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Friday, 7 July, 2000, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Harry Potter beaten to top award
Harry Potter books
Harry Potter: Did not impress the judges
Queues may be forming around the block for the latest Harry Potter book but its author J K Rowling has been beaten to a prestigious literature award.

Postcards From No Man's Land by Aidan Chambers which deals with topics like adultery, euthanasia and homosexuality, scooped the Carnegie Medal.

The third Harry Potter book was on the shortlist but failed to win even a commendation from the judges.


I refuse to sell young people short by compromising on language or subject matter

Aidan Chambers
Former monk Mr Chambers, 65, said he was surprised to receive the award.

"The shortlist is so strong and my book is long and complex," he said. "Some people call it difficult, but I refuse to sell young people short by compromising on language or subject matter."

'Not patronising'

His book tells the story of 17-year-old Jacob's experiences in Amsterdam and the experiences of a dying Dutch woman, Geertrui, who recalls her love for a married English soldier during World War II.

The judges said Mr Chambers' book posed crucial questions, and did not patronise by giving easy answers.

"Young people nowadays are used to life and they want to think about it in imaginative terms," Mr Chambers said. "They like novels about it."

J K Rowling
J K Rowling: Her book did not even win a commendation
The Carnegie Medal was established in 1936 and has been awarded to some of the most famous names in children's literature, including C S Lewis.

J K Rowling's latest book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, goes on sale just after midnight BST on Saturday.

Speaking after the award ceremony, the author said she did not write to any specific formula.

"I just write what I want to write," she said.

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07 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Potter countdown begins
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