Prestigious illustration prize won by ARU student

Published: 24 May 2023 at 13:00

Forest Xiao

MA student scoops top award in Children’s Illustration category

The 2023 Batsford Prize for Children’s Illustration has been won by Forest Xiao, an MA Children’s Book Illustration student at Anglia Ruskin University’s (ARU) Cambridge School of Art, in recognition of her picture book How To Catch An Idea

Charting the experiences of a girl searching for a world-changing idea, the story for young readers focuses on how despite never achieving this goal the protagonist enjoys all she learns on the journey – aligned to this year’s ‘At Peace’ judging theme.

As the winner of a category at the 2023 awards, Forest receives a £300 cash prize along with book vouchers worth £100 for herself and a further £300 for the university. 

Following the announcement of her win, Forest said:

"My book is about sparking ideas and celebrating the creativity journey, so I feel really honoured to be chosen as the winner. 

“I would also like to thank Batsford for continuing to support students' creativity and ideas."


Forest was one of four category winners, selected from an overall shortlist of 28 which featured seven other ARU students. Of these nominees, Xinyi Bi, Naomi Tipping and Justin Worsley were all named as runners up in the Fine Art, Illustration and Children’s Illustration categories respectively.

Shelley Jackson, Course Leader for MA Children’s Book Illustration at ARU, said:

“We are so pleased with the outcome of the Batsford Prize this year. Once again, we had a great showing by students and recent grads with their coursework across three categories, with Forest winning the top award for Children’s Book Illustration. 

“It’s been such a pleasure to watch Forest’s work grow over her time with us. She has an understated sense of humour and innate design sense that propel her charming illustrations. 

“I know we’ll be seeing lots of published books from her very soon! Congratulations to her and all of the other winners.”


Work by the 2023 shortlistees has been included in an exhibition running until 28 May at London’s Batsford Gallery.