Thursday, November 19, 2009

BookTrust Teenage Prize 2009

Neil Gaiman is winner of the Booktrust Teenage Prize 2009.

The Graveyard Book tells the story of Nobody ‘Bod’ Owens, a child abandoned in a graveyard after the vicious murder of his parents and sister by The Man Jack. Raised and educated by the ghosts that live there, Bod encounters terrible and unexpected menaces in the horror of the pit of the Sleer and the city of Ghouls. It is in the land of the living that the real danger lies as The Man Jack is determined to find Bod and finish him off.

Neil Gaiman is listed as one of the top ten living post-modern writers, and is a prolific creator of works of prose, poetry, film, journalism, comics, song lyrics, and drama. He is the creator of the iconic DC comic series The Sandman, the only comic to ever make the New York Times Bestseller list. His books have been adapted for a number of successful films, most recently the animated adventure Coraline.

In his acceptance speech, Neil paid credit to the authors that had inspired him: ‘Sometimes when we look big, and seem to see further, it's because we are standing on the shoulders of giants. The field of children’s literature has seen many giants, and those of us who toil in the field make our contributions using what we've learned from those who came first. ‘I'm proud of The Graveyard Book. But I know I got to stand on the shoulders of giants in order to write it. There were two writers of children's fiction who influenced The Graveyard Book. Foremost, obviously, Rudyard Kipling, and his short story collection The Jungle Book; less obviously Pamela "P.L" Travers, and her Mary Poppins stories. And everyone else: the writers I learned from as a young reader, and the writers I've learned from as a writer: a host of other craftsmen and women I learned, or borrowed, or stole from, to build The Graveyard Book.

This year’s shortlist was: Auslander by Paul Dowswell (Bloomsbury)The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (Bloomsbury)Ostrich Boy by Keith Gray (Definitions)The Ant Colony by Jenny Valentine (HarperCollins)The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant (Puffin)The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness (Walker)

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