The third annual Academy of British Cover Design Awards (ABCD) have been revealed, with Waterstones Book of the Year 2015 winner Coralie Bickford Smith picking up her second award in four months for The Fox and the Star.
The awards, given in 10 categories, celebrate the best in UK-published book jacket design in 2015 and also saw creations for the covers of Louise O'Neill's Asking For It and Chris Kraus's I Love Dick win awards.
Attendees at the Underbelly bar in Hoxton, east London, last night (3rd March) were able to anonymously vote for their favourite design in each of the 10 categories from a shortlist of six titles, although the non-fiction category had double this number at 12 because the submissions had “ballooned” for non-fiction this year, according to ABCD co-founder Jon Gray.
In the Children’s category, the winner was Waterstones Book of the Year in 2015, The Fox and the Star (Particular Books), designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith. She beat off competition from the other shortlisted titles Hoot Owl by Sean Taylor (Walker Books), designed by Anne Louise Jones and illustrated by Jean Jullien; I am Henry Finch by Alexis Deacon (Walker), designed by Ben Norland and illustrated by Viviane Schwarz; Last Train from Kummersdorf by Leslie Wilson (Faber & Faber), designed by studiohelen; Liccle Bit by Alex Wheatle (Atom), illustrated by Dan Evans and designed by Sophie Burdess; and Oi Frog by Kes Gray (Hodder Children’s Books), illustrated by Jim Field and art directed by Jenny Stephenson.
In the Young Adult category, Kate Gaughran’s design for Asking for It by Louise O’Neill (Quercus) was the most popular choice on the evening, from a shortlist comprising of Birdy by Jess Vallance (Hot Key Books), designed by Jet Purdie; Killing the Dead by Marcus Sedgwick (Indigo), designed by Sinem Erkas; Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers (Macmillan Children’s Books), designed by Rachel Vale; Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You by Todd Hasak-Lowy (S&S Children’s Books), designed by Paul Coomey; and Night Owls by Jenn Bennett (S&S Children’s), designed by Leo Nickolls.
The Sci-Fi/Fantasy award was won by Ben Summers’ composition for A Man Lies Dreaming by Lavie Tidhar (Hodder & Stoughton), beating off competition from: Speak by Louisa Hall (Orbit), designed by Jack Smyth; The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood (Bloomsbury), designed by David Mann; The Tried and True Tales of Phineas Ichabod Rate by McKenzie Ruth (High Top Publishing), designed by Sinem Erkas, who also designed The Time of the Clockmaker by Anna Caltabiano (Gollancz); and Underground by S L Grey (Macmillan), designed by James Annal.
In the Mass Market category, designer Joanna Thomson won the award for her work on Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum (Mantle). The five shortlistees to miss out were: A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell (Fourth Estate), designed by Jo Walker; A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman (Tinder Press), designed by Ami Smithson; The Bees by Laline Paull (Fourth Estate), designed by Jo Walker; The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer (Faber), designed by Mark Swan; and The Mirror World of Melody Black by Gavin Extence (Hodder), illustrated by Fumio Watanabe and designed by Sarah Christie.
Meanwhile in a strong Literary Fiction category, the award was taken by Jon Gray for his livery for Memoirs of a Dipper by Nell Layshon (Fig Tree), beating off fellow shortlistees: One Point Two Billion by Mahesh Rao (Daunt Books), designed by Jonathan Pelham; Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper (Penguin), also designed by Gray; Purity by Jonathan Franzen (Fourth Estate), designed by Jonathan Pelham; Quicksand by Steve Toltz (Sceptre), designed by Ben Summers; and The Battle of Switzerland by Michael Dawkes (Bowvine Publications), designed by Paul Wolterink.
The Crime/Thriller category was secured by Penguin’s Richard Bravery for his design of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shafer, emerging from a shortlist that also included: The Catalyst Killing by Hand Olav Lahlum (Pan), designed by James Annal; The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (Transworld), designed by Claire Ward; The Invisible Man from Salem by Christoffer Carlsson (Scribe), designed by Jamie Keenan; The Killing of Bobbi Lomax by Cal Moriarty (Faber), designed by Alex Kirby; and The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel (Penguin), illustrated by Roberlan Borges and art directed by Nick Shah.
The 12-strong Non-Fiction shortlist was topped by Claire Skeats’ work on Egg by Blanche Vaughan (W&N), ahead of: A Moral Defense of Recreational Drug Use by Rob Lovering (AIAA), designed by Will Speed; Artwash: Big Oil and the Arts by Mel Evans (Pluto Press), designed by Jamie Keenan; Breakfast: Morning, Noon and Night by Fern Green (Hardie Grant), designed by Nicky Barneby; Charlotte Bronte: A Life by Claire Harman (Viking), designed by Gill Heeley and embroidered by Chloe Giordano; Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller (Picador Classic), designed by Justine Anweiler; Landscapes of Communism by Owen Hatherley (Allen Lane), created by design studio Fuel; Nopi by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury), designed by Here Design (@heredesign); The Seven Good Years by Edgar Keret (Granta), designed by Jon Gray; Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli (Allen Lane), designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith; Syriza by Kevin Ovenden (Pluto Press), designed by Jamie Keenan; and Visual Devices in Contemporary Prose Fiction by Simon Barton (Palgrave Macmillan), designed by Emma Hardy.
The Series Design gong was taken by Bookseller Rising Star alumni James Jones, for his art direction of Vintage’s Arthur Ransome series, from a shortlist that also included: Vintage 3D, art directed by Suzanne Dean and Rosie Palmer, and designed by David Foldvari, La Boca, Kai & Sunny and DAQ; Faber Members titles, art directed by Donna Payne; Penguin’s Nancy Mitford series, art directed by John Hamilton, designed by Alison O’Toole and illustrated by Lourdes Sanchez; a tranche of Puffin Classics, art directed by Anna Morrison; and the Pushkin Vertigo collection, designed by Jamie Keenan.
Another Bookseller Rising Star, Sinem Erkas, emerged victorious in the Classics/Reissues category for her adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (Orion), fending off competition from American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (Picador), designed by Neil Lang; Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse (Penguin), designed by Rol Overwekk; Once in a House on Fire by Andrea Ashworth (Picador), designed by Justine Anweiler; The Early Stories of Truman Capote (Penguin Classics), designed by David Pearson; and The Man in a Hurry by Paul Morand (Pushkin), also designed by Pearson alongside Paul Finn and Alistair Hall.
The final category, Women’s Fiction, was scooped by Peter Dyer for his design of I Love Dick by Chris Kraus (Serpent’s Tail), pipping the other five shortlistees: A Night in with Audrey Hepburn by Lucy Holliday (Harper), designed by Jane Harwood; All This has Nothing to do With Me by Monica Sabolo (Picador), designed by Justine Anweiler; The Marble Collector by Cecilia Ahern (HarperCollins), designed by Heike Schussler; The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Penguin), designed by Alison O’Toole; and the self-published title Unforgettable by Charlie Maclean, designed by Sinem Erkas.
Almost 1,000 entries were submitted to the ABCD’15 awards, with 10 judges whittling them down to the shortlisted entries. Central St Martins lecturer and cover designer Clare Skeats led a team of student volunteers to count the votes on the night.
An interview with the Academy of British Cover Design's co-founders, Jamie Keenan and Jon Gray, will run in next Friday’s edition of The Bookseller.