Illustrator and author Nicola Kent has been awarded the inaugural Independent Booksellers’ Best New Illustrator Award, which celebrates new talent in children’s illustration, as voted for by independent booksellers across the country.
As part of her prize, Nicola has designed the cover for The Best New Kids Books 2019, an annual supplement published in The Guardian on the first Saturday of Independent Bookshop Week (15th June). She will also receive a £1,000 cash prize and £500 worth of books to donate to a library of their choice.
The prize aims to raise the profile of debut illustrators as well as recognising the valuable contribution that independent booksellers make to promoting new talent.
Shortly after graduating from Cambridge School of Art with an MA in Children’s Book Illustration, Nicola was highly commended in the Macmillan Prize for Illustration 2016. She now has three books published by Macmillan Children’s Books: The Strongest Mum; Vera Jewel is Late for School and Terry and the Brilliant Book. The Strongest Mum is available in eight co-editions and is currently shortlisted for The World Illustration Awards.
The 20-page supplement The Best New Kids Books Summer 2019 contains 129 titles ranging from babies to Young Adult, selected by publishers and independent booksellers.
This year, publishers and booksellers have featured a number of inclusive titles, such as The Whispers (Puffin), The Same But Different Too (Nosy Crow), Julian is a Mermaid (Walker Books), Heartstopper (Hodder Children’s Books), Wizard vs. Lizard (Simon & Schuster Children’s UK), High Rise Mystery (Knights Of), Kick the Moon (Macmillan Children’s Books), Watch Us Rise (Bloomsbury YA) and Black Enough (HarperCollins Children’s Books).
Hilary Murray Hill, CEO of Hachette Children’s Group and Chair of the Publishers Association’s Children’s Publishers Group, said: “As children’s publishers, we are proud to support illustrators from the earliest stages of their careers right through the years and books that may follow. We hope that by recognising excellence in emerging talent, we will encourage and inspire the next generation of illustrators.”
Nicola Kent, winner of the Independent Booksellers’ Best New Illustrator Award, said: “Independent bookshops play a hugely important role in supporting new voices like mine and in sharing a love of children’s books with their communities. I am absolutely delighted to have been voted best new illustrator by these wonderful people. It’s a very exciting time to be making children’s books. Our high tech world has turned us back to books that you can hold, with proper pages to turn, especially for our children, and what better portal to their myriad worlds than our local bookshops!”
Notes to editors
For interviews and any related or supplementary material, please contact:
The Publishers Association
020 7089 5819
- The Best New Kids Books Summer 2019 will be published in The Guardian on Saturday 15th June.
- The guide to the best new children's books is produced annually by the Publishers Association on behalf of the Children's Publishers Group, chaired by Hilary Murray Hill (CEO of Hachette Children’s Book Group).
- The guide is produced in collaboration with the Booksellers Association and contains a mixture of titles selected by publishers and independent booksellers.
- This year’s guide features 129 titles from 19 children's publishers, including: Andersen Press, b small publishing, Bloomsbury Publishing, Bonnier Books UK, DK, Egmont, Faber & Faber, Firefly Press, Hachette Children's Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Knights Of, Macmillan Publishers, Nosy Crow, Oxford University Press, Penguin Random House, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Wacky Bee Books and Walker Books.
- Follow the release of the guide on Twitter with the hashtag #BestNewKidsBooks.
- The inaugural Independent Booksellers’ Best New Illustrator Award celebrates the best new talent in children’s illustration, as voted for by independent booksellers.
- The award aims to recognise the valuable contribution that independent booksellers make to promoting new talent and to raise the profile of debut illustrators.
About Nicola Kent
Nicola Kent graduated from Cambridge School of Art with an MA in Children’s Book Illustration in 2016 and was Highly Commended in the Macmillan Prize for Illustration in the same year. She worked for ten years as a television producer for the BBC and Channel 4 before following her dream of making children’s books. Nicola lives in London with her partner, two children and a cat called Firelight.
About the Publishers Association
The Publishers Association represents book and journal publishers in the UK, spanning fiction and non-fiction, academic and education publishing in print and digital. UK publishing has a turnover of £5.7bn, with export income accounting for 60% of revenues. Our membership includes global companies such as Elsevier, Wiley, Pearson, Penguin Random House and Hachette, as well as many independent publishing houses and university presses. Our objective as an association is to provide our members with the influence, insight and support necessary to compete and prosper. http://www.publishers.org.uk | @PublishersAssoc
Independent Bookshop Week (IBW) was launched in 2006 and is part of the Books Are My Bag campaign run by the Booksellers Association of the UK & Ireland Ltd. It is a celebration of independent bookshops nationwide, and the role ‘indies’ play in their communities. Last year, the number of independent bookshops in Booksellers Association membership grew to 883 shops, up from 868 in 2017. The thirteenth annual IBW will take place from 15 – 22 June 2019, with hundreds of events taking place around the country. Follow #indiebookshopweek / @booksaremybag to learn more about the campaign, or visit: indiebookshopweek.org.uk
The Booksellers Association
The Booksellers Association is a membership organisation for all booksellers in the UK & Ireland. It represents over 95% of specialist booksellers selling new books. The BA exists to support, advise and work with its members to create excellent products for booksellers. These range from National Book Tokens, a gift card which drives footfall and keeps gift spending in the book trade; Batch, the award-winning payments service, which saves time, money and hassle when settling invoices and organising returns; a full range of money-saving affinity deals; a free Business Support Helpline; and a whole range of tailored promotional campaign work, including Bookshop Day, Books Are My Bag Readers Awards, World Book Day, the Christmas Books catalogue and Independent Bookshop Week.