Lisa Penman is the CKG Judge for YLG Scotland
I was absolutely delighted to be chosen as the Scottish Carnegie and Kate Greenaway judge for 2018 and 2019, and the timing could not have been more perfect! Coming from Fife, the home of Andrew Carnegie, it felt very fitting that I would be judging for the 80th celebration of the Carnegie medal and the fact that the 2018 winning book – Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean – was set in Scotland only cemented that feeling.
Wild at Heart created a special bench in celebration of Geraldine’s success, its design bringing her book to life. I was thrilled to hear that this celebratory bench would find its home at Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries, the world’s first ever Carnegie library, situated in the very town that lays claim to being the birthplace of Andrew Carnegie himself.
In celebration we held a special unveiling ceremony, which celebrated Geraldine’s success whilst also encompassing 100 years of the Carnegie legacy. Geraldine demonstrated not only her great story-telling ability through reading extracts from her winning book, but also showcased her poetic finesse in her poem written about Andrew Carnegie. The audience was enthralled as she spoke about winning the Carnegie medal, not once but twice in her career, and how winning has inspired her. To top it all off, we also had musical memories from Star Spangled Scotsman as well some very moving folk songs from the Bowhill Players.
Geraldine later held a closed session with a local shadowing group, The Page Turners from Dunfermline High School. It was wonderful to see how engaged and full of questions they were, keen to learn from her wisdom.
The bench looks amazing in the garden of Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries, and was used by visiting families right away. It will always hold special memories for me whenever I visit in the future.
So not only did my first year as Scotland’s Carnegie and Kate Greenaway judging fall on the 80th celebration of the Carnegie medal, bringing with it the chain of events that resulted in my hometown being gifted the winner’s bench; but my second and final year also falls on the 100th anniversary of Andrew Carnegie’s death, bringing with it a calendar of celebrations. Timing is indeed everything!