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Attending BIB in Bratislava


Pam Dix, Chair of IBBY UK, reports on BIB, Biennale for Illustration Bratislava.


submitting illustrations and the UK entries for the 2017 competition. The UK submission was collaboration between the two nominating bodies – IBBY UK and ICPBS (International Centre for the Picture Book in Society) So it was with some excitement and curiosity that I went to Bratislava earlier this month to see what it’s all about. I was joined by the team from ICPBS and a few of our UK entrants.


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Bratislava is a beautiful city of less than half a million inhabitants in Slovakia, itself a small country. It is quite a feat to pull off such a high status international competition, and to have done so for more than 50 years. The organisers are immensely proud of this, especially as they have held on to the Award during all the political changes the country has undergone. In alternate years they hold an equivalent animation award (http://www.bibiana.sk/en/archive/ biennial-animation-bratislava) in which the UK does not currently participate. They have sent us back on a mission to rectify this.


At the start in the 1960s, the illustration award was both a celebration of the enthusiasm there was for illustrated children’s books in the region and a way of bringing the world to a country whose people could not travel easily. The BIB Director, Zuzana Jarasova, told us at the award ceremony, ‘When a group of people passionate about beautiful picture books for children in Slovakia led by Dušan Roll were starting BIB over half a century ago, they had a motto: “Since we are not able to travel into the world, let the world come to us!”’


In 2017, the 26th award, the world is still coming with 49 countries, 373 illustrators, 488 books and almost 2700 illustrations. These all have to be considered by the international panel of 10 judges and all submitted illustrations are displayed. This year the BIB exhibition was held in a new venue, the Slovak National Museum.


The winners were announced at a glamorous award ceremony in the Slovak National Theatre. Introducing the awards, the BIB Director said ‘As long as there are people on this planet who believe that beauty and art can make our world a better plac, and especially that it is children who deserve the best, picture books still remain for children the first step into the world of art. After all, in spite of so often proclaimed end or death of classical books in the time of digitalisation, we are witnessing just the opposite - a new renaissance of the picture book’.


BIB Grand Prix winner 2017 Ludwig Volbeda, Netherlands: The Birds (author: Ted van Lieshout)


iet Grobler’s article in BfK 225 outlined the background to BIB, Biennale for


Illustration Bratislava, (http://www. bibiana.sk/en/biennial-illustrations-bratislava), the process of


In the Museum, the BIB exhibition is organised over two floors, and to see 2700 illustrations takes a lot of looking. In addition there are accompanying exhibitions: Laura Carlin, the BIB Grand Prix winner 2015; Rotraut Susanne Berner and Cao Wenxuan, the current Hans Christian Andersen Award laureates for illustration and literature respectively; the Slovakian illustrator, Svetozár Mydlo; and an exhibition from Nami Island in South Korea.


16 Books for Keeps No.226 September 2017


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