COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions forced the world’s biggest children’s book fair to re-imagine its format in 2020 and for the first time since its inception in 1964 it was held entirely online. Similarly to last year, 58th edition of 2021 Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF) was held online (14-17 June 2021) and was accessible to all free of charge – a nice by-product of COVID-19 for once.
All major programs and exhibitions of BCBF 2021 are still available online and will be accessible free of charge until 31 August 2021. Don’t miss your chance to engage with a wealth of content that is “Heaven on Earth” for children’s book publishing professionals and enthusiasts like myself, which of course you must be also if you’re reading this post.
One of the key events at each BCBF instalment is The Illustrators Exhibition. Since 1967 this exhibition has showcased the latest trends in illustration and promoted a wealth of talented artists from around the world, including new and emerging illustrators. The perks of being a winner or finalist in this exhibition are many. After the BCBF is over, the exhibition travels around the world. The winning work is published in the BCBF Illustrators Annual offering the featured artists prestigious visibility. One of the emerging illustrators amongst finalists is chosen to create the BCBF’s Visual Identity for the following year. The International Award for Illustration Bologna Children’s Book Fair – Fundación SM is choosing a young illustrator under 35 who receives $15,000 USD for resources to develop a picture book to be published and released on the world. The original illustrations of that book are then used to stage a solo exhibition at the next year’s Fair.
As many as 3,235 participants from 68 countries around the world have submitted their works for the 55th instalment of The Illustrators Exhibition in 2021. The international jury of experts have chosen 226 finalist illustrators and 77 winners with 76 artworks (75 by individual artists and 1 by a creative duo) from 23 countries and regions. With only 2% of submissions making it to the winners’ list this is one of the most competitive processes in its field.
Another major annual BCBF event is the most anticipated and revered award in the industry – Bologna Ragazzi Award. Check out other posts featuring the past winning or honourable mention books of the Bologna Ragazzi Award here.
Check out all fabulous 2021 winners of The Illustrators Exhibition here (available on BCBF website till 31 August 2021) and browse my favourites below.