Welsh independent publisher Firefly Press has received a bumper FOUR nominations for the 2023 Yoto Carnegies awards. The YOTO Carnegie awards are the UK’s longest running children’s book awards, recognising outstanding reading experiences created through writing and illustration in books for children and young people.
The Blue Book of Nebo by Manon Steffan Ros, and The Red Gloves and other Stories by Catherine Fisher are both nominated for the Yoto Carnegie Medal for Writing. And The Song that Sings Us written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Jackie Morris is double-nominated for both Yoto Carnegie Medals for Writing and Illustration respectively.
Firefly Press Publisher Penny Thomas says: ‘We are absolutely thrilled to have four Carnegie nominations this year; this is a huge achievement for our small, quality children’s fiction list and we’d like to congratulate all the authors and the illustrator on their wonderful work!”
“These nominations are also a testament to the creative power in Welsh children’s fiction at present; these writers and illustrators are all based in Wales, and all nominated titles are immersed in Welsh landscape and culture, with strong environmental themes.”
Delving into that environmental theme, The Song that Sings Us written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal winning artist Jackie Morris, is a stunningly beautiful environmental epic adventure, featuring an alternative world threatened by a terrible weapon called “the greenhouse”. It was described by The Guardian as “storytelling on the most poetic scale – strange, bloody, grand and unforgettable.” Talking about the book, Nicola Davies describes how she: “put my heart and soul into The Song That Sings Us and I’m so happy that this wonderful nomination demonstrates readers understand this story and the message it carries, that all life is one kin, one song.”
Jackie Morris adds: ‘This is the first time Nicola and I have worked together, and I am so proud that the illustrations I have done for this lyrical tale of adventure have been recognised with a nomination.’ Jackie will also be illustrating the second book to be set in the world of The Song that Sings Us – Skrimsli!, due for publication in autumn 2023.
Taking a look ahead into a post-apocalyptic future, Manon Steffan Ros’ translated YA novel The Blue Book of Nebo, adapted by the author from her award-winning Welsh novel Llyfr Glas Nebo, is a deeply moving story of a mother and son’s survival and relationship after a nuclear fallout, set in north Wales. Described as “a gentle, yet powerful read about how we live and what we pay attention to” by the Irish Times.
Following the nomination, Manon spoke of her delight at being recognised by the Awards: “I’m absolutely honoured to be nominated. The Carnegie especially means a great deal to me as I can remember seeing the word on the cover of some of my favourite books when I was younger and learning to recognise it as a sign of a great read!”
The short story collection The Red Gloves and other Stories by Catherine Fisher, illustrated by Anne Glenn, contains nine haunting, magical stories based on Welsh and English myths. It was described by Booktrust as, “a masterful mix of truth and the supernatural that will leave readers feeling discomfited and looking over their shoulders for whatever it is they can’t quite see, long after they’ve finished reading.” Catherine Fisher says: “I am delighted and honoured that The Red Gloves and Other Stories has been nominated for this year’s Carnegie Medal, along with so many other wonderful books. I hope it means more people will read and enjoy these stories!”
The longlist for the YOTO Cargnegies will be annouced in February 2023, followed by a shortlist in March 2023. The winners will be announced in the summer of 2023.