Kevin Brooks’ Bunker Diary that won UK’s top prize for children’s literature, the Carnegie medal, this week is now in the middle of a ‘‘suitability’’ controversy.
The book is narrated as a diary by a kidnapped boy held hostage in a bunker with five others. Their mysterious captor subjects them to psychological torture and the novel lacks a happy ending.
Literary critics, however, have slammed the book claiming it won ‘‘on shock value rather than merit’’. In an article in The Telegraph, Lorna Bradbury called the novel ‘‘a uniquely sickening read’’. The judges this year and several children’s book groups have defended the novel. Helen Thompson, from the CILIP Carnegie judging panel, said the novel was ‘‘superbly well-written’’ and ‘‘being devoured by young people’’ across the UK.
Brooks said ‘‘Children–and teens–don’t need to be cosseted with artificial hope that there will always be a happy ending.’’