Macmillan Illustration prize goes to 'outstanding, thought-provoking' Jake Alexander

News - Children Wednesday, 12 June 2019

More than 260 submissions for students' prize

The Macmillan Prize for Illustration 2029 has gone to Jake Alexander (Arts University, Bournemouth) for his picture book Can I Read My Books, Please? The prize, open to student illustrators, has uncovered talents including Emily Gravett and Lucy Cousins. There were more than 260 submissions this year.

The announcement took place yesterday (11 June) at the prize artwork exhibition at the Candid Arts Gallery in London. Second prize went to Arthur Vergani from the Cambridge School of Art/Anglia Ruskin University for The King's Share, and third prize went to Amy Steele from the University of Edinburgh for The Lunchbook. Steele had been highly commended for the award last year.

The judges were Macmillan Children's art and design director Chris Inns (chair); Two Hoots publisher Suzanne Carnell; Hannah Ray, editorial director 0-6; authors/illustrators Rob Biddulph and Alex T Smith; author and Sunday Times reviewer Nicolette Jones; and John Newman from the Newham Bookshop.

Alexander said of his winning entry: "I wanted to examine the horrifying systematic racism experienced by people of colour throughout our society, including the massive impact of funding cuts and library closures on those who rely on their books as a means of escape, and learning. Looking at issues like police brutality through the eyes of a child forced me to approach these topics with subtlety and tact."

Inns described Can I Read My Books, Please? as "outstanding, thought-provoking". He added: "After over 30 years of the Macmillan Prize for Illustration it's heartening to see that the high standard of creativity and invention are still very much in evidence. Yet again the submissions this year have been excellent, both in their creativity and also in the messages they convey. We at Macmillan would like to extend our thanks to the tutors for continuing to support the prize and to our splendid judges for being so generous with their time and expertise."

Photo: Jake Alexander

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