An important new prize in the UK children’s book world is launched today: the Klaus Flugge Prize will be awarded to the most promising and exciting newcomer to children’s book illustration. It honours venerable publisher Klaus Flugge, a supremely influential figure in picture books: who this year celebrates the 40th anniversary of his publishing house Andersen Press.
It will be the only prize specifically to recognise a published picture book by a debut illustrator; the winning illustrator will receive a cheque for £5,000.
Klaus Flugge was born in Hamburg in 1934, apprenticed to a bookshop and sent to Book Trade School in Leipzig. He emigrated to America at the age of 23 as an East German refugee who spoke only German and Russian. After a variety of jobs, and two years as an American GI, he was offered a job working as a Personal Assistant to Lew Schwartz, owner of Abelard-Schuman publishing in New York. After only a year and a half Schwartz suggested he go to Europe to build up the very small list they had there and came to London in 1961. He launched Andersen Press – named after Hans Christian Andersen - in the autumn of 1976.
The roll call of artists Klaus Flugge has worked with at Andersen Press reads like a textbook on illustration: David McKee, Tony Ross, Satoshi Kitamura, Michael Foreman, Susan Varley, Emma Chichester Clark, Sir Quentin Blake, Chris Riddell, Ruth Brown and David Lucas to name but a very few.
The prize, which will be run entirely independently from Andersen Press, will be administered by Julia Eccleshare, Anne Marley and Andrea Reece, who run the Branford Boase Award for debut authors, now in its seventeenth year. Julia Eccleshare said: “The UK has long provided a home for some of the very best illustrators in the world, and UK publishers are adept at discovering and nurturing new talent. It is wonderful to have an award to highlight the gifted illustrators working in picture books and put them in the spotlight. We are delighted too that the award will recognise the extraordinary contribution Klaus Flugge has made to illustration and children’s picture books. Not only did he launch the careers of giants such as David McKee, Tony Ross, Ruth Brown, Chris Riddell and Satoshi Kitamura, but he continues to this day to champion original, creative and bold new illustrator talent.”
The Klaus Flugge Prize will be open to all picture books illustrated by a debut or first time illustrator first published by a UK publisher during 2015. The panel of judges will be announced in February when submissions will open. The shortlist will be announced at the end of April and the winner will be revealed in September 2016.