Winner of children’s picture book illustration competition announced

Winner of children’s picture book illustration competition announced

The Books Council of Wales is delighted to announce the winner of a special competition organised with Urdd Gobaith Cymru to find new talent in the field of children’s book illustration.

The prize is awarded to 24-year-old Lily Mŷrennyn from the Rhondda for her ‘exceptionally executed’ artworks and her ‘command of narrative illustration’.

The task for entrants aged 18 to 25 was to create original artwork illustrating a short children’s story by one of Wales’ leading writers, Manon Steffan Ros.

The subject of the narrative is a large, hungry, imaginary animal called the Soddgarŵ and the picture book is published this week by Atebol as part of the prize.

Y Soddgarŵ will be available in bookshops and libraries throughout Wales, as well as in e-book format on the Books Council’s website.

Lily Mŷrennyn, who graduated in 2020 from an Illustration course at the Swansea College of Art, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, said: “It has been incredibly exciting to be selected to work on this project, especially during such uncertain times for new graduates. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to start my creative career with a book in print.”The competition was judged by Derek Bainton, a professional graphic artist living and working in Cardiff, who said: “Here is an artist whose work shows an understanding, confidence and command of narrative illustration. The artworks are exceptionally executed, combining a number of well-tuned skills such as traditional and digital techniques. The colour palette has a personal and warm feel, which binds this submission together beautifully in a delightfully cohesive, professional and original way.”The Head of the Department of Children’s Books and Reading Promotion at the Books Council of Wales, Helen Jones, said: “Warmest congratulations to Lily Mŷrennyn and many thanks to everyone who has entered this special competition. Illustrations can make an immeasurable contribution to the art of storytelling and broaden the appeal of books, especially children’s books. It is vital that we continue to nurture and promote new talent and standards in this field in Wales.”

Siân Eirian, Director of the Urdd National Eisteddfod, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with the Books Council of Wales on this competition and to include it in our Syllabus, originally for the Urdd Eisteddfod 2020. The Urdd Eisteddfod’s main purpose is to give young people new opportunities within the arts, so we are delighted to announce Lily Mŷrennyn’s success, and celebrate the publication of Y Soddgarŵ at this year’s Eisteddfod T.”

Rachel Lloyd, Creative Editor and Head of Publishing at Atebol, said: “It has been a privilege to lead on this project. The book is a valuable addition to our publishing programme. As part of our aim to promote and nurture new writers and illustrators, this project has been a great opportunity to invest in young, new talent. Working with Lily has been an absolute pleasure.”The Books Council will be working with the Urdd to hold a second competition for young illustrators at the 2022 Urdd National Eisteddfod. Further details will be published in September 2021.