Carnegie Medal 2021 Longlist

A massive congratulations to the authors on the 2021 longlist for the Carnegie Medal, announced this week.

It looks like a diverse list with some familiar names – Francis Hardinge, Elizabeth Acevado. And of course Patrick Ness. Would the Carnegie Medal be the Carnegie Medal without a book by Ness appearing on it? – and some new-to-me and debut authors alongside them.

It is for me very much a 2020 list: a number of these books I have and have looked at and started reading and there are some weighty themes in terms of loss and suicide and mental health being explored which, for me, were a little too on-the-nose during lockdown. I preferred the escapist route in 2020 and those novels here that I have read and loved have tended to be the more fantastical: Pet (which was gorgeous) by Akwaeke Emezi who is such an amazing writer, Deeplight and Burn by Hardinge and Ness respecitevely, were key amongst those for me and Kiran Millwood Hargraves’ The Deathless Girls has been calling to me since reading The Mercies last year and loving The Girl of Ink and Stars.

2021 CILIP Carnegie Medal longlist (alphabetical by author surname):

  1. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo (Hot Key Books)
  2. The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson, illustrated by Kathrin Honesta (Usborne)
  3. The Space We’re In by Katya Balen, illustrated by Laura Carlin (Bloomsbury)
  4. The Short Knife by Elen Caldecott (Andersen Press)
  5. The Girl Who Became A Tree by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Kate Milner (Otter-Barry Books)
  6. Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo (Walker Books)
  7. Furious Thing by Jenny Downham (David Fickling Books)
  8. Pet by Akwaeke Emezi (Faber)
  9. On Midnight Beach by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick (Faber)
  10. Deeplight by Frances Hardinge (Macmillan Children’s Books)
  11. And The Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando (Simon & Schuster)
  12. In The Key Of Code by Aimee Lucido (Walker Books)
  13. Run, Rebel by Manjeet Mann (Penguin Random House Children’s)
  14. The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Orion)
  15. Burn by Patrick Ness (Walker Books)
  16. After The War by Tom Palmer (Barrington Stoke)
  17. Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds (Knights Of)
  18. The Fountains Of Silence by Ruta Sepetys (Penguin Random House Children’s)
  19. Somebody Give This Heart A Pen by Sophia Thakur (Walker Books)
  20. Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk (Penguin Random House Children’s)

So what are the books that will top my list of next reads between now and the announcement of the shortlist? In no particular order

  • The Girl Who Speaks Bear, Sophie Anderson – which sounds divine and “interwoven with traditional stories of bears, princesses and dragons, Yanka’s journey is a gorgeously lyrical adventure” – and I still want to read The House wtih Chicken Legs
  • The Deathless Girls, Kiran Millwood Hargrave – Dracula’s vampire wives brought to the fore
  • The Girl Who Became A Tree, Joseph Coelho – a modern poetic retelling of the myth of Daphne’s transformation into a laurel tree
  • The Short Knife, Elen Caldecott, exploring Saxon Britain and the evolution of its languages
  • The Fountains Of SilenceRuta Sepetys on the strength of Between Shades of Gray

Hmmm… I do still seem to be avoiding the two books I already own: Clap When You Land and And The Stars Were Burning Brightly. Again, these are the ones addressing loss head-on.


I’d love to know which of these you have read and what you thought of them! Please do leave a comment if you want to join the conversation!

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