Local graduate Cara Rooney recently won the Macmillan Prize for Illustration for her children’s book Ants.
Cara received a £1,000 first prize for her “stylish” and “eye-catching” work. The competition received 266 submissions from 41 different universities and colleges.
Macmillan cancelled the sought-after prize last year due to the pandemic. However, judges decided to widen the pool so any graduates who missed out could submit their work alongside current students.
This only added to the competition for the coveted award, making Cara’s win all the more special.
Cara was honoured to receive the accolade, saying: “I am so delighted and grateful to have won the Macmillan Prize for Illustration this year and am very thankful for the judges’ feedback on my book.
“I have always had a fascination for the natural world and have loved interactive books and activity books since I was little. I wanted to create work that would combine children’s curiosity with playful formats, encouraging interaction with the reader.”
Ants is an interactive picture book detailing the tiny world of ants. Cara hopes it will encourage children to explore nature.
Cara graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in 2020 with a degree in illustration. She is based in Dundee.
“This feels so surreal after admiring and being inspired by amazing previous winners of the competition and reading their beautiful published children’s books to my little brother and sister too,” she said.
Cara Rooney is the first student from Duncan of Jordanstone to win the prize.
“Cara’s wonderful illustration immediately caught the judges’ attention,” said the judge, chair and art and design director at Macmillan Children’s Books, Chris Inns.
“The use of a bright, but not obvious, palette of eye-catching colours and bold compositions, evocative of Matisse, made this book stand out in a very strong field. Cara’s stylish work produced an instant, positive and unanimous reaction, spreading smiles across the judging panel’s faces.”
Macmillan hope to hold an in-person reception and gallery event later this year to celebrate the winners and highly commended recipients.
Past winners have often gone on to develop their book ideas alongside the Macmillan team. The 2019 recipient published his award-winning submission We Want Our Books just this week.
Macmillan established the prize in 1985. They hoped it would inspire new work from young illustrators in art schools.
It also encourages students to take their first steps in their professional lives as illustrators of children’s books.