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About the Award

The Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People is given annually to the author of an exceptional body of work in children's literature. The winner is selected by a three-member, independent judging panel.

2023 Winner


Jury Citation

The author of nineteenpicture books, Kyo Maclear dives into subjects as clearly defined as the life of an artist, to those as amorphous as a city, a fog, or a spell of depression. Her prose is clean, clear, and restrained; at the same time, it’s subtly poetic, mingling unpredictable imagery, dialogue, and situations with evocative — sometimes even startling — effect.  

It’s a testament to Maclear’s creativity, unexpected perspectives, and varied subject matter that her publishers have chosen to have her stories illustrated by a wide variety of artists. The artists’ dramatically different styles, mixed media and inventiveness open manifold nuances of meaning, joyously confirming the bounty ofinterpretive possibilities in her work.   

What makes her stories most extraordinary is that they are allusive, suggestive, a mode of approaching what is vital, but puzzling. Instead of giving directions or answers, she invites interpretation and pondering, awakening curiosity, imagination and understanding through unusual imagery. Using wordplay, she can surprise her readers with what seems a direct, simple narrative, but instead provides humour, rich insight, and deeper questioning.  

Author Page
“There’s nothing like being the author of the first book a kid ever reads or remembers—and all of us remember our favourite children’s book. ”

– Marthe Jocelyn

2009 Vicky Metcalf Award winner