Berner and Wenxuan win Hans Christian Andersen Award

Berner and Wenxuan win Hans Christian Andersen Award

German illustrator Rotraut Susanne Berner and Chinese author Cao Wenxuan have been honoured with the 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Award.

Berner saw off competition from Pejman Rahimizadeh from Iran, Alessandro Sanna from Italy, Suzy Lee from the Republic of Korea and Marit Törnqvist from the Netherlands, while Cao beat off writers Louis Jensen from Denmark, Mirjam Pressler from Germany, Ted van Lieshout from the Netherlands and Lois Lowry from the US.

The judges said of Berner's work: "Berner never talks down to her audience and yet her books are unmistakably for children. Children all over the world deserve to be exposed to her brilliant, humane, rich, emotionally true and deeply engaging books."

Cao was the "unanimous choice of the jury". According to the judges: "Cao writes beautifully about the complex lives of children facing great challenges. He is a deeply committed writer, whose own difficult childhood has been deeply influential on his writing in which there are no easy answers. Cao is a great example of how writing wonderful prose and telling stories about brave children facing tremendous difficulties and challenges can attract a very wide and committed child readership as well as helping to shape a literary tradition in China that honors the realities of children’s worlds."

The awards were presented by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), a non-profit organisation that represents an international network of people who are committed to bringing books and children together.

The Hans Christian Andersen Award is given biennially to a living author and illustrator whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to children's literature. The nominations are made by the National Sections of IBBY and the winners are chosen by an international jury of children’s literature specialists.

The winners receive a prize of US$ 10,000 (£6,000) and a diploma.