Camille wins Stratford Literary Festival prize

Published: 14 February 2017 at 15:22

Camille Whitcher

Anglia Ruskin University graduate’s Moon Rabbit story was inspired by her mother

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Anglia Ruskin University graduate Camille Whitcher has won the prestigious Salariya Book Prize at the Stratford Literary Festival with her magical tale Moon Rabbit, based on Far East folk legend.

Camille will have her book published by Salariya imprint, Scribblers, and will receive a £5,000 advance against royalties from Salariya and advice from leading illustration agent, Jodie Hodges of United Agents.

A 2016 graduate from the MA Children’s Book Illustration course at Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge School of Art, Camille’s work was inspired by her Japanese mother.

Camille said:

“She told me about Otsukimi (moon-viewing) festival which honours the autumn moon, and how people ‘offer’ food to the moon. She wasn’t sure about whether this involved any rabbits but as a rabbit lover myself, I had to put them together into a story!”

The competition was open to debut writers and illustrators and was judged by a panel including Ashley King of Waterstones and Tereze Brikmane of the children’s bookshop Tales on Moon Lane.

Illustrator Sarah McIntyre, who was also on the judging panel, said:

“Camille Whitcher is a very deserving winner of the Stratford-Salariya picture book prize. All the best bedtime stories end with the character’s own bedtime, and this one is no exception!

“I was won over by the enchanting illustrations, the rhythm of the storytelling and the dream-like quality of the narrative. I’m very much looking forward to introducing this fantastic picture book to our readers.”

The shortlist for the prize also included current MA students Josephine Birch and Rachel Quarry. Moon Rabbit will be published later this year.

Meanwhile MA Children’s Book Illustration student Rachel Stubbs has won this year’s Sebastian Walker Award for Illustration, along with a cheque for £500.

Established in 2011 in honour of Walker Books’ founder Sebastian Walker, the award celebrates new talent in children’s illustration and is run in collaboration with the MA in Children’s Book Illustration course at Anglia Ruskin.

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

“The Sebastian Walker Award is a great inspiration for our students. Seeing so many graduates of the MA course, and not just winners of the award, published by Walker gives encouragement to everyone.  We are indebted to Walker for their continuing support.”