01 November, 2015

Katrine Harries Award for Children's Book Illustrations: 2008-2014 (from IBBY SA's Spring Newsletter 2015)

  The Katrine Harries Award for Children’s Book Illustrations: 2008-2014


The award winners are: Joan Rankin for Just Sisi (Human & Rousseau) for the period 2008 – 2009; Maja Sereda for Haasmoles (LAPA) for the period 2010 – 2011; and Johan Strauss for In die Land van Pamperlang (Human & Rousseau) for the period 2012 – 2013.

The Katrine Harries award is the oldest award in South Africa for illustrations in children’s picture books and the only one that awards the illustrations in children’s books as an art form. Only illustrators based in South Africa are considered for the award.

The illustrations in Just Sisi by Joan Rankin, the grande dame of South African children’s book illustrations, were described by the judges as well balanced, creating enough space to draw attention to the subject matter, and giving the reader some breathing space. “Light and airy and absolutely delightful!” She managed to tell a visual story with a high cultural content without mentioning race or colour.

                              Just Sisi - illustrations by Joan Rankin

Maja Sereda’s illustrations were commended for being refreshingly entertaining. Although there is a lot of activity and movement in each illustration, it never becomes forced and overbearing. With little detail an array of emotions is evoked and young readers will identify effortlessly with the characters. “Great fun!”

Johann Strauss’s illustrations are meticulously thought through and splendidly executed – each a masterpiece in its own right. His style is unique and fresh. His interpretation of elements of nature ensures a dreamlike quality. He has mastered his medium, making In die Land van Pamperlang “a fairytale brought to life”.

                      Johan Strauss for In die Land van Pamperlang

The Katrine Harries award, a nine carat gold medal, was created in the early 1960s by the SA Library Association and later taken over by the South African Institute for Library and Information Science (SAILIS). When SAILIS was disbanded, the new organisation, LIASA, was not interested in continuing with awards. Nicol Stassen, the owner of Protea Boekhuis, has sponsored the award from 1997. It was awarded the last time at the centenary of the University of Pretoria in 2008. A lack of resources and interest caused another six years to go by, but collaboration between the Department of Information Science at Unisa and IBBY SA North, has now again made it possible to continue with the award.

The judges were:

Prof. Molly Brown is the Head of the English Department at the University of Pretoria. Children's Literature is one of her key research interests and her PhD was on young adult fantasy. She has published in Journals such as The Lion and the Unicorn, Mousaion and Papers: Explorations into Children's Literature. Prof. Brown also runs an Honours course in Children's Literature and has established The Child and the Story as a Faculty Research Theme at the University of Pretoria.

                                         Maja Sereda for Haasmoles

Katinka Joubert is a graphic designer and illustrator at Onesanesoul and mother of a two year old boy. She helps out at various orphanages in Hammanskraal from where her passion for upliftment grew. Her dream is to cultivate art awareness amongst underprivileged children.

Thea Bester-Swanepoel also a graphic designer, specializes in book- and publishing design. She is currently employed by Unisa Press. As mother of two small boys, she is passionate about children’s books and dreams about establishing her own project on children’s book illustrations.

For more information contact
Prof Thomas van der Walt

 Thomas van Der Walt and Maritha Snyman must be congratulated on their work in reviving the Katrine Harries award – Genevieve Hart

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