News | February 20, 2015

David McConochie Wins The 2015 Book Illustration Competition


London 19 February 2015—The Folio Society and House of Illustration are thrilled to announce David McConochie as the winner of the fifth annual Book Illustration Competition—a unique partnership between The Folio Society and House of Illustration. David was presented with his prize, a prestigious commission worth £5,000 to illustrate The Folio Book of Ghost Stories, at an exclusive ceremony held at House of Illustration HQ on Thursday, 19 February. 

David McConochie beat nearly 400 other entries and his evocative illustrations won high praise from the judging panel. David came to London from Durham in 2005 to complete an MA in Illustration at Central Saint Martins. His work, created in his studio in East London, has been applied across various printed media from book covers to a limited edition postage stamp for the Royal Mail.

Runners-up were announced as Emma Buckley, Jamie Clarke, Imogen CliftonCharlie Dixon and Carrie May. Emma (University of the West of England), Imogen (University of the West of England) and Charlie (University of Westminster) are the three student entrants in the final six. This year, all the finalists are based in the UK, except Jamie Clarke. Although born in the UK, Jamie currently lives in Sydney, Australia.

Eminent author Susan Hill joined the panel in their deliberations and commented on the finalists work: ‘It has been a great pleasure to be involved in the 2015 Book Illustration Competition, I am so impressed with the standard of entries, the future of the industry looks very bright indeed.’

Editor of the book and panellist Mandy Kirkby commented: ‘David’s illustrations are beautiful and chilling. I think they work so well with the stories which often, as so many ghost stories do, leave a great deal to the imagination. He has closed the gap for the reader, but still leaves a little left over for us to think about.’ 

2014 winner and member of the 2015 judging panel, Sean McSorley commented on the exceptional talent: ‘It was great fun to be part of the judging process. The strength of the longlist and the range of expertise and perspectives in the panel made for a highly energetic discussion with a number of twists and turns. We ended up with a remarkable shortlist and a thoroughly deserving winner.’

Folio Society Art Director, Sheri Gee commented: ‘Before judging this year's competition I don't think I appreciated how difficult it is to illustrate ghost stories, to produce an illustration as spine-chilling as the story it conveys. I think the winner has managed it expertly and I truly look forward to seeing how they'll carry it through to the full commission.’

Joe Whitlock Blundell, The Folio Society Limited Editions Director said: ‘Selecting the shortlist from a strong longlist is always difficult and singling out the eventual winner even more so. This year was no exception however I feel that David is a wonderful choice. His rich and atmospheric illustrations leave just enough room for the reader's imagination, which is essential when illustrating ghost stories.’

Colin McKenzie, Director of House of illustration said: ‘Judging this year’s Book Illustration Competition has been an absolute pleasure. What’s really exciting about the 2015 competition is the amount of talent we’re seeing from students.’

The Folio Book of Ghost Stories illustrated by David McConochie will be available from The Folio Society ( in September 2015.

Image credit: David McConochie. Courtesy of the Folio Society.