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27 February 2021

Lark wins CILIP Carnegie Medal 2020

17 June 2020

Lark by Anthony McGowan - a book published by Edinburgh-based Barrington Stoke - has won the 2020 CILIP Carnegie Medal. You can read the first chapter on issuu.

Julia Hale, Chair of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal judging panel, described Lark as "a standalone masterpiece in simple and pared-down storytelling; an everyday adventure showing the brothers surviving not only the natural world at its harshest but the deprivations of poverty and abandonment, conveyed through tension, humour and beautiful writing."

Anthony McGowan says of his win: "Every writer for young people dreams of winning the Carnegie Medal. Its incredible history, the roll call of the great writers who have won it and the rigour of the selection process makes this the greatest book prize in the world. It is also a magnificent way of connecting with readers. The hundreds of shadowing groups in schools and libraries around the country provide that one thing that writers cannot do without: a living, arguing, debating, biscuit-munching population of brilliant readers! On one level, Lark is a simple adventure story. Two woefully ill-equipped teenage boys and their old Jack Russell terrier go for a walk on the North Yorkshire Moors. A blizzard descends and their fun day out, their 'lark', turns into a desperate battle for survival. On another level, the book is about the unshakeable love between two brothers, one of them with special needs, after enduring family break-up, poverty, bullying and cruelty. Lark is also a story about the power of stories and the way they weave through our lives."

This first Carnegie Medal win is a hugely important moment for independent publisher Barrington Stoke, set up 21 years ago to enable struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers to access books written by the most talented authors in the UK. This recognition of Anthony McGowan's remarkable work validates their belief that the length of a book is not an indication of the value of the story within. A short novel with an accessible layout can explore fundamentally important themes and deliver a story with huge emotional impact. The company are also the first Scottish publisher to receive the CILIP Carnegie Medal in its 84-year history.

Read Barrington Stoke's blog post about what the power of the short novel and what this award means to Barrington Stoke and their mission.