. An’ he’s goin’ to look out at it every mornin’.

– An’ shout, Fuck you, Inchicore.

Doyle doesn’t hit the mark as often these days as he managed for a lengthy period of time earlier in his career, but the title story of his collection of short stories, Bullfighting, is an exceptional examination of the lot of the late middle-aged Irishman. (You can listen to “Bullfighting”, read by Dave Eggers, on the New Yorker fiction podcast series.)

There ends that particular tangent.

CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) runs both the Carnegie Medal, which has been presented every year since 1936 and includes names such as Walter De La Mare, C.S. Lewis, Philip Pullman, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman among its former winners, and the Kate Greenaway Medal, which was established in the 1950s and honours outstanding illustration in a book for children. (The full long-lists for both the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals is over here)

Illustrators of children’s books are not my area of special knowledge, so if there are any Irish illustrators listed therein, feel free to let me know in the comments.

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