ARU illustration graduate wins major book award

Published: 25 March 2024 at 09:00

Chloe Savage receives her award

Chloe Savage triumphs at the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize

A book that focuses on resilience in the face of failure – and an incredibly shy jellyfish – has triumphed at one of the UK’s biggest book awards, as Chloe Savage’s debut work has been named winner of the Illustrated Books category at the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2024.

Chloe, who lives in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, won the prestigious Waterstones award for her book The Search for the Giant Arctic Jellyfish, which she started as part of her course at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in Cambridge. The award comes with a prize of £2,000.

Born and raised in Stevenage, Chloe worked for a number of years in opera, film and television, before deciding to concentrate on her great love of illustration and storytelling, and enrolling on the world-leading Children’s Book Illustration MA course at ARU’s Cambridge School of Art.

Chloe was one of four graduates from ARU’s Children’s Book Illustration course to feature on the six-person Waterstones Illustrated Books shortlist, with Chloe joined by Ellan Rankin, Kate Rolfe, and Natalie Labarre.

The Search for the Giant Arctic Jellyfish (Walker Books) is a tale of grit and endurance. Chloe’s stunning picture book is beautifully illustrated and tells the story of a scientist, Dr Morley, and her quest to locate this reclusive sea creature.

The author-illustrator said:

“Winning Best Illustrated Book is life changing. The Search for the Giant Arctic Jellyfish is a book about failure and resilience, which is deeply inspired by my own life. It has been a privilege to see so many readers delving to the details of the book, and falling in love with the Jellyfish and Dr Morley. 

“The journey of making the book has encompassed some of the most difficult times of my life. This is a moment of deep gratitude for me, both to the doctors who saved my life, and to my Walker Books family who stood up against the cancer and roared back. I am deeply thankful to Waterstones for this honour and for bringing this joy into my life.”

The Waterstones Children’s Book Prize is now in its 20th year and Nick Campbell, Waterstones Children’s Buyer, said:

The Search for the Giant Arctic Jellyfish is a unique story about insatiable curiosity, taking us on an expedition that we long to believe took place. 

“It is full of fascinating illustrations that children will pore over and return to, from cutaways to evocative landscapes, and of course the elusive jellyfish that grown-ups never quite spot (or do they?)  Infused with mystery, beauty and wit, it is a tale that will spark questions and ignite young imaginations.”

The award is voted for by members of staff working in Waterstones branches across the country. Rachael from Waterstones Altrincham “especially loved the cross-section illustrations showing life on board the ship”, while Emily from Waterstones Tenterden said “I adored it completely!”

Shelley Ann Jackson, Associate Professor and Course Leader of the MA in Children’s Book Illustration at ARU, said:

“We are thrilled by Chloe’s success. What an honour to have earned this prestigious award! And even better that she has done it with a project that she started on the MA Children’s Book Illustration course. We know Chloe has a successful future ahead.”

The Search for the Giant Arctic Jellyfish is also on the illustration shortlist for the Yoto Carnegies, the UK’s longest running book awards for children and young people, which is voted for by librarians from across the country. The Yoto Carnegies will be announced on 20 June.


Image credit: Joanna Claire