Anglia Ruskin students sweep the board at Macmillan event

Published: 24 May 2011 at 11:37

Gemma wins £1,000 first prize in national children’s book illustration competition

Anglia Ruskin University students were the stars of the show at this year’s Macmillan Prize for Children’s Picture Book Illustration awards in London last night.

For the second year in succession, an MA Children’s Book Illustration student from Anglia Ruskin has taken the £1,000 first prize in the prestigious national competition. The second prize, of £500, also went to an Anglia Ruskin student, as did five of the 13 Highly Commended awards.

After Mike Smith’s success last year with Edward Hopper and the Carrot Crunch, Gemma Merino’s The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water took the award this time, with Elys Dolan’s Weasels claiming the runners-up prize.  Jemima Sharpe, Vanya Nastanlieva, Harriet Muncaster, Caroline Tye and Tonca Uza came away with Highly Commended awards.

Professor Martin Salisbury, the MA Children’s Book Illustration Course Leader, said:

“The success of Gemma and Elys in this prestigious national competition, coming after Mike Smith’s win and subsequent contract with Macmillan last year, is a source of great pride for those of us involved with the MA Children’s Book Illustration course.

“The news coincides with the announcement that the course has won major funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council for student scholarships at MA and PhD level.

“It also emphasises the ongoing re-emergence of Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin as a significant regional, national and international provider for Art and Design courses.”

An exhibition of the winning entries is being staged at The Gallery at Foyles Bookshop, on Charing Cross Road in London, until 27 May. This year’s judging panel included the million-selling author-illustrators Axel Scheffler and Emily Gravett, as well as the Guardian’s children’s book critic Julia Eccleshare.

The winning students will shortly be meeting with Macmillan editors to discuss possible book deals, with a view to joining the likes of MA Children’s Book Illustration graduates Kazuno Kohara, Mike Smith, Rebecca Patterson, Paula Metcalf and Marta Altes who are now signed up to the publisher.