We’re delighted that the extraordinary Philip Reeve has been included in the shortlist for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 for his interstellar sci-fi novel Railhead. The CILIP Carnegie Medal is one of the UK’s oldest and most prestigious book award for children and young people. Philip first won the award back in 2008 with Here Lies Arthur and we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed that he can repeat his success in June. Read on for more about the book, Philip and the rest of the shortlist.
About the book
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The Great Network is the place of the thousand gates, where sentient trains criss-cross the galaxy in a heartbeat. It is a place of drones and androids, maintenance spiders and station angels.
Zen Starling is a petty thief, stealing to support his family and living by his wits. When mysterious stranger Raven sends Zen and his new friend Nova on a mission to infiltrate the Emperor’s train, he jumps at the chance to traverse the Great Network.
But it could be that the key to the whole universe rests on finding out what else he is…
‘[Railhead] rattles along like an interstellar express, leaving you eager for the next thrilling ride.’ – SF Said, The Guardian
Philip Reeve worked in a bookshop for a number of years while also co-writing, producing and directing a number of no-budget theatre projects. He then began illustrating, and has provided illustrations, cartoons and comic strips for around forty children’s books, including the best-selling Horrible Histories, Murderous Maths and Dead Famous series.
It was while working on these that he wrote his first novel, Mortal Engines, a gripping adventure story set in a future world where moving cities trawl the globe. A magical and unique read, it immediately caught the attention of reviewers and book buyers. It was the Gold Award winner at the Nestle Smarties Book Prize 2002 and the winner of the 2003 Blue Peter Book of the Year.
In 2008 Philip won the CILIP Carnegie Medal for Here Lies Arthur. This is set in the Dark Ages and explores how a myth can be created simply through spindoctoring and story-telling.
Philip also collaborates with the illustrator and comics creator Sarah McIntyre. Their books together include Oliver and the Seawigs, Cakes in Space, Pugs of the Frozen North and Jinx and O’Hare Funfair Repair.
The rest of the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 shortlist
The Blythes are a big, warm, rambunctious family who live on a small farm and sometimes foster children. Now Prez has come to live with them. But, though he seems cheerful and helpful, he never says a word. One day Prez answers the door to someone claiming to be his relative. This small, loud stranger carries a backpack, walks with a swagger and goes by the name of Sputnik. Sputnik is writing a guidebook to Earth called Ten Things Worth Doing on Earth, and he takes Prez on a journey to discover just those ten things. Each adventure seems to take Prez nearer to the heart of the family he is being fostered by. But they also take him closer to the day that he is due to leave them forever…
Born in a refugee camp, all Subhi knows of the world is that he’s at least 19 fence diamonds high, the nice Jackets never stay long, and at night he dreams that the sea finds its way to his tent, bringing with it unusual treasures. And one day it brings him Jimmie. Carrying a notebook that she’s unable to read and wearing a sparrow made out of bone around her neck – both talismans of her family’s past and the mother she’s lost – Jimmie strikes up an unlikely friendship with Subhi beyond the fence.
Alaska, 1970: growing up here is like nowhere else. Ruth wants to be remembered by her grieving mother. Dora wishes she was invisible to her abusive father. Alyce is staying at home to please her parents. Hank is running away for the sake of his brothers. Four very different lives are about to become entangled. Because if we don’t save each other, how can we begin to save ourselves?
Alice is fifteen, with hair as red as fire and skin as pale as bone, but something inside her is broken. She has a brain injury, the result of an assault. Manny was once a child soldier. He is sixteen and has lost all his family. When Manny first sees Alice, she is sitting on the rusty roof of her river house, looking like a carving on an old-fashioned ship, sailing through the stars. He has a poem in his pocket and he knows the words by heart. And he is sure that girl has written them. When Manny and Alice meet they find the beginnings of love and healing.
Born from a street liaison between a poor young woman and an African soldier in the 1900s, Beck is soon orphaned and sent to the Catholic Brothers in Canada. Shipped to work on a farm, his escape takes him across the continent in a search for belonging. Enduring abuse and many hardships, Beck has times of comfort and encouragement, eventually finding Grace, the woman with whom he can finally forge his life and shape his destiny as a young man. A picaresque novel set during the Depression as experienced by a young black man, it depicts great pain but has an uplifting and inspiring conclusion.
It’s early 1945 and a group of people trek across Germany, bound together by their desperation to reach the ship that can take them away from the war-ravaged land. Four young people, each haunted by their own dark secret, narrate their unforgettable stories. Fans of The Book Thief or Helen Dunmore’s The Siege will be totally absorbed. This inspirational novel is based on a true story from the Second World War. When the German ship the Wilhelm Gustloff was sunk in port in early 1945 it had over 9000 civilian refugees, including children, on board. Nearly all were drowned. Rūta Šepetys, acclaimed author of Between Shades of Grey, brilliantly imagines their story.
Annabelle has lived in Wolf Hollow all her life: a quiet place, still scarred by two world wars. But when cruel, manipulative Betty arrives in town, Annabelle’s calm world is shattered, along with everything she’s ever known about right and wrong. When Betty disappears, suspicion falls on strange, gentle loner Toby. As Wolf Hollow turns against him, and tensions quickly mount, Annabelle must do everything in her power to protect Toby – and to find Betty, before it is too late.