For the first time, Americans won both the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals, the UK’s top children’s book prizes. Ruta Sepetys won the Carnegie Medal for Salt to the Sea (Penguin Children’s/Puffin), and Lane Smith won the Kate Greenaway Medal category with picture book There is a Tribe of Kids (Roaring Brook Press/Two Hoots). In accepting the award, Sepetys said: “As a writer, I am drawn to underrepresented stories and history in hiding. I spend a lot of time pondering the question – why do some parts of history penetrate our collective consciousness while others remain hidden? When I began work on the novel years ago, I had no way of knowing that when it was published, we would be amidst a refugee crisis. Then and now, my thoughts return to the children.”
Sebastian Barry won the UK’s Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction for Days Without End, becoming the first author to win the prize twice (he won for On Canaan’s Side in 2012).
Also in the UK, the Queen’s annual Birthday Honors list named J.K. Rowling a Companion of Honor, the highest category awarded, for her services to literature and philanthropy. Among others on the list, Virago Press founder Carmen Callil was made a Dame.
Melissa Ashley won the Australian Booksellers Association Booksellers Choice Award for her debut novel The Birdman’s Wife.
David Fromkin, 84, author of NBCC and Pulitzer finalist A Peace to End All Peace, died June 11. He was a lawyer, historian, and the author of seven books.