The Invisible Prize

The Invisible Prize – first winner announced

The work of the illustrator is key to inspiring our first love of books. We all know and love many picture book characters from their image alone. Picture Hooks are proud to announce a new, bi-annual award, The Invisible Prize, which will acknowledges the quiet reach and huge influence of the illustrator.

This year, The Invisible Prize is awarded to Pam Smy: a skilled and talented illustrator with a remarkable body of work.  She is fully committed to the value and importance of picture books; someone who has supported and inspired other illustrators, but done so ‘invisibly’ – modest, unassuming, steadily supporting others for years without looking for acclaim.  

Vivian French and Lucy Juckes from Picture Hooks say:

“There is little publicity given to children’s picture books and many of the creators remain relatively ‘invisible’. Together with her publishers and many, many illustrators who have been nurtured and inspired under her care.”

“We are delighted to give this year’s award to the inimitable Pam Smy.”

Pam Smy

Illustrators Brigitta Sif and Puck Koper respectively say: 

“Pam Smy is … well, she is a force!” “Her passion is contagious.” 

Pam Smy says, “Making, reading, talking about and teaching illustration has been the constant passion of my adult life. Working with aspiring and established illustrators to help them discover their own creative voice, and to play a small part in matching some of them with publishers is a privilege. As all people in publishing will know, so much happens behind the scenes that remains unseen before a book gets onto the bookshop shelf, and to have my contribution to this process recognised by the Invisible Prize is an incredible honour. I am grateful to Vivian French and Lucy Juckes of Picture Hooks for their thoughtfulness in shining a light on the role that education can play in the development of the illustrators of tomorrow.”

Pam Smy is an illustrator and educator who has worked for a range of UK publishers including Penguin Random House, The Folio Society, David Fickling Books and Pavilion. Her first graphic novel, Thornhill, was shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Prize in 2018. Pam has worked as an illustration tutor at Cambridge School of Art, principally on the MA Children’s Book Illustration course, for many years.