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ARU lecturer wins the Alligator's Mouth Award

Published: 14 July 2023 at 15:52

Elys Dolan with the Alligator's Mouth Award

Elys Dolan receives illustration honour for her book Rex: Dinosaur in Disguise

Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) lecturer Dr Elys Dolan has landed a seriously snappy prize, after being named the winner of The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2023.

Elys, who lectures on ARU’s world-leading MA Children's Book Illustration course, received the honour for her new book Rex: Dinosaur in Disguise, which is published by Walker Books.

Before lecturing at ARU, Elys studied on the MA in Children's Book Illustration at ARU’s Cambridge School of Art, and has also completed a PhD at ARU focusing on humour in children's books.

Elys is an accomplished author and illustrator, and her picture books have been shortlisted for a number of high-profile awards, including the Waterstones Children's Book Prize, the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, and the Kate Greenaway Medal. Her previous work includes The Doughnut of Doom, Steven Seagull Action Hero, and Weasels, which was the winner of both a Sutherland Award and Read it Again! Award.

The Alligator’s Mouth Award was established in 2018 by the eponymous London bookshop, in partnership with the Bright Agency, to celebrate illustrated fiction for children aged 6-8 years old.

Elys, who was presented with The Alligator’s Mouth Award at a ceremony by last year’s winner Pippa Curnick, said:

“I never thought my mad book about a lost dinosaur would do anything other than give people a laugh. I’m absolutely delighted. Thank you to my fabulous team at Walker Books. Thank you very much to Alligator’s Mouth, thank you Bright Agency, I’m just so happy.”


Meanwhile, students on the MA in Children's Book Illustration course have been recognised in this year’s Macmillan Prize for Illustration. “Abi” Xinyi Bi took runner-up spot and Aditi Anand was placed third in the national competition, which was won by Becky Colvin of the University of the West of England. A further 10 ARU students received highly commended awards.

And nine students and recent graduates from the MA in Children's Book Illustration course – Julia Woolf, Zhiqian Lin, Lisa Sheenan, Dorothy Luo, Kate Rolfe, Paula Heister, Joy Li, Simona Massa and Xinyue Zhu - have been shortlisted in different categories at this year’s World Illustration Awards. The winners will be announced on 12 September.