Prize beckons Indigenous illustrators

Australia’s oldest independent Indigenous publisher, Magabala Books, is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a call for entries to the inaugural Kestin Indigenous Illustrator Award.

The winner of the biennial award will receive $10,000, a mentorship and the opportunity to illustrate a children’s story by renowned author and illustrator, Sally Morgan.

Judges for the award include children’s book industry icons Leigh Hobbs, Bronwyn Bancroft and Ann James.

Magabala publisher Rachel Bin Salleh, who will also serve as judge, said she hoped the award would address industry demand for Indigenous illustrators.

On a recent trip to Magabala Books, Leigh Hobbs and Ann James met with Indigenous illustrator, Joshua Button. As a young person, Joshua was mentored with the support of Magabala and has since published three children’s books, including Steve Goes to Carnival with Robyn Wells.

Steve Goes to Carnival is a really terrific picture book in all ways – cover to cover. It’s a marvellous example of the value of mentoring. I can’t wait to see what new talent this award uncovers,” Mr Hobbs said.

The award is funded by the Kestin Family Foundation. The Foundation’s representative, Harry Kestin, first discovered the work of Magabala Books when he visited its Broome bookshop in 2008.

“I was blown away by the quality of their children’s books and commitment to career development of Indigenous illustrators and authors,” he said.

“We are excited by the potential to expand creative career options for Indigenous artists.

“It brings together our family’s interest in art, storytelling and Indigenous empowerment.”

Application details for the Kestin Indigenous Illustrator Award can be found on the Magabala Books website

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