Winning the Klaus Flugge Prize: One Year On. A Guest Post from Nicholas John Frith

So I’m told you’d like to hear a little about the Klaus Flugge Prize and what difference winning the (inaugural) prize with my book Hector and Hummingbird has made to me?

Okay, well, the short answer is, both a good fair bit, and also none at all. 

Winning the inaugural Klaus Flugge Prize, as I have mentioned before, was wonderful and overwhelming, in equal measure. But also, it felt like a nice affirmation of what I was doing with my life  ‘Writing and illustrating picture books is my career, not just a wistful dream’, is what it said to me. Of course, it is still nice to think of it as a wistful dream, too.

As a adult or a child, I can’t remember ever winning anything before. Winning praise or accolades is rather odd in some ways, isn’t it? It definitely brought out a rather uncomfortably narcissistic side in me that I’d never seen before. Ha ha!

Since then my second and third picture books have been published: Hello, Mr Dodo! and A Werewolf Named Oliver James, respectively. Both with Scholastic/Alison Green Books. So things have been moving fairly fast. And I have a lot to thank Alison Green and Zoe Tucker for.

Regarding the difference that winning the Prize has made to my career? I guess time will tell on that one. What difference has it made to sales of my books, increased interest etc? You’d have to ask my publisher on that too. But for me things feel the same. Which is to say, good.

At the end of the day I’m just stoked to be working on picture books and for someone to be publishing them and for people to be reading them.

Possibly the best thing about winning the Prize, and I genuinely mean this, (not forgetting the very helpful prize money) was getting to judge this year’s prize. It was such a wonderful honour. I actually learnt a lot about my own work through the process of judging too. 

It was pretty cool to think that Hector and Hummingbird went through the same thing, and that Chris Riddell, Tony Ross etc. chose it out of a huge pile of other books.

So, one year on, what difference has winning the Prize made to me? I guess it has allowed me to pursue my career a little more comfortably and to reflect on the fact that you should never expect things. You should just do what you do, and focus on that. That, and maybe when you have something new to show, there will be a few more eyes waiting with a keen interest.

Can I please also just take this opportunity say thanks, to Klaus Flugge and those involved in the Prize: Andrea, Anne, Julia, and the other Judges (this year and last), and Ferelith. Also a big congratulations to Francesca Sanna for a well deserved win this year.

This guest blog was provided by Nicholas John Frith. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Federation of Children’s Book Groups.

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