Christopher Paul


2018 Winner

Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People

Jury Citation

"Combining great personal warmth, humour, and a passion for Black history, Christopher Paul Curtis has gifted us with a dazzling, complex body of literature. Ever the wordsmith, he has given lively form and metaphoric resonance to vital subject matter, placing young readers deep inside his characters’ lives — whether it be 1849 Buxton, 1936 Flint, or 1963 Birmingham. Working against the sense of resolution that seems so obligatory in a lot of writing for children, his novels refuse easy redemptive arcs — bearing witness, instead, to the emotional and behavioural afterlife of love, tragedy, and violence. This commitment to truths and a timescape that take us beyond simple endings sets Curtis apart and demonstrates his deep respect for young people. It’s extraordinary that Curtis has offered this compassionate, honest, and respectful vision to young readers as part of their own future. Christopher Paul Curtis: we thank you for your wonderfully imagined stories, for the way you’ve captured characters as richly embodied subjects, for your honouring of Black struggle and survival, for your wicked/subversive sense of humour. You remind us of the power of seemingly small acts of tenderness and beauty against the vicious sweep of history but also of the role of stories and young people in beckoning new futures." —2018 Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People Jury (Deirdre Baker, Glen Huser, and Kyo Maclear)