Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Alumni success

Illustration of cross-section of boat

Many of our students not only find work that directly relates to their studies, but continue to set the high standards in their professional life that they showed during the course.

Here are some of our most notable recent success stories:

Three of the eight shortlisted entries for the 2024 Yoto Carnegie Medal for Illustration shortlist are graduates from our MA Children's Book Illustration course: Catalina Echeverri (April's Garden), Mariajo Illustrajo (Lost) and Chloe Savage (The Search for the Giant Arctic Jellyfish). The winners will be announced on Thursday 20 June 2024 at a live and streamed ceremony at the Cambridge Theatre.


MA Children's Book Illustration graduate Chloe Savage also won the Best Illustrated Book category in the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2024 for The Search for the Giant Arctic Jellyfish (pictured top). The judges described the book as "A truly gorgeous volume filled with the wonder and magic of science and nature." You can watch a video of Chloe talking about her book on the Yoto Carnegies website.


Three alumni from our MA Children’s Book Illustration course have made the shortlist for the 2024 Klaus Flugge Prize: Bia Melo (The Dream Book), Angela Vives (Bright Stars of Black British History) and Kate Winter (The Fossil Hunter). The winners will be announced in September. Olya Anima (The Slug and the Snail) and Kate Rolfe (Wolf and Bear) also made the longlist.

Cosmin Diaconu


BA (Hons) Fashion Design alumnus Cosmin Diaconu (pictured) established his own fashion brand Retrogusto to “redefine perceptions of preloved clothing, promoting responsible and sustainable purchases”. He also worked on the costumes for Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour, along with fellow graduates Bruno Coelho and Roberto Duarte.


Six of our MA Children's Book Illustration alumni made the shortlist for the Batsford Prize 2024, with the winners to be announced on 29 May 2024. Rose Grover, Fatima Ordinola Guerra, Aditi Anand and Katie May were shortlisted for the Children's Book Illustration category, and Keiko for the Illustration category, while Yu-An Xie appears in both. Two of our current students, Charlotte Durance and Naomi Tipping, were also shortlisted.

Illustration of man sitting at table smoking


BA Illustration alumnus Catherine Rowe won the Contribution to Culture Award at the ARU Alumni Awards 2024. Her designs are sold internationally to some of the biggest names in retail, and she is dedicated to supporting up-and-coming artists, including leading courses online and through Pallant House Gallery’s Care for Art programme.


BA (Hons) Illustration graduate Olivia Daw has made the shortlist of the V&A Illustration Awards 2024 in the Adult Fiction category for her illustrations in The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie (Folio Society, 2023 - illustration pictured). The winner will be announced in September.

Illustration of fox cutting through starry sky with scissors


MA Children’s Book Illustration graduates Birgitta Sif (illustration pictured), Puck Koper and Thea Lu were all winners at the Bologna Book Fair 2024, with their work being chosen for the Illustrators Exhibition, which travels for over two years on an international tour of museums, art galleries and libraries in countries including Japan, Korea, and China, as well as appearing in the renowned Illustrators Annual.


Flooded, by Mariajo Ilustrajo

MA Children’s Book Illustration graduate Mariajo Illustrajo won the 2023 Klaus Flugge Prize for her book Flooded (pictured), developed while she was on the course. Three of her fellow alumni from the course also made the shortlist: Alice Courtley (Lost in the City), Gill Smith (Saving the Butterfly), and Paula White (The Baker by the Sea).


MA Children's Book Illustration graduate Sandy Horsley was selected from 3,000 submissions to show at the prestigious Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2023 exhibition, along with student Heike Scharrer.


MA Fine Art graduate Niall MacCrann won the East London Printmakers prize at the International Original Print Exhibition 2023, earning a year's associate membership and 10 free sessions at the East London Printmakers workshop. Niall and fellow graduate Sarah Clark were also selected to show their work at the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair 2023.


MA Children’s Book Illustration graduates Thea Lu, Roozeboos (Anne Roos Kleiss), and Narisa Togo and current student Hu Huizi were selected as 4 of 100 finalists in the Golden Pinwheel Competition 2023, and now go on to show their work at China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair 2023.


Chia Hsieh won the Walker Books Picture This! Competition 2023, along with students Aditi Anand and Charlotte Durance.


