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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 July 2006, 13:49 GMT 14:49 UK
Newcomer Peet wins Carnegie prize
Author Mal Peet has won the Carnegie Medal for children's writing, beating off competition from four previous Carnegie winners.

Peet's second novel, Tamar, is the story of a teenage girl who discovers a tale of two men caught up in secret operations in World War Two.

David Almond, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Geraldine McCaughtream and the late Jan Mark were also on the shortlist.

Previous winners include Terry Pratchett and Philip Pullman.

Last year's awards ceremony was cancelled due to the London bombings.

Peet used his acceptance speech to ask for greater tolerance, and to extol the virtues of reading.

"Reading is anti-fundamentalist. Fundamentalism - of any variety - is a form of illiteracy in that it asserts that it is necessary to read only one book," he said.

He also criticised US and British foreign policy.

"Three hundred years ago, Jonathan Swift wrote a satire called The Battle of the Books; it would be great if Bush and Blair could be helped to read it," he said.

"It has a great deal to say about the 'collateral damage' that is incurred when violence is used in a battle over the printed word.

"They might also discover that when it comes to struggling with fundamentalism, there are arsenals packed with weapons of mass education in all our towns and cities. They are called libraries."

Peet's first novel, Keeper, is a story about football - his third novel, The Penalty, follows on from his debut and is published in September.

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