HCAA 2020 Shortlist - Profiles

HCAA 2020 Shortlist - Author and Illustrator Profiles

Argentina - Author

María Cristina Ramos

María Cristina Ramos was born in 1952 in San Rafael, Mendoza. At the age of 23, she won the Leopoldo Marechal first prize in the region of Cuyo for a selection of poems. Three years later, she moved to Neuquén, in Patagonia where she completed a teaching degree in literature. Her first book for children was the collection of poems, Un sol para tu sombrero (A sun for your hat, 1988) followed by the short stories, Las lagartis no vuelan (Lizards can’t fly, 1990) and Coronas y galeras (Crowns and top-hats, 1991), both of which were recognized at the Antoniorrobles Latin American Awards, organised by IBBY México. In 1997, De barrio somos (Our neighbourhood) was shortlisted for the Fundalectura award and Ruedamares, pirate de la mar bravia (Ruedamares, a pirate of the raging sea) was published. Her novel Mientras duermen las piedras (While the stones sleep) was shortlisted for the International Anaya Award in 2006. She has been a trainer in reading programmes both nationally and regionally since 1983 and since 2017 has run Lecturas y navegantes (Reading and navigators), a training programme for the promotion of reading literature in public schools in Patagonia, sponsored by Fundación SM. Since 2002, she has run the publishing house Ruedamares. In 2016 she received the Premio Iberoamericano SM de Literatura Infantil y Juvenil. The jury commended “her craftsmanship and her profound respect for her readers, characters, and the reality she recreates, her genuine and independent authorial voice, and the subtle incorporation of values and cultural practices of indigenous people”.

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Belgium - Author

Bart Moeyaert

Bart Moeyaert began writing at ten years old. He attended the Arts Academy in Ghent and then studied Dutch, German, and History in Brussels. By the age of 19 he had published his first book Duet met valse noten (Duet out of tune, 1983), which is now a Belgian classic and has been adapted into a play and a musical. He has written in almost every literary genre: novels, short stories, picture books, books for early readers, poetry, theatre, audio books, song texts, essays and articles. In all of them he evokes an atmosphere in a subtle and poetic way: communication is rarely straightforward in his works and characters open up only gradually. His stories combine humour and seriousness. His best known works include Blote handen (Bare hands, 1995), which won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, Broere (Brothers, 2000), De schepping (The Creation, 2003), De melkweg (The milky way, 2011) and Jij en ik en alle andere kinderen (You and me and all the other children, 2013), which is a festive illustrated collection of stories and poems for children. Bart Moeyaert’s works have been widely translated and he has translated works from well-known authors in German, French and English into Dutch. In 2007, he was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Antwerp and won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2019. He has been nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award five times and was a Finalist in 2002 and 2012.

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France - Author

Marie-Aude Murail

Marie-Aude Murail was born 1954 in Le Havre into a family of artists: her father is a poet, her mother a journalist, her brother is a composer, another brother and her sister are writers for children. She studied literature at the Sorbonne University where her doctoral thesis was about the adaptation of classic novels for young readers. At 23 she started writing romances for women’s magazines and eight years later she published her first novel for adults. She began writing tales, stories and novels published in the magazines of the Bayard Group, including Astrapi, J'aime Lire and Je Bouquine. In 1987, her first children’s novel, Mystère (Mystery), was published and from then on she devoted herself to writing for children and young people. Marie-Aude Murail has a gift for creating characters that have a special bond with the reader. Her novels explore various themes of politics, history, love, adventure and fantasy and have been translated into more than 22 languages. She has been awarded most French prizes in the field of children’s books and she was selected for the 2010 IBBY Honour List for the story Miss Charity (2008). She has been nominated several times for the Hans Christian Andersen Award: in 2018 she was a Finalist and her book, Simple (2004) was included in the list of books highlighted by the Andersen Jury as an outstanding work. In 2004, she was made “Knight of the Legion of Honour” - the highest French order for military and civil merit - in recognition for her work in the field of children’s literature. In parallel with her writing, she is an activist for literacy and the development of children’s reading skills as well as the rights of refugee and migrant children.    

