A Monster Calls

As the BBC said this evening, Patrick Ness’s novel A Monster Calls has won both the prestigious Carnegie Medal and its sister prize for illustration for the first time in the awards’ history. I haven’t read it yet, but have just looked at the pictures, and want to.

I like what illustrator Jim Kay has to say about his way of working:

When I got the commission I started collecting thousands of marks and smudges and objects. I remember reading that before Wimbledon Steffi Graf used to hang tennis balls all round the house, so she was aware of where balls were all the time. So I did a similar thing. I put thousands of abstract marks and splatters all round the flat. As I went about my daily life I started to see things in them – maybe an arm or a hedgerow. Things took on their own little life. The most unusual objects I used in the book were bread boards I picked up from junk markets. Old bread boards are wonderful – they have a whole history of cuts and marks. When you make a print with one you get an abstract piece of art.

There was a great shortlist for the prizes this year – in fact I’d like to read them all…


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