Klaus Flugge Prize winner 2022

Roller-dancing bear with fabulous hair wins the 2022 Klaus Flugge Prize

Joseph Namara Hollis has won the 2022 Klaus Flugge Prize for the most exciting and promising newcomer to children’s picture book illustration. He won 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.

As Pierre and the rest of the Bear Squad prepare to enter the Roller Stars Championships, his efforts to style himself and create the perfect quiff almost end in disaster, until his friends come to the rescue. Working in pen and ink and using strong graphic colours, Hollis fills the pages with energy and detail, and for all the absurdity, Pierre’s world is real and recognisable (the hair products in particular). The Klaus Flugge Prize judges found the story full of warmth and humour, admiring the composition and creation of character.

Judge Emily Gravett says, “Pierre’s New Hair is like a breath of fresh air. It made me laugh out loud. What impressed me was the way that Joseph was able to conjure up a whole world for his characters to inhabit. It was our winner because we loved how every aspect of the book fitted together perfectly to make this a quirky fun book to read.”

Established in 2016, the Klaus Flugge Prize was founded to honour publisher Klaus Flugge, a supremely influential figure in picture books. Flugge set up Andersen Press in 1976 and discovered and nurtured many of today’s most distinguished illustrators including David McKee, Tony RossSatoshi KitamuraRuth Brown and Susan Varley. Previous winners of the Klaus Flugge Prize include Eva ElandJessica Loveand Kate Milner.

Describing himself as “dizzy with gratitude”, Joseph Namara Hollis says, 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.” Praising the five other shortlisted illustrators, he added, “The Klaus Flugge Prize shows we’re all roller-skating in the right direction.”

Chair of the judges, Julia Eccleshare says: “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.” 

Renowned illustrator Emily Gravett and 2021 Klaus Flugge Prize winner Flavia Z Drago were on the judging panel this year, alongside Nikki Bi, Co-Founder and the Beyond Books Lead at Civic Square in Birmingham; and Professor Martin Salisbury, Professor of Illustration at Cambridge School of Art in Anglia Ruskin University. Julia Eccleshare, director of the Children’s Programme at the Hay Festival, is Chair of the Judges.

Joseph was shortlisted alongside some other great talent this year, so be sure to check their work out too:

Mammoth, Adam Beer, text Anna Kemp (Simon and Schuster Children’s Books)
Rescuing Titanic, Flora Delargy, (Wide Eyed Editions)
The Tale of the Whale, Padmacandra, text Karen Swann (Scallywag Press)
Choices, Roozeboos (Child’s Play)
Alley Cat Rally, Ricky Trickartt (Flying Eye Books)

14th September 2022

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