Golden Pinwheel Young Illustrators Competition Astra Award

The Golden Pinwheel Young Illustrators Competition organising committee has entered into an “award-to-award” cooperation with the Astra International Picture Book Writing Contest, organised by Thinkingdom China, Astra Publishing House, minedition Switzerland and minedition France, in order to create the Golden Pinwheel Young Illustrators Competition Astra Award. This joint award aims to promote international collaboration and publication among picture book illustrators and writers.

The award is open to all 50 finalists of the Golden Pinwheel Competition and judged by an independent jury appointed by the sponsors of the Astra International Picture Book Writing Contest. The Award offers the winner US$5,000 prize (tax included) which will be paid by the Astra International Picture Book Writing Contest sponsors, and will be offered a picture book publishing contract for the illustration of at least one winning story of the Astra International Picture Book Writing Contest. The publishing contract will be signed between the sponsors of the Astra International Picture Book Writing Contest and the winner. As a platform of international publishers, the sponsors of the Astra International Picture Book Writing Contest will consider the picture book for its publication in several languages, including Chinese, English, German, French, and Japanese.

‘The creation of the Golden Pinwheel Astra Award takes advantage of the favourable conditions offered children's book publishing, and creates beneficial synergies between both programmes’, says Donna Chai, General Manager of Ronbo BolognaFiere Shanghai Ltd, which organises the China Shanghai International Children's Book Fair. ‘Connecting talented young illustrators with award-winning storytellers will help bring more quality books to children from all over the world. The award will also be a significant tool to support and endorse the progress of emerging authors and illustrators.’

‘The Astra International Picture Book Writing Contest is unique in several ways,’ says Leonard S. Marcus, Jury President. ‘The competition is open to all writers regardless of their publishing history or nationality. All types of picture book manuscripts are eligible: fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The contest is designed to nurture the writing of great picture books by offering significant cash prizes to the winners as well as the offer of publication, for the Gold Award winner in three or more languages. By showcasing excellence in the art of picture book writing, we also aim to inspire writers around the globe to explore the picture book text as an art form and to raise the quality of these deceptively simple books for the benefit of children everywhere,” says Leonard S. Marcus, Jury President.

The award-winner will be announced on 20 November 2021 (as part of the Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair).

2021 Golden Pinwheel Astra Award Jury

© Leonard S. Marcus

Leonard S. Marcus (Jury President, USA)

Leonard S. Marcus is one of the world’s foremost writers about children’s books and the people who create them and is Editor-at-Large at Astra Publishing House. He is the author of more than 25 award-winning books. Leonard is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review and Horn Book and was Parenting magazine's book critic for 21 years. He is a founding trustee of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Leonard has judged the New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books of the Year Award (four times), the National Book Award, the Ragazzi and SM Illustrator Prizes of the Bologna Book Fair, the Fundación SM's Catálogo Iberoamérica Ilustra, Scholastic Asian Book Award (jury chair), and Chen Bochui Award.

Michael Neugebauer (Germany)

Michael Neugebauer is the founder of children’s book publisher minedition. Michael has been engaged in the publishing industry for decades, during which he has established a reputation for publishing children's books of the highest quality by working with talent from around the globe, including Hans Christian Andersen Award winners Lisbeth Zwerger, Květa Pacovská and Robert Ingpen.

Maria Russo (USA)

Maria Russo is minedition's US Editorial Director, based in New York. She is the co-author of How to Raise a Reader, the popular guide to fostering a lifelong love of books in children ages 0 to teens. Before joining minedition and Astra Publishing House she was the Children’s Books Editor at the New York Times, where she handled thousands of children's books each year, assigning reviews and essays, and writing regularly herself about children's books and their creators. Maria has also been a writer and editor at publications including the Los Angeles Times and the New York Observer. She earned a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, where she taught in the School of General Studies. Maria served as a member of jury of the Illustrators Exhibition of Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2021.

Xin Li (China)

CEO of the International Group of Thinkingdom Children's Book, former Editorial Director of Thinkingdom Children's Book.

About Astra International Picture Book Writing Contest

The Astra International Picture Book Writing Contest is organised by Astra Publishing House, minedition Switzerland, minedition France and Thinkingdom China, which is a unique competition open to writers for children, both published and unpublished. The purpose of this contest is to encourage, discover and honor talented writers of texts for picture books from all over the world; to foster literary excellence in books for young children; and to promote international cooperation and understanding through picture books. The contest is held every two years.