Students enjoy clean sweep at Macmillan awards

Published: 13 June 2013 at 16:17

Anglia Ruskin artists claim top four prizes in children’s picture book competition

Artists from Anglia Ruskin University have swept the board at the prestigious 2013 Macmillan Prize for Children’s Picture Book Illustration.

Now in its 28th year, the Macmillan Prize was established to nurture new talent and this year attracted over 350 entries from students at universities and colleges across the UK.

Jules Bentley won first prize and a cheque for £1,000 at the ceremony at Pan Macmillan’s London headquarters for Monsieur Kibble Gets a Big Surprise, while recent MA Children’s Book Illustration graduate Lara Robinson was runner-up for Flora Grows a Problem and WenDee Tan, an MA Children’s Book Illustration student, was awarded third place for Lili

To complete Anglia Ruskin’s clean sweep, second year BA (Hons) Illustration student Alex Prewett went home with a cheque for £500 after winning the Lara Jones Award, which focuses on books for babies or very young children, for I’m a...

Jules, who is in the second year of the MA in Children’s Book Illustration in Cambridge, said:

“I am absolutely thrilled to have won the Macmillan Prize 2013. The news came as a huge surprise as it’s something I have wanted for such a long time.
“I got the idea for Monsieur Kibble whilst working on the diploma project when I was drawing my two lazy cats at home, and the story is about a lonely musician who gets a very special present one day and finds he is catapulted into fatherhood!
“The two cats turn out to be rather high maintenance and poor Monsieur Kibble can’t even get on stage to play his piano. The audience are not very happy and Monsieur Kibble finds himself torn between taking care of the cats and performing on stage.
“It’s been great fun developing the book, but it’s very challenging to make your story work within a 32-page picture book format.
“I’m so happy that my hard work has paid off, I’m still having to pinch myself.  It’s an absolute dream come true and the cherry on the cake of what has been the most creatively exciting and rewarding time of my life on the MA Children’s Book Illustration course.”

Martin Salisbury, Professor of Illustration at Anglia Ruskin, said:

“For Jules to win the main prize was a fantastic achievement, particularly against such strong competition this year.  However, for Anglia Ruskin students to come away with the runner-up awards and the Lara Jones Award is remarkable.  I’m incredibly proud of all of them.”

This year’s judges were Michelle Pauli, Deputy Editor of the Guardian Books website; children’s picture book illustrators Tor Freeman and David Roberts; John Newman, bookseller at Newham Bookshop;  Emily Ford, Editorial Manager at Macmillan Children’s Books; and Chris Inns, Picture Books Art Director at Macmillan Children’s Books.

Commenting on Jules Bentley’s work, Chris Inns said:

“After a long day of judging over 300 entries, I read aloud Monsieur Kibble.  We all forgot what we were doing and were swept away.
“It is charming and warm and, as judge David Roberts pointed out, works because of the attention to detail – this book would stand rereading again and again – and works on a dual level for adults and children.  It is said that a good book works for the head, the heart and the hands, but with Monsieur Kibble the heart comes to the fore.”

On presenting Alex Prewett with the Lara Jones Award, Inns said:
“It is really worthwhile looking at the dummy of this book.  It is an elegant and simple design and the more you look the more you see.  This book has hidden depths to it.  We judges played with it a lot.”