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ARU illustrators take top spots at Macmillan Prize

Published: 8 July 2022 at 12:42

Heike Scharrer

Children’s Book Illustration students and graduates enjoy clean sweep at awards

Talented illustrators from Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) have swept the board at the Macmillan Prize for Illustration 2022, winning the top three prizes.

Heike Scharrer was named the overall winner for her picture book The Queue, receiving a cheque for £1,000. Second prize was awarded to Jennifer Spooner for her work The Whittling Woodsman and third prize went to Kate Rolfe for her book Wolf and Bear.  The prizes were awarded at an event last night at the London offices of publishers Pan Macmillan.  

Heike and Jennifer are both current students on the MA in Children’s Book Illustration course at ARU’s Cambridge School of Art, while Kate has recently completed the MA course. 

Heike, who lives in London with her two children and their imaginary guinea pig and chicken, combines her studies at ARU with her work as a professional illustrator. 

She is fascinated by the different facets of urban everyday life, and this helped to inspire The Queue.  Heike said:

“Queuing can be a challenging experience for both parent and child. I was interested in how out of the ensuing boredom creativity may arise and little things such as a shimmering raindrop or a snuffling dog may spark a child’s sense of wonder and even lead to new friends. Winning the Macmillan Prize I feel humbled and it still feels unreal."


This year marks the 37th year of the Macmillan Prize for Illustration, and the 2022 edition of the competition received over 160 submissions from 28 UK universities and colleges. 

The 2022 judging panel was a mix of external experts and members of the Macmillan team. Suzanne Carnell (Publisher, Two Hoots), Hannah Ray (Publishing Director for Picture Books) and Lorna Scobie Cookson (Design Manager) were accompanied by Diane Ewen (illustrator for Coming to England, written by Floella Benjamin and I Love Me!, written by Marvyn Harrison), Imogen Carter (Assistant Editor and picture book critic on the Observer New Review) and Fleur Sinclair (Manager of Sevenoaks Bookshop). 

Chair of Judges Chris Inns, Art Director at Macmillan Children’s Books, said:

“We were delighted by the variety of talent on show, and, as always, excited to see so many new and original voices breaking through. 

“This year, many entries celebrated the importance of human contact and connection, a theme perfectly exemplified in Heike Scharrer’s winning entry about two children stuck in a long queue, taking the opportunity to make friends and spark each other’s imaginations.

“We would like to extend our thanks to the colleges and tutors for their continued support of the prize, and to our marvellous judges for being so generous with their time and expertise.”


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

"I’m blown away by the success of our students and graduates at this year’s Macmillan Prize awards. We’re particularly thrilled for Heike, who is still studying on the course. She’s a talented and hard-working student and we know she’s got an exciting career ahead of her!"


Last night’s Macmillan Prize for Illustration announcement follows on from ARU’s success at the recent Batsford Prize 2022. Justin Worsley won the Children’s Illustration category for his work Aliens in the Park, while other ARU students were shortlisted and received runner-up prizes at the publishers’ annual competition.