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Gino leads the way in ARU illustration success

Published: 5 October 2023 at 13:30

Gino book cover

Book inspired by Simona Massa’s pet greyhound wins a World Illustration Award

Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) student Simona Massa has won a prestigious World Illustration Award for her book Gino, just one of several recent successes for ARU’s MA Children’s Book Illustration students and graduates.

Gino is intended as a gentle introduction for children to themes such as dog ownership, adoption and loss, as it narrates the story of an Italian greyhound whose happy life takes an unexpected turn.

Simona, who came to a Summer School at ARU before embarking on her MA, was named winner of the New Talent Children’s Publishing category of the World Illustration Awards. Her fellow student Paula Heister – who also teaches Medicine at the University of Cambridge – was Highly Commended in the New Talent Science and Technology category.

Simona said:

“Having become a dog owner for the first time, I based the main character on my own pet, humorously depicting what he loves and how he acts, while other aspects of the picturebook were informed by a visit to a local dog shelter. 

“Winning this award with the first picturebook that I created at Cambridge School of Art is an achievement that I’m very proud of, and I’m incredibly thankful for the knowledge that I’m acquiring through the course and its tutors.”

Other students and graduates from the MA Children’s Book Illustration course have also tasted success in recent weeks. Current students Aditi Anand and Charlotte Durance, and recent graduate Chia Hseih were the three winners of the UK 2023 Picture This! competition. 

ARU also has three graduates who have been named as finalists in the book publishing category of the Golden Pinwheel Competition: Thea Lu, Anne Roos Kleiss, and Narisa Togo. Current student: Hu “Keiko” Huizi has also been named among the finalists.

Meanwhile, graduate Sandy Horsley, who lives in Suffolk, and current student Heike Scharrer were both shortlisted for the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize, the UK’s most prestigious open annual award for drawing. Their work is being exhibited as part of the accompanying exhibition in London’s Docklands until 15 October.

Shelley Jackson, course leader of the MA Children’s Book Illustration course at ARU, said:

“It’s always such a pleasure to see our students and graduates receive honours in UK and international competitions, and for their work to be exhibited around the world as a result. 

“It’s especially thrilling to see projects that have grown from the modules on our course recognised as leading the way in excellence and innovation. It’s testament to the students’ skill and dedication to the craft of children’s book illustration, and we are incredibly proud of them.”