Abi Bi awarded The Mac Prize for Illustration 2024

Abi Bi has been named the winner of The Mac Prize for Illustration 2024.

Abi Bi has been named the winner of The Mac Prize for Illustration 2024.

Bi, who recently completed her degree in illustration at the Cambridge School of Art, received the prize - now in its 39th year -  for her entry, It’s Swing Time.

Abi Bi said: “My artwork reflects my connection with nature and the world around me. Skilled in both traditional and digital media, I enjoy creating imaginative and metaphorical pieces with vibrant colours and rich textures. I am incredibly honoured to have won the Macmillan Prize for Illustration this year. Each page of It’s Swing Time unfolds a different story of animals on a swing, and I hope everyone can enjoy the simple yet imaginative moments of swinging along with them.”

Chris Inns, Chair of Judges and Art Director, Macmillan Children’s Books, added: “Abi’s winning entry delighted all of the judges. Her watercolour art is expressive and joyful, and her images are so engaging that it almost disguises the huge amount of skill and artistry that goes into her book. Every page depicts a simple theme, but takes it in a different direction at each turn, revealing a surprise that makes you chuckle every time. Her art has universal appeal and is perfect for children and the adults who read to them.”  

The Macmillan Prize for Illustration was established in 1985, in order to stimulate new work from non-professional illustrators, and to help them take the first steps in their professional lives as illustrators of children’s books. The prize is open to all non-professional illustrators and all submissions are anonymised prior to judging.

The 2024 judging panel comprised experts from Macmillan Children’s Books and the wider industry. Chris Inns, as Chair, was accompanied by Suzanne Carnell (Publisher of Two Hoots) and Emily Ford (Editorial Director of Picture Books), Alex T. Smith (How Winston Delivered Christmas, The Nutcracker), Camilla Reid (Who’s Cute, Five Little Ducks), Sharon King-Chai (Starbird, Counting Creatures), Lucy Bannerman (News reporter and children’s book reviewer at The Times) and Amanda Truman (Owner of Truman Books, Leeds).

The Mac Prize has discovered many talents over the years including Emily Gravett, Lucy Cousins, Ross Collins, Gemma Merino, Bethan Woollvin and Morag Hood. In 2021, Two Hoots published We Want Our Books by 2019 winner Jake Alexander to great acclaim and published Cara Rooney’s 2021 winning book, A Little World of Ants in April this year. Becky Colvin was awarded the prize in 2023 and her debut picture book, The Great Green Island, publishes next year with Macmillan Children’s Books.