The Short Lists

Matt Imrie is the librarian at Farringtons School, Chislehurst and the YLG London judge.

Matt Imrie

The. Short. Lists. Three simple, one syllable words; harmless, forgettable even – and for a brief time each year they are the most powerful words in the world of children’s book publishing.

There is a pause, and if you listen carefully you may hear a faint drawing-in of breath as authors, publicists, librarians, bloggers and other members of the book-loving community lean in towards their computer screens willing the appointed time to hurry nearer and the short lists for the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals to appear.

If you turn your eyes towards social media at this time you may see fevered speculation as to which books and authors will make the lists. In these discussions the potential short listees may say that they are sure it is not them and it has been an honour to appear on the long lists with such amazing authors and illustrators.  Or they remain silent, much like the judges except that we know the names that will appear and in the short time since we made those decisions we have returned to the books and the criteria to start the process of identifying the most outstanding of the incredible titles on those lists.

The unveiling of the short lists is the lighting of a fuse that will burn through libraries, schools and thousands of discussion & Shadowing groups. It will ignite passionate debate, inspire young readers to become writers and illustrators themselves and set the judges on a journey to meet as many groups as possible to discuss the medals, the judging process and answer as many questions as humanly possible.


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