Joseph Namara Hollis has won the 2022 Klaus Flugge Prize for the most exciting and promising newcomer to children’s picture book illustration.
Joseph, who was born and recently moved back to Burton Joyce with his family, won for his book Pierre’s New Hair (Tate Publishing) about a bear obsessed with looking good but also desperate to show the world his roller-skating flair.
As Pierre and the rest of the Bear Squad prepare to enter the Roller Stars Championships, his efforts to style himself and create the perfect quiff almost end in disaster, until his friends come to the rescue. Working in pen and ink and using strong graphic colours, Hollis fills the pages with energy and detail, and for all the absurdity, Pierre’s world is real and recognisable. The Klaus Flugge Prize judges found the story full of warmth and humour, admiring the composition and creation of character.
Judge Emily Gravett says, “Pierre’s New Hair is like a breath of fresh air. It made me laugh out loud. What impressed me was the way that Joseph was able to conjure up a whole world for his characters to inhabit. It was our winner because we loved how every aspect of the book fitted together perfectly to make this a quirky fun book to read.”
Joseph Namara Hollis says, “Winning the Klaus Flugge Prize is invigorating. There is a sentiment in the book about letting go, enjoying the moment and not worrying too much about how you’ll be perceived. This is a necessity when working creatively. It’s also a paradox because whilst struggling to avoid being overly concerned with what other people might think, the hope is to form a meaningful connection with readers. To know my work has touched the judges is fulfilling, it has reinforced my belief – keep doing what you love most.”
Praising the five other shortlisted illustrators, he added, “The Klaus Flugge Prize shows we’re all roller-skating in the right direction.”
Chair of the judges, Julia Eccleshare says: “Once again, this year’s shortlist was very strong and we will follow the careers of all the illustrators with huge interest. Congratulations to Joseph for Pierre’s New Hair which is original and a joy to look at. While very funny, it also slips in a message about valuing what’s really important – friends, joy, art.”
The announcement was made on the evening of the 14 September where Joseph won £5,000.