Tywyn author, Steffan Ros, features on the all-female shortlist for the prestigious Yoto Carnegie Medal for Writing.

Four times winner of the Tir na n’Og Wales Children’s Book Awards, Ros has been shortlisted for the Yoto Carnegies for the first time for the “poignant”, “perfectly paced” and “completely conceivable”, The Blue Book of Nebo – winner of the Wales Book of the Year 2019 in the original Welsh-language edition.

Translated by Ros into English – and her first book to be published in the English language – it tells the heart-wrenching story of a boy and his mother who are isolated survivors of a nuclear war through interwoven diary extracts.

The shortlists include three previous winners; for the Medal for Writing, Katya Balen (2022) and Ruta Sepetys (2017), and Levi Pinfold for the Medal for Illustration (2013), alongside one debut title on each shortlist by Louise Finch and Flora Delargy respectively.

The Yoto Carnegies celebrate outstanding achievement in children’s writing and illustration and are unique in being judged by children’s and youth librarians, with the respective Shadowers’ Choice Medals voted for by children and young people.

A total of 13 books have been shortlisted; seven for the Carnegie Medal for Writing and six for the Carnegie Medal for Illustration. The 31 longlisted titles were whittled down by the expert judging panel, which includes 12 librarians from CILIP: the library and information association’s Youth Libraries Group.

The 2023 Yoto Carnegie Medal for Writing shortlist is (alphabetical by author surname):

• The Light in Everything by Katya Balen (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

• When Shadows Fall by Sita Brahmachari, illustrated by Natalie Sirett (Little Tiger)

• Medusa by Jessie Burton, illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

• The Eternal Return of Clara Hart by Louise Finch (Little Island)

• Needle by Patrice Lawrence (Barrington Stoke)

• I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys (Hodder Children’s Books)

• The Blue Book of Nebo by Manon Steffan Ros (Firefly Press)

Janet Noble, chair of judges for The Yoto Carnegies 2023, said: “This year’s shortlists clearly demonstrate that authors, illustrators and publishers are continuing to create outstanding books for children and young people that represent a wide range of identities, helping to ensure the diversity of experiences across the UK is reflected.

“Stories of bravery, compassion and community are told authentically and sensitively in a range of distinctive written and illustrative styles, with fantastic debuts taking pride of place alongside well-known names.

“We’re sure shadowing groups across the country will share our excitement in reading and discussing these superb books in the coming months, and we wish them luck in choosing their winners - we know it’s not going to be an easy decision! The 2023 judges and I are immensely proud that these 13 books will become part of the distinguished legacy of The Yoto Carnegies.”

The winners will be announced and celebrated on 21 June at a live and streamed lunchtime ceremony at The Barbican, hosted by former Children’s Laureate Lauren Child CBE, who won the Carnegie Medal for Illustration – then known as the Kate Greenaway Medal – in 2000 for her first Charlie and Lola book, I Will Not Ever Never Eat A Tomato.

The winners will each receive £500 worth of books to donate to a library of their choice, a specially commissioned and newly designed golden medal and a £5,000 Colin Mears Award cash prize.

The Shadowers’ Choice Medals, voted for and awarded by children and young people shadowing the shortlist from today, will also be presented at the ceremony.

Following the brand refresh of the Awards this year, the Shadowers’ Choice winners will also receive a golden medal for the first time.

As the official book supplier, Scholastic are working with CILIP to donate shortlist packs to 10 schools in disadvantaged areas to allow them to also take part in the shadowing and widen the reach of engagement with the awards.

Applications will be open from 24 – 31 March, with packs to be sent out immediately afterwards to the selected schools.