The Biennial of Illustration Bratislava (BIB) is one of the oldest international honours for children’s book illustrators. First granted in 1967 to Yasuo Segawa (Japan), it is one of the more prestigious children’s book awards today, along with the Hans Christian Andersen Awards. From the very beginning, BIB has been held under the auspices of UNESCO and the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) and with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Slovakia.
Winners are selected by an international jury.
Each country can enter a maximum of 15 participants who then submit up to 10 illustrations from up to two books. There are 11 awards, with a grand prize presented for unique and outstanding illustration:
- 1 Grand Prix
- 5 Golden Apples
- 5 Bronze Plaques
- 1 Honorary Mention Certificate to Publisher
The UK nominating bodies for this award are IBBY UK and The International Centre for the Picture Book in Society (ICPBS), based at Worcester University. This was established in 2016 as part of their shared commitment to diversity and promoting awareness of the international children’s book world. The collaboration is seen by both ICPBS and IBBY UK as a very important step. IBBY Chair, Pam Dix, says, “I am very keen to increase awareness of the Bratislava award in the UK particularly because of the status it awards to children’s illustration. I look forward to this being an ongoing collaboration between our two organisations.”
The winner of the Grand Prix 2021 was Elena Odriozola from Spain with her book Mixed Feelings. You can read about previous winners of all of the awards at www.bibiana.sk.
You can find a gallery of the 2021 IBBY UK entrants here.
The winner of the Grand Prix 2019 was Hassan Moosavi from Iran with his book Boxer.
You can find a gallery of the 2019 IBBY UK entrants here.
The winner of the Grand Prix 2017 was Ludwig Volbeda from the Netherlands with his book The Birds.
The IBBY UK entrants for the BIB have kindly allowed us to use their work throughout the IBBY UK website. You can find a gallery of their work here.
In the 50th year of the existence of the Biennial of Illustration Bratislava (BIB), the 2015 competition, IBBY UK was thrilled to announce that British illustrator Laura Carlin was awarded the Grand Prix for Iron Man and A World of Your Own in 2015. Levi Pinfold, another UK illustrator, received one of the five Bronze Plaques for his books Greenling and Black Dog.
- Take a look at the Guardian’s Children’s website for more on Laura Carlin and Levi Pinfold’s great work.
- Download a list of the UK nominations here.
The jury’s report on Laura Carlin stated:
“The Iron Man and A World of Your Own are two diverse narratives, both created in a confident and highly-skilled personal visual language in a variety of media.
Laura Carlin moves with ease, yet with great care between different moods, demonstrating both sensitivity and a sense of humour.
The smallest vignettes as well as double-paged illustrations are composed with care and the pages are paced to perfection. Innovative design-features are always functional, never applied in a flippant or gimmicky manner.
With a sense for detail as well as a clear view of the ‘whole’, these books are brilliant examples of a dialogue between technique and medium and an extensive frame of reference.”
The jury’s report on Levi Pinfold stated: “Magic realist and enigmatic story telling full of detail, persuades the reader to revisit each page. Pinfold creates an eerie and enigmatic tale in a setting reminiscent of the outback of the ‘New-Worlds’ in the first half of the twentieth century.”