Ian Wolter working on sculpture of national guardsman

In 2023, BA (Hons) Fine Art graduate Ian Wolter began a residency at the National Army Museum, London, to work on a portrait bust of a serving Grenadier Guardsman (pictured). Ian was previously commissioned by Save the Children to create a bust of their founder Eglantyne Jebb, unveiled at the Royal Albert Hall in London to mark the organisation's centenary celebrations, and also had his public sculpture ‘The Children of Calais’ unveiled in Salfron Walden, Essex by Lord Alf Dubs. This artwork was later selected for the 2019 Florence Biennial. Ian's other successes have included a commission to create a memorial statue for the Kindertransport Memorial at The Quay, Harwich. He was also awarded the RomArt 2017 Sculpture and Installation Prize for his work 'The Ectoplasm of Self-Delusion', having won the Venice Arte Laguna video art and performance prize the previous year.


MA Children’s Book Illustration alumnus and lecturer Dr Elys Dolan was awarded this year’s Alligator’s Mouth prize by the London bookshop of the same name for her new book Rex: Dinosaur in Disguise (Walker Books). The award aims to champion and celebrate highly illustrated fiction for children aged 6-8-years-old.


MA Children's Book Illustration alumni Julia Woolf, Lisa Sheenan, Dorothy Luo, Kate Rolfe, Paula Heister and Joy Li all made the shortlist of the 2023 AOI World Illustration Awards along with three current students. Another eleven Cambridge School of Art graduates and students made the longlist.


Hana Tintor (MA Illustration & Book Arts, 2018) and Zsuzsa Goodyer (BA Illustration 2010 / MA Illustration & Book Arts 2021) make the longlist of the World Illustration Awards 2023.


2021 MA Illustration & Book Arts graduate John Chamberlain was shortlisted for the 7th FIDA Fashion Illustration Awards, the first global online award to promote fashion illustration and drawing around the world.


MA Children's Book Illustration alumnus Sophie Burrows was nominated in the Best Graphic Album category of the US-based Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards 2023 for her book Crushing.

Front cover of Labybird book Climate Change


BA Illustration graduate Aleesha Nandhra was commissioned by Ladybird to produce bespoke illustrations for a new edition of their book Climate Change (pictured), co-written by HM King Charles in his former role as The Prince of Wales. Released in March 2023, the book explores the global causes and effects of climate change on human life and the natural world, while also highlighting the actions individuals can take to make a difference. London-based illustrator and printmaker Aleesha has previously completed commissions for high-profile clients including Google, Harper Collins and Bloomsbury.


MA Children's Book Illustration graduate Flora Delargy was shortlisted for the 2023 Yoto Carnegie Medal for Illustration for her book Rescuing Titanic. The longlist for the award also included Mariajo Illustrajo, Ruchi Mhasane, Roozeboos, Gill Smith and Paula White - all graduates of the course.


Aining Wen holding ARU Alumni award

MA Children's Book Illustration graduate Aining Wen (pictured) was awarded ARU's Alumni Rising Star Award 2023. Aining has published 16 picture books, recognised with numerous awards, and worked as a children's book editor with Daylight Publishing House in China. Read our Spotlight interview with Aining.


Emilie Gill and Lauren Emmons, also MA Children's Book Illustration graduates, provided the illustrations for two books published by Peachtree in 2023 - All By Myself and Prak Fills The House respectively. Peachtree Editor Jonah Heller sent us a wonderful quote, showing how well their work was received.


2022 MA Fine Art graduate Sarah Strachan was selected for the 2023 Aesthetica Art Prize, showing alongside greats including Larry Achiampong and Hope Strickland.


2021 Illustration graduate Olivia Daw's first book was published by the Folio Society in 2023. The first ever illustrated edition of Agatha Christie classic The Pale Horse, the book includes seven of Olivia's illustrations.


In 2021, recent BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation graduate Hannah Lane’s short animated film "A Snowy Surprise" (pictured) was shortlisted for the @cinemagic_filmfestival Young Filmmaker Award, as well as being selected for @ourculturemag and the @bitesizefilmfestival; Steven Goodison's short film "Wee Shadows" was selected for screening at @frightfestuk and various other festivals; and Velina Garabedyan's film "Wherever I Wander" was selected for screening at 5 festivals.


Book cover of The Grumpy Fairies

Bethan Stevens (MA Children’s Book Illustration) won the Illustrated Books category at the prestigious Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2021 for her debut book The Grumpy Fairies. The six-person shortlist also included Eva Eland, another graduate of the course.


