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'Hair-raising' success for ARU graduate Joseph

Published: 14 September 2022 at 19:30

Cover of Pierre's New Hair by Joseph Hollis

MA graduate wins £5,000 Klaus Flugge Prize for his book Pierre’s New Hair

Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) graduate Joseph Namara Hollis has won the 2022 Klaus Flugge Prize for the most exciting and promising newcomer in children’s picture book illustration. 

The competition, which has a first prize of £5,000, this year featured five graduates from ARU’s world-leading MA in Children’s Book Illustration course on the six-person shortlist.

Established in 2016, the prize was founded to honour publisher Klaus Flugge, a supremely influential figure in picture books and who set up Andersen Press in 1976. 

Joseph, who has previously won the V&A Student Illustrator of the Year prize, was awarded the 2022 Klaus Flugge Prize for his book Pierre’s New Hair (Tate Publishing) about a bear obsessed with looking good but also desperate to show the world his roller-skating flair!

Joseph has become the fourth graduate from the MA in Children’s Book Illustration course at ARU’s Cambridge School of Art to win the Klaus Flugge Prize in the last five years, with Flavia Z Drago claiming the top prize last year for her New York Times bestselling book Gustavo, the Shy Ghost, Eva Eland winning in 2020 with When Sadness Comes to Call, and Kate Milner taking top spot in 2018 for her book My Name is Not Refugee.

Describing himself as “dizzy with gratitude”, Joseph said:

“Winning the Klaus Flugge Prize is invigorating. There is a sentiment in the book about letting go, enjoying the moment and not worrying too much about how you’ll be perceived. 

“This is a necessity when working creatively. It’s also a paradox because whilst struggling to avoid being overly concerned with what other people might think, the hope is to form a meaningful connection with readers. To know my work has touched the judges is fulfilling, it has reinforced my belief - keep doing what you love most."


Working in pen and ink and using strong graphic colours, Joseph has filled the pages of Pierre’s New Hair with energy and detail, and for all the absurdity of a story about a bear who wants to create the perfect quiff, Pierre’s world is real and recognisable. The Klaus Flugge Prize judges found the story full of warmth and humour, admiring the composition and creation of character.

Chair of the judges Julia Eccleshare, the director of the Children’s Programme at the Hay Festival, said:

“Once again, this year’s shortlist was very strong and we will follow the careers of all the shortlisted illustrators with huge interest. Congratulations to Joseph for Pierre’s New Hair which is original and a joy to look at. While very funny, it also slips in a message about valuing what’s really important – friends, joy, art.”


In addition to Joseph, the six-person shortlist included ARU graduates Adam Beer (Mammoth, Simon and Schuster), Flora Delargy (Rescuing Titanic, Wide Eyed Editions), Padmacandra (The Tale of the Whale, Scallywag Press) and Anne Roos Kleiss, aka Roozeboos (Choices, Child’s Play), as well as Ricky Trickartt (Alley Cat Rally, Flying Eye Books).