Iwona Chmielewska wins BolognaRagazzi Award

Polish illustrator, Iwona Chmielewska, was awarded the main prize in the New Horizons category in the BolognaRagazzi Award 2020 awarded by the International Book Fair in Bologna - the world's largest and most important children and youth’s book fair. It is the third time she has been recognised in such a way in her career, earlier the jury recognised her A House of the Mind: Maum and Oczy ("Eyes", in 2011 and 2013 respectively).

Iwona Chmielewska received an award in the New Horizons 2020 category for the text and illustrations for the book Kołysanka dla babci ("Lullaby for Grandmother"), published in Korean by BIR publishing house from Seoul.

“A book about the city of Łódź, about Pabianice - my hometown. About my grandmother Hulda, tirelessly working three shifts at the looms. About Łódź's ever underappreciated female textile workers. About their simple lives. Following a hard year personally, having spent most of it in a hospital when I thought there were no new horizons for me, this award emerged. Many thanks to the publishers for believing in this book, for the beautiful design, the large format, the paper and the cover - for everything that makes this humble book presented so beautifully. Thank you to Jiwone Lee, it's our third award together!” wrote Iwona Chmielewska on Facebook.

Iwona Chmielewska was born in 1960 in Pabianice. She graduated in graphic design from the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. She lives there and teaches the subject "Creative writing" at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the local university. She has received many international awards. The most important awards being the Golden Apple at the Biennial of Illustration in Bratislava for "Thinking ABC", the book that teaches Korean children English through imagery, and twice the BolognaRagazzi Award: in 2013 for Eyes, a visually poetic tale of exploring the world through the senses, and in 2011 for the illustrations for A House of the Mind: Maum with the text by Kim Hee-Kyung (Changbi Publishers, Korea).

An important book in Chmielewska's oeuvre is Pamiętniki Blumki (“Blumka’s Diary"), where she reveals Janusz Korczak's Warsaw to her readers, combining facts with fiction, she reminds us of the fate of the children from the Orphanage, the Old Doctor, and Mrs Stefa. The book was published in co-edition with the German publishing house Gimpel Verlag and was published on the 70th anniversary of Janusz Korczak's death. The book was published simultaneously in Poland and Germany, and the rights to it were also purchased in Korea. Iwona Chmielewska is the only Polish author who has her fan club in South Korea. She often and gladly returns there, conducts classes with students in Seoul, meets with readers who, thanks to her, have learned a lot about Polish culture and the history of Toruń, the hero of one of her books.

This year, Iwona Chmielewska has a chance to win another award connected with the Bologna fair, even more prestigious, called the Little Nobel - the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the most important recognition for authors of children's literature. It is awarded every two years to authors and illustrators of children's books. Nominated artists are selected by the International Board on Books for Young People. On 24th January, the names of the nominees this year were announced - in the graphic category, one of the nominees is Iwona Chmielewska and artists from Canada, Japan, Holland, Spain, and Switzerland. So far only one Pole, Zbigniew Rychlicki, has received the award. The winner will be announced on 26th March, just before the Bologna Children's Book Fair.

During the fair, Polish illustrators will also receive a mention in the Opera Prima category, which was awarded to the book Widziałem pięknego dzięcioła ("I Saw a Beautiful Woodpecker") by Michał Skibiński, illustrated by Helena Stiasny (formerly known as Ala Bankroft). We wrote more thoroughly about it at this address.

[source: Polish Press Agency (PAP)]