Aspiring illustrator Ellan Rankin has been announced by Hatchette as this year's winner of the Carmelite Picture Book Prize.
The Cambridge School of Art student will receive the first prize of £1,000 and the opportunity to publish a book with author Jeanne Willis, working with Hachette imprint Hodder Children's Books. Her course tutor will also receive £500 sponsorship towards promoting the work of final-year students.
The prize, which launched in 2015, is an award designed to "recognise the most talented undergraduates" with the aim of encouraging and inspiring the next generation of illustrators for picture books. Students aged 18 and over, who are studying illustration and design at a further or higher education institution in the UK, are invited to submit two colour spreads and a visual plan for a whole book to Hachette.
This year's competition saw Willis provide the text from her picture book One and Only, with partipants submitting images to accompany the words.
Rankin said: "I loved Jeanne Willis' text for One and Only. It had this beautiful mixture of sadness and humour and I had a lot of fun trying to capture this within the imagery. Winning the Carmelite Prize is such an incredible opportunity and I’m so thankful to Hachette Children’s and everyone involved. Over the past few years I’ve seen artists and creators, who I admire, enter the competition and become successful. For me to now be a member of that group, I’m just shocked and amazed! It means so much to be associated with such a talented bunch, and to be able to make a connection with a publisher that I admire."
The second prize of £500 goes to Fiona Fogg, also at Cambridge School of Art, and the third prize of £250 is awarded to Aled Thompson at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Shelley Jane Crawford, studying at University of Central Lancashire, and Sophie Kent at Norwich University of the Arts were highly commended for their submissions. All five students will be offered a personal portfolio review from a Hachette Children’s group art director.
Hilary Murray Hill, c.e.o. of Hachette Children’s Group, said: "Even with talent and commitment, it’s hard to start a career in picture book illustration, and I’m delighted that Hachette Children’s Group gives this opportunity, attention and financial help to a number of students each year through the Carmelite Prize. My thanks to everyone who entered: I was impressed with the quality of entries, especially in a year with so many additional challenges. Huge thanks are also due to author Jeanne Willis for both a brilliant text, which gave the students such a lot to respond to and for giving her time, along with the other judges, to select the winners. Congratulations to Ellan, and all the other finalists."
Riko Sekiguchi who won first prize in 2018, published her first book Where the Sea Meets the Sky in May 2020.