ABC Radio National THE BOOK SHOW: Kids literature awards accused of elitism

A friend passed this on, and as a children’s author whose novel was ignored by awards judges, I have to say that I agree with the idea that there is an element of elitism in kids’ lit judging despite exceedingly favourable reviews… That said, I’m sure I’d be singing a different tune if my book was garnering awards… What do YOU think about this story from ABC?

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/bookshow/stories/2009/2595153.htm

Plenty of disgruntled authors both in Australia and abroad argue that there’s an underlying philosophy of snobbery among judges of children’s literature awards. Part of the problem is that the top prizes tend to go to books children don’t necessarily want to read.

But is there anything wrong with judges focusing on the highbrow end of the market, or should popularity play a part in their decisions? A confidential report commissioned by the Children’s Book Council of Australia suggests the time might be right to overhaul Australia’s top children’s literature award.

Melina Marchetta
Australian author of young adult fiction

James Maloney
Australian children’s author

Andy Griffiths
Australian children’s author

Mike Shuttleworth
Program Manager, Centre for Youth Literature, State Library of Victoria

Anita Silvey
American children’s book expert