I am thrilled to announce that one of my favourite annual events, The Bologna Illustrators Exhibition of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, is happening right now! This exhibition has been showcasing international trends in illustrations for children and young adults since 1967, and this year marks its 57th edition. And, as if that wasn’t exciting enough, the Book Fair itself is celebrating its 60th birthday!
Being a winner or finalist in this prestigious exhibition comes with a host of rewards and benefits which I have expanded on in this post. This year, an impressive 4,345 artists (3,873 in 2022) from all over the world submitted their works for the 2023 Bologna Illustrators Exhibition. This number is even higher than last year’s record-breaking number of submissions.
The international jury, made up of artists, illustrators, and children’s book publishing professionals, has shortlisted 315 (318 for 2022) finalists and 79 winning illustrations by artists from 28 countries and territories. Click here to see the full list of Bologna 2023 Winning Illustrators at the end of this post. With less than 2% of submissions making it to the winners’ list, this is one of the most competitive judging processes in its field.
Just imagine the tough task of selecting so few from a sea of submissions! This year we have been given a glimpse into the 2023 decision-making process thanks to the generosity of Erik Tittuson, one of the jury members who has kindly shared the below cartoons of behind-the-scenes moments on his Instagram page (@eriktittuson). These were doodled by two brilliant artists on the jury panel – multi-award-winning illustrators Sydney Smith and Gustavo Rosemffet.
Erik Tuttison is a celebrated publisher and an important figure in the world of children’s literature, who served as the Director of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world’s largest children’s literature prize. Erik, Sydney and Gustavo were joined by Eric Telfort, an accomplished artist, and Christine Morault, the owner of MeMo publishing house, to form the dream team of passionate professionals who worked hard to select the winners and finalists of the 2023 Bologna Illustrators Exhibition.
The top 5 winning countries this year include China with 11 winning works, followed by 6 winners from Argentina and 5 winners each from Spain, Japan, and Italy. It’s heartening to see two artists from Russia among the finalists, alongside peers from other countries including Ukraine. It’s a strong and rational statement against banning creatives from the world’s art scene for political reasons. The Bologna Children’s Book Fair continues to unite the world through art, and we couldn’t be more grateful.
Check out the 2023 Bologna Illustrators Exhibition winners here and marvel at the amazing works from around the world, but don’t wait too long as the digital exhibition won’t be online permanently and will be taken offline to make way for next year’s digital instalment. I’ve also created posts with my favourite illustrations from previous years – be sure to check out my 2022 and 2021 selections.
Below, you’ll find a sample of my 2023 favourite winning illustrations. Sadly, the work of the 2023 Finalist Illustrators was not digitized this year. I often found brilliant work amongst the ‘finalists’ (some that I would much rather see as ‘winners’). As always, my selection is subjective and includes artworks that caught my eye for various reasons.
In addition to the annual Illustrators Exhibition, another major event at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair is the Bologna Ragazzi Award for illustrated children’s books. Be sure to check out my posts featuring past winning or honourable mention books of the Bologna Ragazzi Award here. Happy viewing!
Bologna 2023 Winning Illustrators
Illustrator’s Last Name
Illustrator’s First Name
Hong Kong – China