Golden Baobab Launches the Golden Baobab Prizes for Illustrations

Accra, Ghana, November 28, 2013: Golden Baobab has announced the launch of its new prizes, the $7,500 Golden Baobab Prizes for Illustrations, under which there are two awards: The Golden Baobab Prize for Illustrators and The Golden Baobab Prize for Rising Illustrators. These new illustration prizes are the biggest annual pan-African awards for African illustrators.

At the launch which was held at La Villa Boutique Hotel in Accra, Deborah Ahenkorah, co-founder and Executive Director of Golden Baobab, shared her reasons for launching the Golden Baobab Prizes for Illustrations. She said “Golden Baobab started out as a very small organization which sought to encourage African writers to create stories for African children. We have now been running our literature prizes for five years and in this time we have received over a thousand stories. At a point we realized that we needed to encourage African illustrators as well as writers because illustrations are just as important as text in a children’s storybook. It is for this reason that Golden Baobab is launching these new illustration prizes today. We want to discover, motivate and celebrate African illustrators who are dedicated to creating beautiful illustrations for children.”

Mr. Asare Yamoah, President of the Ghana Book Publishers Association (GBPA), who was present at the event to help launch the prizes, congratulated Golden Baobab for its work to date and for its new initiative. During his speech he spoke about the importance of developing a love for reading at a young age and that this could be made simpler if children had lots of interesting books with colourful illustrations. Mr. Yamoah went on to say, “When we go to international book fairs, everyone clamours for our adult African literature but when it comes to children’s books, we have realized that we cannot compete with publishers from Europe, India or America. I am happy to be here to support the launch of these new Golden Baobab Prizes for Illustrations, which will undoubtedly help to change the face of Ghanaian and African children’s literature.”

After his speech, Mr. Yamoah, together with Deborah Ahenkorah, officially launched the Golden Baobab Prizes for Illustrations. The 2014 Golden Baobab Prizes for Illustrations poster, which was designed by the talented Ghanaian illustrator, Hanson Akatti, was then presented to the crowd.

The Golden Baobab Prizes for Illustrations were designed with invaluable input from world renowned children’s writer-illustrator, Meshack Asare, and two-time Caldecott award winning illustrator, Paul Zelinksy, both of who have facilitated Golden Baobab Illustrator workshops in Accra. Award winning children’s book writer-illustrator, Niki Daly, also lent his expertise to the designing of the prizes.

Deborah Ahenkorah spoke some more on the new prizes, saying, “illustrators will be asked to submit illustrations per Golden Baobab specifications. Once we have received all the submissions, we will have dedicated art teachers, illustrators, publishers, teachers and children from all over the world who will sift through them and together, decide on a longlist. These will then go on to the judges who will ultimately decide on the winners.”  She further stated that the judges will be looking out for illustrators who are not only talented but are passionate about illustrating for children and have a track record to show for it.

Other guests who attended the launch include Larry Otoo, renowned Ghanaian painter, Kathy Knowles,  children’s book writer and publisher, Jarreth Merz, Ghanaian film producer whose work includes “An African Election,” a documentary on Ghana’s 2012 presidential elections,  Giulia Tavolato, the Country Manager for Reach for Change, and other Golden Baobab supporters.

 The 2014 Golden Baobab Prizes for Illustrations were sponsored by the kind donations of individuals all around the world during Golden Baobab’s Global Giving campaign. The organization is currently looking for meaningful partnerships to help take its work further.

Speaking about her expectations of the new prizes, Nanama B. Acheampong, coordinator of the Golden Baobab Prizes expressed her excitement at the endless possibilities: “With these new illustration prizes we hope to discover African illustrators who, hand in hand with African writers, will create beautiful books for African children!”

More information on the Golden Baobab Prizes for Illustrations will be up on the Golden Baobab website soon (www.goldenbaobab.org). For more photos of the launch, visit our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151713369466734.1073741839.20509716733&type=1.