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Iran - Author

Farhad Hassanzadeh

Farhad Hassanzadeh has had an influential presence on children’s and young adult literature in Iran in the past quarter century. Through his novels, stories, rewritings of old tales, poems, biographies, and journalistic essays, he has been able to encourage a broad spectrum of audiences in various age groups to read literary works. He was born in 1962 in Abadan, a town in the south of Iran by the side of the Arvand River on the Iran-Iraq border. During the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, Abadan was in the war zone and many of its citizens had to abandon the town. After leaving Abadan and doing many jobs, he was finally able to engage in his chosen career of creative writing. His diverse experiences have enabled him to create a broad spectrum of characters, circumstances and locations and he writes for various age groups. He has written about the effects of war on civilians, migration and vagrancy, teenage love, children in shantytowns, marginalized or fringe characters and social taboos. He has created over eighty works and won more than thirty national awards. His best known works include the short story collection Kenare Daryache Nimkate Haftom (The seventh bench on the lake, 2006), the young adult novels Mehmane Mahtab (The moon’s guest, 2008), Aghrabhaye Keshtiye Bambak (Bambak’s scorpions, 2009-2016) and Hasti (Hasti, 2010) as well as the children’s book Ghesehaye Kooti Kooti (Kooti tales, 2014). His stories have been being adapted into films and plays. He received the Art Medal of the First Degree from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance for creating lasting characters in children’s and young adult literature. Farhad Hassanzadeh was a Finalist for the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award and his book, Ziba Sedayam (Call me Ziba, 2015) was included in the list of books highlighted by the Andersen Jury as an outstanding work. 

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Slovenia - Author

Peter Svetina

Peter Svetina was born in 1970 in Ljubljana. He studied Slovene Language and Literature at the University of Ljubljana, where he obtained a PhD in 2001 in early Slovenian Literature. Since 2007 he has been a lecturer at the University of Klagenfurt in Austria. He is an author of short stories, novels, picture books and poetry for children, young adults and adults. He also translates poetry and children’s literature from English, German, Croatian and Czech and works as an editor for poetry and literature textbooks. His writing includes both language play and real-life topics with a distinctive method of combining nonsense and realism. To date, he has published 20 books for children and young people. Three of his stories have been adapted for puppet shows and some poems and stories have also been translated into other languages. His children’s works include the picture book Klobuk gospoda Konstantina (Mr Constantine’s hat, 2007), winner of the Original Slovenian Picture Book Award in 2008; Modrost nilskih konjev  (Hippopotamus wisdom, 2010), which won a Golden Pear Award, given by Pionirska and the Ljubljana City Library, and was included in the 2011 White Ravens collection; as well as Kako je Jaromir iskal srečo  (How Jaromir sought happiness, 2010), Čudežni prstan (The magic ring, 2011), which was included in the 2013 White Ravens selection, Mrožek, mrožek (The little walrus, 2013) and the poetry collections Mimosvet  (By-world, 2001), Pesmi iz pralnega stroja (Poems from the washing machine, 2006) and Domače naloge (Home works, 2014). Ropotarna (The lumber room) received the Golden Pear Award and the Večernica Award in 2013 and was included in the 2016 IBBY Honour List. Peter Svetina was nominated for the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award and Ropotarna was included in the list of books highlighted by the Andersen Jury as an outstanding work.

