Illustration student Viola Wang revealed as the winner of the prestigious
Sebastian Walker Award for Illustration
Walker Books is very pleased to announce that Viola Wang has been awarded the 7th annual Sebastian Walker Award for Illustration. Viola’s illustration stood apart from a group of MA students’ work that was this year, once again, exceptional. Viola will be awarded her prize at a private viewing of the exhibition in the Candid Arts Gallery in Islington on Thursday 15th February, 2018.
Set up in honour of Walker’s founder, Sebastian Walker, this award is dedicated to discovering and celebrating exciting new unpublished illustration talent. The Sebastian Walker Award was created in 2011 and is partnered with Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge School of Art and their MA course in Children’s Book Illustration. Walker Books have published more than 20 books by Cambridge School of Art graduates since Birgitta Sif’s Greenaway Medal shortlisted Oliver in 2012 and continue to work with many previous award winners and shortlistees.
About Viola Wang:
“I was born and raised in Beijing, China. Having spent ten years in England, I fully embrace the multicultural environment in London, to the point where diversity and equality have become my main focus – understanding where we come from and learning about other cultures. I see diversity as an increasingly important feature of children’s literature. I want the children who read my books to experience a wide range of information and views, so that they will grow up with their own opinions about – and solutions for – the world around them.”
"I know that my brother, Sebastian Walker, who founded Walker Books nearly four decades ago, would have been incredibly proud of his company as it exists today – maintaining its independence and continuing to publish vibrant and relevant picture books for children everywhere. Walker Books remains the same generous and inclusive company as it was when it was originally conceived by Sebastian, and which is reflected in their giving this award in his memory to an outstanding student at the Cambridge School of Art.”
Professor Martin Salisbury, MA Children’s Book Illustration, Cambridge School of Art said:
“The Sebastian Walker Award is a brilliant inspiration for all our students. Seeing so many graduates of the MA course, and not just winners of the award, published by Walker gives encouragement to everyone. We are indebted to Walker for their continuing support.”
Deirdre McDermott, Walker Picture Book Publisher and Creative Director said:
Viola’s fresh and original work captured our attention from the moment we opened her portfolio. Her pictures combine a contemporary sense of style with bold colour with a strong understanding of artistic composition to create artwork that is truly striking. A concern for diverse representation and an intuition for the child’s perspective are threaded through her work, and we admire how her art seeks to explore and express the rich variety of our world. We look forward to seeing her first picture book and to watching her flourish into an exciting and relevant picture book maker.
This year we also remember our dear Louise Power, who passed away last year. Louise was our Art Department Manager at Walker for more than 25 years. She was heavily involved with, and so inspired by, the Sebastian Walker Award and we have truly missed her valuable and insightful contribution this year.
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Sebastian Walker’s death in 2011, Walker Books established a brand new illustration award for students in his memory. The award is run in collaboration with the MA course in Children’s Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin University.
Walker Books Picture Book Publisher and Creative Director Deirdre McDermott and her colleague Executive Art Director Ben Norland head up the award alongside Martin Salisbury, Professor of Illustration at Cambridge School of Art.
Since publishing Birgitta Sif’s Kate Greenaway shortlisted debut picture book, Oliver, in 2012, Walker has gone on to work with numerous Cambridge graduates and have published more than 20 picture books in collaboration with them.
The Graduation Exhibition will continue at Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, Cambridge, CB1 1PT from Thursday 23rdFebruary until Saturday 4th March (10.00 - 16.30)
Home to books for all ages, Walker Books UK publishes many award-winning authors, illustrators and brands including Anthony Horowitz, Cassandra Clare, Lucy Cousins, Anthony Browne, Polly Dunbar, Patrick Ness and Where’s Wally? Walker Books UK is part of the vibrant international Walker Books Group that includes Candlewick Press in America, Walker Books Australia, the Walker Group Licencing division, and Walker Productions, developing Walker content for other media platforms, including Hank Zipzer for BBC. The Walker Books Group enjoys a unique ownership structure which includes all of its employees worldwide and more than 150 authors and illustrators. Walker is the world’s leading wholly independent publisher of English-language children’s books. For more information visitwww.walker.co.uk
About Anglia Ruskin University
Anglia Ruskin University is passionate about the advancement of knowledge and the education of students, and pride ourselves on taking university education in imaginative new directions. Our key contribution is to the enhancement of social, cultural and economic well-being. We have three main campuses, in Cambridge, Chelmsford and Peterborough, with around 35,000 students and 1,000 academic staff.