Awards: Bologna Children’s Book Fair Names Its 56th Illustrators’ Exhibition Winners

In News by Porter Anderson

This year, Bologna Children’s Book Fair’s Illustrators’ Exhibition features winning work from 78 artists in 29 international markets.

A winning illustration by Germany’s Josefine Maier. Image: BCBF

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

A Record Number of Submitting Participants: 3,873
Those of us who cover world publishing’s trade shows and book fairs notice something special about Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Under Elena Pasoli’s faithful direction, this show—the world’s largest international trade show in the children’s sector—is as much about the industry’s artists as it is about its writers.

That shouldn’t be underestimated. The reason that the Seattle-born illustrator Sarah McIntyre in the United Kingdom has for years pressed the message of her #PicturesMeanBusiness campaign, asking that illustrators be given appropriate credit alongside authors. Artwork is as much a part of the storytelling power of much children’s content as are its often superb authors.

And the “business” part? When a parent walks down an aisle in a bookstore, it’s not the author’s deathless prose that catches Mom or Dad’s eye. It’s the artwork on the cover. Indeed, as a series develops and an author’s body of work grows, it’s that illustrator’s work that may well come to signal their shared creation. “Oh, look, another ____ book” almost always starts with a visual cue.

Elena Pasoli

Pasoli knows this. She and her team promote this collaborative factor in children’s literature. When you walk into BolognaFiere’s central hall, you find it filled with long tables of winning illustrations, lamps at the ready for close inspection.

The mechanism by which those illustrations are chosen is the competitive Illustrators’ Exhibition.

And that’s what has produced the list you see below of 78 artists from 29 nations and territories.

The jury this year started with entries from a staggering 3,873 participants in 92 countries and regions. That’s a record.

An Initial 19,365 Illustrations Submitted

A winning illustration by Iranian artist Mona Amoli. Image: BCBF

How many illustrations are submitted by 3,873 artists? 19,365. Too many to contemplate on a Monday. Which is why it’s important to thank the jurors:

  • Barroux, an illustrator and author in France
  • Nana Furiya, illustrator and author, Japan
  • Agata Loth-Ignaciuk, who founded Warsaw’s Wydawnictwo Druganoga
  • Irene Savino, a graphic designer, illustrator and artistic director with Caracas’ Ediciones Ekaré
  • Valerio Vidali, an illustrator and author in Italy

Organizers stress that the jury process puts both image quality and narrative technique at the top of its various criteria. And the work of 318 finalists will be shown through Bologna’s site and social-media channels.

Once the trade show (March 21 to 24) is over, it’s this body of 78 winning groups of illustrations that form the basis of the show’s traveling exhibition. The first stop this time is slated to be Japan, with showings at Itabashi Art Museum; Nishinomya City Otani Memorial Art Museum; Ishikawa Nanao Art Museum; and Ota City Museum of Art and Library. Venues in China and South Korea are next on the itinerary.

Corraini Edizioni in Mantua is to publish the exhibition catalogue, its cover alternating each year between an illustration from the winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Prize or the Bratislava Illustration Biennial. (Edena Odrionzola, winner of the Bratislava grand prize for 2021, will have her work featured on the cover of the catalogue, and she’ll have a personal exhibition of her work at the trade show.

Lastly, there’s an Ars in Fabula grant award from the picture book academy of that name. That one annually goes to an unpublished artist younger than 30 from the main exhibition process to work on a book with a mentor in the Ars in Fabula training program based in central Italy’s Macerata.

Winners in the 2022 Bologna Illustrators’ Exhibition

Those artists in the exhibition who are younger than 35 are automatically entered in another competition, the International Award for Illustration at the fair, which provides its winner with a €15,000 (US$17,183) scholarship for the completion of an illustrated book.

A winning illustration by Emilie Josso of France. Image: BCBF

Another young artist is chosen to create the 2023 Bologna fair’s visual identity with the design studio Chialab. (The Mexican illustrator Sólin Sekkur is behind the graphic art for this year’s program.)

Artists here are listed by their alphabetized surnames, then first names, then nations.

  • Aizawa, Fumi Japan
  • Amoli, Mona Iran
  • Baba Koohi, Mohammad, Iran
  • Ballboss, Taiwan
  • Ben Zaken, Lior, Israel
  • Biedrzycka Ala, Flora, Poland
  • Blankenaar, Dale, South Africa
  • Bulay, Elena, Russia
  • Catalina Ledesma, Raquel, Spain
  • Chen, Yinju, Taiwan
  • Choi, Dani, South Korea
  • Crahay, Anne,Belgium
  • Cyrén, Karin, Sweden
  • Dong, Jam, China
  • Dong, Yang, China
  • Doroshenko, Polina, Ukraine
  • Drobova, Yuliya, Uzbekistan
  • Fillová, Terézia, Slovakia
  • Ginard, Pere, Spain
  • Guardiola, Marcos, Spain
  • Habib,i Rad Sana, Iran
  • Huang, Yi-wen,Taiwan
  • Ivanenko, Hanna, Ukraine
  • Josso, Emilie, France
  • Kim, Jihyoung, South Korea
  • Kim, Kyoungshin, South Korea
  • Kim, Meehwa, South Korea
  • Kitamura, Maiko, Japan
  • Klimova, Katya, Russia
  • Kubota, Hiroko, Japan
  • Lavender, Eleanor, United Kingdom
  • Lee, Soon Ok, South Korea
  • Lemaire, Charlotte, France
  • Li, Taoyu, China
  • Lin, Lian-en, Taiwan
  • Liu, Joanne, China
  • Liu, Longsha, China
  • Lopez, Andres, Mexico
  • Maier, Josefine, Germany
  • Máray, Mariann, Hungary
  • Matsusaki, Ana, Brazil
  • Mijangos, Amanda, Mexico
  • Mohammaddi, Narges, Iran
  • Montoya, Escobar Manuela, Colombia
  • Munoz, Claros Andres, Colombia
  • Na, Eunkyung, North Korea
  • Na, Il Sung, South Korea
  • Nesterenko, Maria, Russia
  • Oh, Sena, South Korea
  • Ordinola, Guerra Fátima, Peru
  • Ourghanlian, Alice, France
  • París, Ramón, Venezuela
  • Park, Hyunmin, South Korea
  • Pascual De La Torre, María, Spain
  • Pastorino, Giulia, Italy
  • Pez, Ana, Spain
  • Plats, Marja-liisa, Estonia
  • Primavera, Eleonora, Italy
  • Pudalov, Natalie, Israel
  • Romero, Marchesini Nadia Soledad, Argentina
  • Rosas, Moncada Gina, Colombia
  • Rose, Tilda, United States
  • Ruotolo, Flavia, Italy
  • Rusan, Klara, Croatia
  • Sadeghian Noushin, Iran
  • Schvartz, Claire, France
  • Smith, Rosalie, United Kingdom
  • Suh, Sunjung, South Korea
  • Sztyma, Marianna, Poland
  • Takahashi, Yuji, Japan
  • Torrent, Daniel, Spain
  • Tsou, Page, Taiwan
  • Val, Elena, Spain
  • Verlinden, Adèle, France
  • Vola, Noemi, Italy
  • Yu, Chih-chun, Taiwan
  • Yu, Yin, China
  • Zhao, Niaoer, China

A winning illustration by Venezuelan artist Ramón París. Image: BCBF

More from Publishing Perspectives on Bologna Children’s Book Fair is here, more from us on children’s books is here, more on illustration is here, more on publishing and book awards is here, and more on world publishing’s trade shows and book fairs is here

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.