Graduate Kate wins 2018 Klaus Flugge Prize

Published: 13 September 2018 at 11:26

Kate Milner and Klaus Flugge

Former Anglia Ruskin student awarded £5,000 for book started during MA course

Anglia Ruskin University graduate Kate Milner has won this year’s £5,000 Klaus Flugge Prize, presented to the most exciting newcomer in children’s picture book illustration.

Kate, who graduated from the MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Anglia Ruskin in 2016, was presented with the award at a ceremony in London last night for her book My name is not Refugee, which she began working on in the final months of her course.

My name is not Refugee follows a young boy as he and his mother set out from their home to find somewhere safe to live.  The book also helped Kate win the prestigious V&A Student Illustrator of the Year award in 2016. 

Kate, who is in her fifties, spent most of her career as a librarian before applying to study at Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge School of Art.  She explained: 

“I have done all sorts of things in my working life. I have painted pub signs and made prints; been a teacher and a carer.  I have always made images and thought up stories, but it was a job at the local library that changed everything for me: I fell in love with children’s books. 

“Part of my job was to read to groups of pre-school children at Rhyme Time, which was an excellent way of discovering which books kept their attention, indeed which books kept my attention. I also helped with Chatterbooks and the Summer Reading Challenge, both of which involved talking to children about books.  It was an education. 

“We wondered why picture books contain lots of farm yard animals but no mobile phones, yet most children know all about mobile phones and have never met a lamb. We discussed whether Moody Margaret would beat My Naughty Little Sister in a fight, and we decided she definitely would. 

“Despite my great age, I am, in many ways, about eight years old, and I still love to draw and make up stories. Becoming part of the world of children’s books feels like coming home.

“I felt absolutely amazed and delighted when I heard that I’d won.  I was very, very pleased to be shortlisted but I explained to everyone at the time that there was absolutely no chance of me winning.  I was quite clear about this.  When I got the good news I was alone in the house apart from my son who was still asleep.  I was beside myself with delight; he didn’t get to stay asleep long.”

Martin Salisbury, Professor of Illustration at Anglia Ruskin University, said: 

My name is not Refugee was one of the stand-out projects from her year group.  Kate was one of the first authorial picturebook-makers to address the issue of migration in her work and the book’s publication success and receipt of this prestigious award marks her out as one of the most exciting new talents in the field.”

Amongst the judges of this year’s award were Children’s Laureate Lauren Child, the creator of Charlie and Lola, and Charlotte Colwill, Head of Children’s Books at Foyles on London’s Charing Cross Road. The Chair of the judges was Julia Eccleshare, director of the Children’s Programme at the Hay Festival.

Lauren Child said: 

“The questions My name is not Refugee asks us to consider help us to think ourselves into someone else’s shoes. And the illustrations do just what they should, allowing the reader time to contemplate the predicament of the storybook child, a chance to imagine and to empathise.”

The Klaus Flugge Prize was founded to honour publisher Klaus Flugge, a supremely influential figure in picture books who set up Andersen Press in 1976.