Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand is delighted to announce the Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize is returning for 2021.

Margaret Mahy’s books have entertained and enthralled generations of New Zealand readers and this prize offers the opportunity for an unpublished New Zealand-based illustrator to illustrate Mahy’s heart-warming story, The King in the Cupboard, which has never before been published as a picture book.

Previously unpublished New Zealand Illustrators are invited to explore, with a little girl called Sarah, her new home and a very magical cupboard under the stairs. The Margaret Mahy Estate and Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand encourage the illustrators to think as creatively as possible, particularly around the use of colour, shape and form.

Working closely with the Margaret Mahy Estate, Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand will award a $1000 cash prize, a $500 library of books and the opportunity for this project to be developed into a published picture book.

Previous winners of The Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize include:

  • 2019: Sarah Greig for her fun-filled submission of The Boy With Two Shadows, which was published in late 2020.
  • 2020: Lily Emo for her breathtaking submission of The Boy Who Made Things Up, which will be published in August 2021.

How to Enter:

Register to enter below.

Once registered we will email you:

  • The text for the story.
  • A brief with rubric included.
  • The storyboard template.
  • An illustrator questionnaire.
  • Instructions on how to submit your illustrations.

You have until 12pm Thursday 29th July 2021 to submit your entry.

You will need to submit:

  • Your artwork (see below for specifications)
  • A completed illustrator questionnaire.
  • A media friendly photo of yourself (shoulders up and high res).

The information from the illustrator questionnaire and photo will be used if you are a finalist or winner.

Your submission will need to fit the following specifications:

  • A storyboard* for 15 spreads** and final artwork for 3 spreads
  • There is a choice of two formats for the finished book: 250mm x 250mm or 250mm (high) x 180mm (wide). Please choose the format best suited to your style.
  • Artwork must be created in spreads, at 100% size, or up to 30% larger, allowing at least 5mm bleed
  • Any medium may be used, but final artwork must be flat so it can be scanned. Illustrations with novelty elements or 3D structures will not be eligible.
  • Artwork should be supplied digitally as one low res PDF. File size must be no larger than 100MB.
  • Original artwork should be created in high res should your entry be successful and selected for print.
  • Flattened text on a PDF is acceptable, but original high res files should place text on a separate layer. Text should be in black, either typed or handwritten.
  • Please ensure the file is labelled with your full name as follows: firstname_lastname.pdf.

*A storyboard is a visual narrative layout. It verifies that text, pacing and plot work within the picture book format. We will send you a template of a storyboard you can use once you have registered.

**A spread is made up of 2 facing pages. It might have lots of pictures on it, or one big illustration stretching across the two pages.

Register now:

Read the Terms and Conditions.

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