Mark lands inaugural Hachette illustration award

Published: 4 May 2016 at 11:02

An illustration of a cat poking its head through a gap in the wall

Illustrator wins £1,000 and book deal as fellow students make the V&A’s shortlist

Untitled PageAnglia Ruskin University student Mark Nicholas has been named as the inaugural winner of the Carmelite Prize, a new illustration award run by Hachette Children’s Group.

The winner was announced by Hilary Murray Hill, CEO of the Hachette Children’s Group, and the prize is named after Carmelite House, the publishers’ London headquarters.

News of Mark’s success came as two fellow MA Children’s Book Illustration students were named on the five-strong shortlist for V&A Illustration Awards 2016 Student Illustrator of the Year prize.  Kate Milner and Katyuli Lloyd will discover if they’ve won the £3,000 prize during a ceremony at the V&A Museum in London on 23 May.

Hachette’s Carmelite Prize was open to all students of illustration and design in the UK, and entrants were tasked with illustrating a new picture book text by celebrated author-illustrator Cressida Cowell.  The Story of Tantrum O’Furrily, the tale of an adventurous young cat, was written especially for the competition.

Mark, who will be offered a contract to illustrate the full text of The Story of Tantrum O’Furrily as well as £1,000 prize money, said: “It is a wonderful surprise and an honour to be awarded the Carmelite Prize.  

“I fell in love with Cressida Cowell’s picture book text for The Story of Tantrum O'Furrily as soon as I read it; for my illustrations and interpretation of the story to gain such recognition is by far my greatest achievement.”

Originally from York, Mark’s creative career began as a model maker and he worked on the CBBC stop-motion animation ‘Rubbadubbers’.  Having decided to switch to illustration, Mark secured a place on the MA Children’s Book Illustration course at Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge School of Art.  Last year Mark won the Lara Jones Award run by Macmillan.

Author and judge Cressida Cowell said: 

“I had given the illustrators quite a challenge – The Story of Tantrum O’Furrily is not a simple text.  I was enormously impressed with the skill and sophistication of Mark’s work.  He illustrates with flair and imagination and he’s captured the humour and the rhythm of the story.”

Fellow judge Florentyna Martin, Waterstones Children’s Book Buyer, said: 


“Mark’s use of light, shade and perspective is the perfect complement to Cressida’s story-within-a-story. 

“Above this, his manipulation of the text and illustrations to create storytelling pace felt incredibly accomplished and – in such a competitive field – will undoubtedly act as an inspiration to future entries of the Carmelite Prize.”