According to The Times newspaper, Brooks said in his acceptance speech: “This school of thought – that no matter how dark or difficult a novel is, it should contain at least an element of hope – is still fairly widespread and ingrained in the world of ‘young adult’ books… I just don’t agree with it.” Teenagers, he added, “understand things” and should not be “cosseted with artificial hope”. Brooks, whose winning book The Bunker Diary is published by Puffin [part of Penguin] is said by The Times to have had countless discussions with his editor at Puffin as he fought to retain his dark ending.
To me there are a number of issues. One is about modern society being over-protective of young adults. Second, it is about publishers not trusting authors. I haven’t read the book. Perhaps part of the issue is that the Carnegie Prize for Fiction is for children’s books and YA fiction is just that, for young adults. Perhaps YA is too grown-up for the Carnegie. YA is by definition for older teenagers. I tried to find the definitive age range for each of the sub-genres, but failed. Approximately it seems YA can be for 12-18 or 16-25 year-olds, Teen Fiction 10-15 and Children 0-12. Perhaps this muddiness is part of the problem? In the UK, a 16-year old can marry with parental consent, or 18 without, and at 18 gets the vote and can drink alcohol.
If you’ve read, or your teenagers have read, The Bunker Diary, please let me know what they [and you] think.
To read an article in The Telegraph newspaper arguing that the book is an unsuitable winner of such a prestigious prize, click here.
For previous winners of the UK’s Carnegie Award for Children’s Fiction, click here.
Click here to read Penguin’s reply to the accusations, in an article from The Bookseller magazine.
Click here to read an interview with Brooks in The Guardian about how he writes.
‘The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks’ [UK: Penguin] Buy now
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Not such a bleak ending: an appeal from THE BUNKER DIARY author Kevin Brooks #amwriting http://wp.me/p5gEM4-17g via @SandraDanby