News | August 24, 2015

The Folio Society and House of Illustration Announce the 2016 Book Illustration Competition

London—The Folio Society and House of Illustration continue the search for the next big illustration talent with the announcement of the 2016 Book Illustration Competition. Open for entries from 1 September, this year’s competition will invite participants to illustrate the popular modern classic War Horse by Michael Morpurgo, OBE.  

Returning for a sixth consecutive year, the competition is recognised for identifying and cultivating the best illustration talent both in the UK and overseas. The longlisted entries will be exhibited at House of Illustration from 29 January - 6 March 2016. The winner will be revealed at an exclusive ceremony at House of Illustration in February 2016 and will receive a prestigious commission worth £5,000 to illustrate The Folio Society edition of War Horse to be published Christmas 2016. In addition, five runners up will each receive £500.

Morpurgo will join the 2016 judging panel and has said of his involvement: ‘I am delighted that War Horse has been chosen by The Folio Society and the House of Illustration for this wonderful competition and I’m really looking forward to seeing the entries. Can’t wait to see Joey trotting out again in time for the 10th anniversary of the National Theatre’s amazing production.’

The panel also includes, from The Folio Society, Art Director Sheri Gee; Editor Johanna Geary and Limited Edition Director Joe Whitlock Blundell. Completing the knowledgeable line up is Director of House of Illustration, Colin McKenzie and 2015 BIC winner David McConochie.

The Folio Society Art Director Sheri Gee comments: ‘Since 2011, the Book Illustration Competition has discovered a wealth of talent, both those new to professional commissions and others for whom this is their first attempt at narrative illustration. War Horse will be a particular challenge for 2016, especially with the equestrian element - I'm really looking forward to seeing the plethora of entries and the interpretations on such a modern classic.’

Colin McKenzie, Director at House of Illustration, adds: ‘We are thrilled to secure War Horse as the book for the 2016 competition. It is a reflection of the success and high regard the competition has gained since launching and we’re very excited to uncover new talent from around the world.’

Last year’s competition received over 400 entries and gifted illustrator David McConochie was named as overall winner for his haunting depictions of ghostly apparitions for The Folio Book of Ghost Stories.  He commented on his triumph: ‘Winning the competition and illustrating the subsequent book for The Folio Society was a wonderful experience from start to finish. I feel immensely privileged not only to have joined a prestigious list of Folio illustrators but also in working with the team and receiving their invaluable expertise.’

To date the competition has uncovered an array of talented illustrators, including Ben Jones, who since being shortlisted in 2012 has lent his skills to illustrate The Folio Society’s edition of A Clockwork Orange and Kit Russell, shortlisted in both 2014 and 2015, who has recently illustrated their new collection of poems and songs by Robert Burns.

Matthew Richardson triumphed with his illustrations for Albert Camus’ The Outsider in the first competition in 2011 and has since gone on to win a prestigious V&A Illustration Award for his binding design for the book.

The Book Illustration Competition is a partnership between House of Illustration and The Folio Society. The annual international competition is open to illustrators over the age of 18 not previously published by The Folio Society, both student and professional. The winner will receive a prestigious Folio Society commission worth £5,000. Five runners up will each receive £500.

For over 65 years, The Folio Society has been publishing beautiful illustrated editions of the world's greatest books. It believes that the literary content of a book should be matched by its physical form. With specially commissioned illustrations, many of its editions are further enhanced with introductions written by leading figures in their fields: novelists, journalists, academics, scientists and artists. Exceptional in content and craftsmanship, and maintaining the very highest standards of fine book production, Folio Society editions last for generations.

House of Illustration is the UK's only public gallery dedicated solely to illustration, with a creative programme of exhibitions, talks and events. Founded by Sir Quentin Blake and opened in July 2014 at the heart of the King's Cross regeneration area, it is the place to see, learn about and enjoy illustration in all its forms; from advertisements to animation, picture books to political cartoons and scientific drawings to fashion design. A registered charity, House of Illustration identifies and promotes new illustration talent, commissions new work and has a pioneering illustrator-led education and outreach programme. 2 Granary Square, King's Cross, London N1C 4BH. @illustrationHQ