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Storylines Gavin Bishop Award

Gavin BishopBackground

The Storylines Gavin Bishop Award was established in 2009. The award aims to encourage the publication of new and exciting high-quality picture books from new New Zealand illustrators. It also recognises the contribution Gavin Bishop has made to the writing and illustrating of children’s picture books and gives an emerging talent the opportunity to benefit from his expertise.

The award is open to previously unpublished illustrators. It not open to any illustrator who has had a picture book, either fiction or non-fiction for either children, young adults or adults published in print or digital format (i.e. one sold through physical or online bookstores) or in the process of publication. Previous publication by the illustrator in school readers and similar educational material; magazine articles; anthologies; or any self-publishing where the print run is under 300 copies, is allowable. (If in doubt, illustrators should seek a ruling from Storylines.)  Eligibility criteria are stated on the Entry Form.

Penguin Random House New Zealand is the sponsor and Storylines administers the award. The winner receives a $1,500 monetary prize and mentoring and support from celebrated children’s author and illustrator, Gavin Bishop, and may also receive an offer of publication by Penguin Random House New Zealand.

The award is biennial, with the presentation of the award made at the Storylines Margaret Mahy Day in March. Applications will next be called for an award to be made in 2019. Each entrant is required to submit a storyboard, a page of rough drawings and two pieces of finished art to fit with text provided by Penguin Random House.

You can view the guidelines, entry form, manuscript and storyboard for 2016. Entries for the next award close 30 November 2018.

NB: Members must be logged into the website to access the Members entry fee.

2017 winner Lael Chisholm - smaller-400

Lael Chisholm, an 18-year-old freelance artist and designer from Feilding, has won the prestigious Storylines Gavin Bishop Award for Illustration for 2017. The Award will be presented at The Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and National Awards Day on Sunday 2 April 2017 in Auckland.

“Lael Chisholm's entry, from more than 25 submissions, delighted all three judges not only for the interesting and thoughtful interpretation of the story but for the assured use of materials and technique,” says leading New Zealand illustrator Gavin Bishop. “There is a career as a picture book artist ahead of this young woman if she wants to go in that direction.”

“Penguin Random House New Zealand is delighted to have worked with Storylines to reinstate the Storylines Gavin Bishop Award this year,” said Publishing Director Debra Millar. “The award is a wonderful way to showcase emerging talent and has once again led to the discovery of an exciting new illustrator. That this year’s winner, Lael Chisholm, has not long finished school has blown us away!”

‘We are very much looking forward to publishing Lael’s illustrations to accompany the story Granny McFlitter, the Champion Knitter by Heather Haylock in 2018.”

Lael was an outstanding student leader at Feilding High School, including dux for 2015. The sixth child in a family of 10, she began drawing from an early age. She developed an interest in illustration in her final years of schooling, attracted by the challenge of creating artwork that combined design, illustration and storytelling. Her long-term ambition is to write and illustrate her own picture books.

At Feilding High School’s Evento Wearable Art awards in 2014, contested by 11 local schools, Lael won the BNZ design scholarship for her entry in the Dr Seuss category.


2017 Shortlist:GBA w GB and Debra Millar PRH MM Day 2017-369

  • Sarah Cant
  • Lael Chisholm
  • Emily Walker
  • Emma Scheltema
  • Lily Emo
  • Minrui Lang
  • Rebecca Gibbs
  • Sarah Greig

Winner of the Storylines Gavin Bishop Award Lael Chisholm (second from right) with Debra Miller (Penguin Random House, (third from right), Gavin Bishop (fourth from right), Storylines Trustee Libby Limbrick (far right) and shortlisted illustrators (from left) Sarah Greig, Rebecca Gibbs, Minrui Lang, Emma Sheltema, Emily Walker (front), and Sarah Cant. (Photo: Crissi Blair)

Lael received her award, and the shortlisted entrants received certificates at the Storylines Margarget Mahy Day on 2 April. Lael was also interviewed on Radio New Zealand National; the interview was broadcast on Standing Room only on the afternoon of the awards presentation.You can listen to it here.
Previous recipients of the Storylines Gavin Bishop Award are:


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