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Edgar Valter Illustration Prize’s laureate this year is Piret Raud

On 21st of September, the day of the 94th anniversary of Edgar Valter, Estonian Children’s Literature Centre presented the eponymous illustration prize to the children’s book author and artist Piret Raud. The prize is monetary and comes with the opportunity to organize a personal exhibition at the center’s illustration gallery in the autumn of 2023.

A jury composed of experts in children’s literature and illustration selected the prize laureate and nominees from among 32 book artists, taking into account books published in the last five years. Among the laureate Piret Raud’s co-nominees were illustrators Ulla Saar, Kertu Sillaste, Marja-Liisa Plats, and Catherine Zarip.

According to the jury chairperson, Triin Soone, Piret Raud is a sensitive and observant artist who is aware of life’s nuances and meanings, and she consciously follows her path as an illustrator. “Piret Raud knows exactly where she is and where she wants to go; the trends of the moment do not influence her. She remains delightfully faithful to her drawing technique and has achieved enjoyable perfection in it. Every detail in her picture is precisely in its place, where it doesn’t go unnoticed but at the same time contributes to the overall balance. Thanks to her significant international recognition, we now first see what she publishes in the wider world, and only then do we anticipate the work at home,” noted Soone.

The laureate herself has spoken about her work: “I work on one book for a long time, often nearly a year, so it’s important for me not to get tired or bored. That’s why I try to find a new angle for myself with each new book. These are seemingly trivial things, like how to draw a tree or a flower or what the overall level of stylization is. An observer may not notice these nuances at all, but for me, personal interest and enthusiasm in illustration are the most important.”

The nominees were selected by a 7-member jury consisting of Eva Laantee Reintamm (art historian), Kadri Hinrikus (children’s magazine Täheke), Leelo Märjamaa (IBBY Estonia section), Regina Lukk-Toompere, and Anne Pikkov (Estonian Association of Graphic Designers), Asta Trummel (Ministry of Culture in Estonia), and Triin Soone (Estonian Children’s Literature Centre).

The Illustration Prize was established in 2019, with Regina Lukk-Toompere being the first laureate. In 2021, Anne Pikkov received the recognition.

The goal of the award is to value and recognize the work of Estonian book artists, promote and support the development of Estonian children’s literature, and preserve the memory of Edgar Valter. The award is supported by the Ministry of Culture.

You can find an overview of previous years’ Valter Prize laureates and nominees here.

In the photo, this year’s Edgar Valter Illustration Prize laureate Piret Raud is pictured with nominees Ulla Saar, Kertu Sillaste, Marja-Liisa Plats, and Catherine Zarip (author: Aron Urb).