MA Children’s Book Illustration graduate Kate Milner made the shortlist for the 2021 Kate Greenaway Medal for her book It’s A No-Money Day, having previously won both the Klaus Flugge Prize and the V&A Illustration Awards. Both Kate and her fellow alumnus Kate Read also made the shortlist for the UK Literary Association Book Awards 2021.


Eva Eland (MA Children’s Book Illustration) won the Klaus Flugge Prize for most exciting newcomer to children’s picture book illustration for her book When Sadness Comes to Call. Fellow alumni Kate Read and Puck Koper also made the shortlist.


Ayeshah Zolghadr

MA Printmaking alumni Ayeshah Zolghadr (pictured) won the Trinity Wharf Buoy 2020 Student Prize for her work Circling the Square I, which represented the therapeutic walks taken by her father. Both Ayeshah and MA Fine Art graduate Joe Dean were selected from among more than 4,000 submissions to display their work at the exhibition.


In July 2020, MA Children’s Book Illustration alumnus Alice Courtley took first prize in Picturehooks' 'From Seed to Table' competition with her illustration 'The City Garden'. She received a prize of £1,000 and will have her illustration displayed online, though Picturehooks are also hoping to eventually exhibit the winning entries in a physical space as well.


Umbrella book cover

MA Children’s Book Illustration alumnus Elena Arevalo Melville was the inaugural winner of the Queen’s Knickers Award 2020 for her book Umbrella. The prize was awarded to an outstanding children’s original illustrated book for ages 0-7, and was funded by Nicholas Allan, with a first prize of £5,000.


In 2020, BA (Hons) Fine Art graduate Elizabeth Eade exhibited her work at a solo show at the Hix Art Gallery in London, as part of her prize for winning the £10,000 Hix Art Prize 2018.


Paula White with her award

Graduates from our MA Children's Book Illustration course achieved a clean sweep of the top three prizes in the Templar Illustration Prize 2019.  Paula White (pictured) won the first prize of £750 and the chance to be published by Templar Publishing for her submission Bread, Buns and Biscuits.


MA Printmaking graduate Salvador Jiminéz Donaire Martinez won the 25th European Plastic Arts Contest at the University of Seville in 2019, and followed it up by securing a 12 month residency award at the Residencia de Estudiantes de Madrid - considered one of the most prestigious research centres in the country.



Ramona Zoladek receiving the 2014 Supanee Gazeley Prize

BA (Hons) Fine Art alumnus Ramona Zoladek (pictured) won the Elephant x Griffin Art Prize in 2018, receiving a £5,000 cash stipend; £2,000 of studio rent at a UK location of her choice; £3,000 RRP value of art materials from fine art brands and a professional support and mentoring programme from the Elephant team.  She also picked up the Woon Art Prize in 2014 (a £20,000 national art prize for Fine Art graduates, including a one-year residency), as well as the Supanee Gazeley Prize for her graduating project.


In 2018, MA Children’s Book Illustration graduate Kate Milner won the £5,000 Klaus Flugge Prize for the most exciting newcomer in children’s picture book illustration. She began working on her winning book, My Name is Not Refugee, in the final months of her course.


Cover of The Bumblebear

Nadia Shireen, who graduated from our MA Children's Book Illustration in 2010, was chosen by children's reading charity Booktrust to have her book The Bumblebear (pictured) sent to every reception-age child in the UK in Autumn 2017. The book was chosen because of its strong storytelling attributes, clear message about inclusivity and realistic school setting.


Soon after graduating from our BA (Hons) Photography in 2017, Amber Schormann established Amber Magazine, a print and digital publication that aims to to create new, positive and broad representations of women. Her photography has also featured in exhibitions in London, France and Amsterdam.


Another of our MA Children's Book Illustration graduates, Julia Woolf, inspired the design of a new building at Ivydale School, London in 2017. Her Fox in the Forest illustration, created during the course, "informed both the design of the bold triangular brick pattern and the interior design strategy” according to architects Hawkins\Brown. Julia has also worked as an animation artist for Dreamworks on films including Madagascar, Shrek and Shrek 2.


Micaela Sapinho outside King's College, Cambridge

Micaela Sapinho (pictured) graduated from our BA (Hons) Fashion Design in 2016, and went on to show her third year collection, along with the first collection from her own label, at Lisbon Fashion Week the same year, followed by her second collection in 2017.