Friday, 24 April 2009

Boy-friendy

Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror failed to get onto the Carnegie Medal shortlist today. I'm not (sob) upset. Really I'm (sob) not.

IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ME! IT. . . SHOULD. . . HAVE. . . BEEN. . . MEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

Sorry about that. But whilst I am generally a 'let the best man/woman win' kind of a guy, I was troubled to see the spin put on the shortlist: namely that it was a 'boy-friendly list' of books that showed 'what it was like to be a boy'.

Maybe it is and maybe it isn't, but let's face it all books with a male protagonist - whether they are gritty urban realist stories, historical fiction or out and out fantasy - (if they are to be believable) need to conjure up what it is to be a boy.

Just as there is no one boy, so there is no one 'boy's book'. When I saw Mark Walden at the Edinburgh Festival last year, we both felt that we had been writing book that had a lot to do with fathers and sons (or surrogate fathers and sons). We did not set out to write a book that tackled the issues surrounding the relationships between fathers and their sons, but we are both sons and we are both fathers. These things just come out, like it or not.

Anyway, the shortlisted authors are:

Frank Cottrell Boyce
Kevin Brooks
Eoin Colfer
Siobhan Dowd
Keith Gray
Patrick Ness
Kate Thompson

Good luck to all of them.

I'm pretty content to be propping up the bar in the Salon des Refuses commiserating with the likes of Phillip Pullman, David Almond, Mary Hoffman, Eva Ibotson, Celia Rees and Geraldine McCaughrean.

Maybe next time.

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