V&A Illustration Awards 2020 Shortlist Announcement

National Art Library
April 8, 2020

Today the V&A announces the shortlisted artists for the V&A Illustration Awards 2020, a celebration of excellence in student and published illustration over the last year.

From imaginary worlds and fairy-tales to the difficult reality of life in a refugee camp, this year’s shortlist demonstrates the versatility and breadth of contemporary illustration.


Book Cover Award Shortlist

  • The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino. Illustrated by Kustaa Saksi. Published by Vintage Classics. More info
  • Night Theatre by Vikram Paralkar. Illustrated by Eleanor Taylor. Published by Serpent’s Tail. More info
  • When Sadness Comes to Call by Eva Eland. Published by Andersen Press. More info

Book Illustration Award Shortlist

  •  Hansel & Gretel: A Nightmare in Eight Scenes by Simon Armitage. Illustrated by Clive Hicks-Jenkins. Published by Design for Today. Art Direction by Laurence Beck. More info
  •  Kindred by Octavia E. Butler. Illustrated by James E. Ransome. Published by The Folio Society. More info
  • Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder. Illustrated by Sandra Rivola. Published by The Folio Society. More info

Illustrated Journalism Award Shortlist 

  • The History Behind 1984 by Dorain Lynskey. Illustrated by Ben Jones. Published by BBC World Histories. More info
  •  ‘How Twitter is gagging Arabic users and acting as morality police’ by Wael Eskander. Illustrated by Ann Kiernan. Published by Open Democracy. More info
  • All Change by Elizabeth Nicholas. Illustrated by Gabriella Mussurakis. Published by Soho Magazine. More info

The judges for the published categories are Bonnie Greer, playwright, novelist, critic and broadcaster, Ren Renwick, CEO of the Association of Illustrators and Dr Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A Museum. 


Student Illustrator of the Year 2020 Shortlist

  • The Catmolean Museum by Laura Winstone. Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge School of Art). More info
  • Home in the Kakuma Refugee Camp by Sally Dunne. Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge School of Art). More info
  • Lascaux by Kate Winter. Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge School of Art). More info
  • Starring Night by Ruo Hsin Wu. Royal College of Art. More info
  • The Wave by Vyara Boyadjieva. Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge School of Art). More info

The judging panel for the Student Award comprises Sheri Gee, Art Director at The Folio Society and Yehrin Tong, Illustrator and past winner of the V&A Illustration Awards.

The winners of the four categories – Book Illustration, Book Cover Design, Illustrated Journalism and Student Illustrator of the Year – will each receive a £3000 prize and trophy. The Student Runner-Up will receive £2000 and a trophy. The overall winner will receive an additional £5000 and will be honoured with the Moira Gemmill Illustrator of the Year prize, named in memory of the late Moira Gemmill, the V&A’s former Director of Design.

Free to enter each year, the Awards are integral to the V&A’s mission to inspire and promote creativity.

It showed me that my work is good enough. To be shortlisted for that project gave me the confidence I needed to believe in my own ideas and to keep doing more self-initiated projects

Alva Skog, Student Commended Shortlist 2018. Read More.

It made me believe in myself and my work and that what I was making wasn’t in vain. That belief comes and goes but I have my award in my studio to remind and encourage me.

Helen Musselwhite, Editorial and Overall Winner 2014. Read more.

The exposure has had such positive effects on my career with interest in my work coming from all different sectors of design.

Yehrin Tong, Book Cover Design Award 2015 and 2019. Read more. 


This year’s entries are available to view in our online gallery

The winners will be announced on Tuesday 2 June. 

Visit the V&A Illustration Awards website and sign up to our mailing list at www.vam.ac.uk/illustrationawards. Contact us at villa@vam.ac.uk

The Awards are generously supported by the Enid Linder Foundation


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