It was a huge excitement to be among those attending the ceremony at Foyles Bookshop last night for the announcement of the Klaus Flugge Prize Shortlist.
The Klaus Flugge Prize honours publisher Klaus Flugge, a remarkable influence in picture books, and founder of Andersen Press. The Prize awards a published picture book by a debut illustrator with past winners including Nicholas John Frith and Francesca Sanna.
The award is run by some of the most prominent figures in children’s books including Julia Eccleshare, children’s books editor of The Guardian, children’s director of the Hay Festival and Anne Marley MBE co-director of Authors Aloud UK. From an impressive longlist of fifteen picture books by debut illustrators, a panel of judges comprising Children’s Laureate and acclaimed illustrator Lauren Child; Francesca Sanna, 2017 Klaus Flugge Prize winner; leading art director Goldy Broad; and Charlotte Colwill, head of children’s books at Foyles, selected a shortlist of five. Judging by the amazing books on the longlist it must have been a tough decision!
The evening began with a conversation between Julia Eccleshare and Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child, who spoke about how she creates her brilliant books, her path to publication and generally inspired the audience about the art of illustration! “Illustration is like poetry….it’s an art form in it’s own right” she said. It was really quite wonderful and every time I hear someone who creates children’s stories speak like this, I immediately want to put them in front of a crowd of children so they can inspire the next generation of story makers! After the chat, Lauren went on to announce the shortlist spending a few moments to share why each book had been chosen and what had stood out for the judging panel:
The Night Box, Ashling Lindsay (Egmont)
Written by Louise Greig, editor Melissa Fairley, art editor Tiffany Leeson. Ashling Lindsay is an illustrator with huge potential. This is very accomplished technically, beautifully evocative and the judges were struck by the skilful composition.
My Name is Not Refugee, Kate Milner, (Barrington Stoke) Editor Emma Hargrave, art editor Julie-Ann Murray. Mood and emotion are beautifully portrayed; Milner chooses to use a limited palette but avoids making it too dark; she draws really well and the book’s construction always leaves space for the reader.
Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover, Markus Motum, (Walker Studio) Editor Denise Johnstone-Burt, art editor Louise Jackson. Motum is definitely an illustrator to watch. Though this is an information book, you feel there is a story being told, with pace and animation. His work reminded the judges of iconic Czech illustrator M Sasek.
The Real Boat, Victoria Semykina, (Templar)
Written by Marina Aromshtam, editors Katie Howarth & Lisa Edwards, art editor Genevieve Webster and Maya Schleifer. There are absolutely beautiful illustrations within the book, some of them exquisitely good, and the judges are excited to see what Semyinka will do next. They particularly admire the skilful change of scale that occurs throughout the little boat’s journey.
Big Box, Little Box, Edward Underwood (Bloomsbury) Editor Emma Blackburn. Colour and detail in Underwood’s book are both very pleasing indeed; graphically it is a stand-out picture book with superb use of colour and composition. There’s a slight sense of Lynley Dodd in the way the layout carries you through the story.
Chair of the judges Julia Eccleshare said: “Our expert judges were presented with a very varied set of picture books and have selected a shortlist that feels exciting and full of potential. Each artist, in their different way, successfully guides readers into and through the stories they are telling via their illustration. We were delighted once again to announce the list live at a special event; picture book illustration, as championed by Klaus Flugge throughout his career, deserves proper recognition as an important and vital art form.”
The winner will be revealed at an award ceremony in London on Wednesday 12th September 2018 and will receive a cheque for £5,000. For more information about the award visit https://www.klausfluggeprize.co.uk/shortlist-2018/.