Campaign Launched to 'Bring back the Kate Greenaway Medal'


Yoto Carnegie medal

A petition to reinstate Kate Greenaway's name in the literary award which bore her name for decades is gathering pace. 

Created by librarian and history lecturer Rose Roberto and illustrator and bookseller Tamsin Rosewell, it has received backing from a range of illustrators and writers including Patrick Ness, Candy Gourlay, and Frank Cottrell-Boyce. According to the organisers: 

The Kate Greenaway Medal is the oldest British literary award focused on illustration. It remains one of very few that highlights the contribution of illustrators and actively promotes the importance of their work. Kate Greenaway’s own work is a hugely important part of the heritage of the British Book Industry; she remains an influence on illustrators today and should also be recognised as one of Britain’s great female artists. In an age when illustrators' names are still very often left off promotion and reviews for books, we feel it is vital to retain her name in association with this award. 

In 2023, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) which runs the awards renamed The Greenaway Medal as The Yoto Carnegie Medal for Illustration. The organisers describe this as "branding expediency" and argue that "The name of an accomplished woman, whose work is directly relevant to the award, has been removed and replaced with that of a male industrialist and a sponsoring corporation. This feels hugely insensitive, and ironically inappropriate when it awards a profession that still battles to be recognised." The petition calls on CILIP to reinstate Kate Greenaway’s name on the award before the 2024 nominations are made.

In a statement on the rebranding, CILIP emphasised that they understood the concerns raised and recognised the importance of Kate Greenaway’s contribution to children’s books and illustration. "This will be taken into account when considering the future direction of the Awards, and we will continue to honour and recognise Kate Greenaway’s work, as we did with our Greenaway Greats reading scheme last year."

The full petition can be read here and CILIP's statement here.