Walker Books launches prize in tribute to late founder

Walker Books has launched an award for new illustration to help mark the 20th anniversary of the death of the company's founder, Sebastian Walker.

The Sebastian Walker Award will be run in collaboration with the MA course in Children's Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin University. It will be presented annually to the most promising graduate whose MA project will be considered on a first option basis by Walker Books.

Picture Book publisher Deirdre McDermott will head up the award at Walker Books along with Martin Salisbury at the Cambridge School of Art. McDermott said: "While we already have a relationship with the school, our links will develop through the award including visits  to the school to meet the students and by offering internships to students."

The inaugural award will be presented at the next graduation show in February 2012. Helen McAleer, managing director at Walker Books, said: "This award is a fitting tribute to Sebastian and also reflects Walker's ongoing commitment to finding and developing new illustrating talent. Just recently we were excited to welcome Birgitta Sif to the Walker list—a former Cambridge School of Art student herself."

Walker Books has a two-book deal with Sif and her first book Oliver will publish in autumn 2012.