AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics


This is a study examining which children’s and young adult’s fiction books have won the most prestigious literary awards during the last decade in Norway and England. The awards I am studying are the Norwegian Critic’s Awards for the best children’s and young adult’s book and the British Carnegie Medal in Literature. These two literary prizes are awarded by judges who belong within different professions; the Critic’s Award for the best children’s and young adult’s books is awarded by literary critics, and the Carnegie Medal in Literature is awarded by children’s librarians. By comparing the books that have won these prizes and the judges’ reasons for awarding them, my study tries to find out what the awarding can tell us about the view upon children’s literature and literary preferences amongst these two different groups of judges. Will, or will they not chose different types of books, and will, or will they not place emphasis on different aspects by the books when evaluating? The years of awarding studied in my thesis are the years 2002, 2004, 2005/2006, 2008 and 2010. By focusing on these years, a picture can be made to enlighten the awarding of the two prizes in our own time. Central for my thesis are the concepts of criticism developed by Monroe C. Beardsley, an American philosopher of art. His criteria for evaluating literature form the main, theoretical basis to determine how the two groups of judges assessed the books in my sample of years. To strengthen the material, the judges who were members of the Norwegian jury, were also asked to comment on how they evaluate children’s and young adult’s books in general. Theoretical perspectives taken from the French cultural sociologist Pierre Bourdieu also form an important basis for this study. Bourdieu highlights the importance of holding symbolic capital, and stress that in the last resort it is a struggle about doxa that decides which books and what literary taste that are to be preferred. In deciding what ultimately has influenced the awarding of the two prizes, this study finds Bourdieu’s perspective confirmed.