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USA - Author

Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1963, and shortly thereafter moved with her mother and siblings to Greenville, South Carolina where she spent much of her early formative years in the care of her maternal grandparents. At age seven she moved to Brooklyn, New York where she has since lived. She studied at Adelphi University and at the New School in New York and then worked as an editorial assistant and drama therapist for runaway children. Though a slow reader, she began writing as a child and now has a prolific body of writing including picture books, books for middle grade readers, and especially young adult literature. She made her debut as an author in 1990 with Last Summer With Maizon, the first book in a trilogy about a friendship between two girls. In the same year she also published The Dear One, a story about teen pregnancy. Her thirty-three books and thirteen short stories range in subjects from foster care to interracial relationships, from drug abuse to the witness protection programme, but all share the common features of lyrical language, powerful characters, and an abiding sense of hope. In 2014, her autobiographical work Brown Girl Dreaming was the winner
of the National Book Award and Coretta Scott King Award and is a Newbery Honor book. It is the centrepiece of her oeuvre: her first-hand experiences of how African-Americans were treated differently in the North and South, where her own path to becoming a writer is woven in with her life experiences. Jacqueline Woodson was a Finalist for the 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Award and won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2018. After serving as Young People’s Poet Laureate from 2015-17 she was named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for 2018-19.

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Canada - Illustrator

Isabelle Arsenault

Isabelle Arsenault was born in 1978 in Sept-Iles, Québec and currently lives in Montréal. After studies in fine arts and graphic design at the Université du Québec à Montréal, she specialized in illustration. She quickly gained recognition, receiving awards from major international illustration contests and winning the Grand Prix for Illustration from Magazines du Québec, for six years running. With fifteen illustrated books to her name, Isabelle Arsenault has won many awards and earned many distinctions, including winner of the prestigious Canadian Governor General’s Literary Award three times for Le coeur de monsieur Gauguin in 2004, Virginia Wolf in 2012 and Jane, le renard & moi in 2012. Virginia Wolf was also selected for the 2014 IBBY Honour List. Another book, Migrant (2011) and Jane, the Fox & Me (2013), the English translation of Jane, le renard & moi, were on The New York Times “Ten Best Illustrated Books” for their respective years. Isabelle Arsenault’s flexibility as an illustrator of diverse publications - from an alphabet book to a graphic novel to both fictional and non-fictional picture books - has brought her a wide-ranging audience. She is greatly admired for her ability to tackle and humanize tough and complex subject matter with a distinctive and evocative style. Her illustrations, while immediately accessible, leave a lasting impression through their subtle undercurrents. She has that uncanny ability to tap into her childhood dreams and imaginings, as well as into the minds of her subjects. Isabelle Arsenault was nominated for the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award and Jane, le renard & moi was included in the list of books highlighted by the Andersen Jury as an outstanding work.     

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Japan - Illustrator

Seizo Tashima

Seizo Tashima (born 1940 in Osaka) has been an illustrator of picture books since the 1960s, a golden age of Japanese picture books, and continues to produce powerful, passionate, and innovative works.  His first picture book was published in 1965, the folk tale Furuyanomori  (Leaky roof of the old house) by Teiji Seta. He has since published some 150 picture books of tremendous variety, some funny, others serious, stories of war, as well as folktales and books for babies.  Running through all his works there is a consistent spirit: the wellspring of his art is the vigour and vitality of life and slow-burning anger at war, destruction of the environment and discrimination as can be seen in the story Boku no koe ga kikoemasu ka (Can you hear my voice? 2012). The bold and primitive-looking technique of his 1967 work Chikara Taro (Strongman Taro), done in opaque earth paints, set the style for his depictions of character and life force through the various eras of his career. He won a Golden Apple at the Biennial of Illustration Bratislava (BIB) in 1969 for Chikara Taro. He is considered somewhat of an outsider in Japan because of his rebellious stance and constantly innovative endeavours as an artist. His work continuously challenges the boundaries between picture books and fine art, as when he created a “walk-in picture book” that opened in an abandoned school in the Niigata prefecture in 2009. He was nominated for the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award and his book, Boku no loe ga kikoemasuka was included in the list of books highlighted by the Andersen Jury as an outstanding work.

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Netherlands - Illustrator

Sylvia Weve

Sylvia Weve was born in 1954 in Utrecht and grew up in Roosendaal. She loved to draw when she was a little girl and after secondary school she studied graphic design at the Art Academy in Arnhem. Since 1978 she has lived and worked as an independent illustrator in Amsterdam. To date she has illustrated over one hundred and fifty books. Early on in her career, Sylvia Weve drew mainly with a blunted pen and ink, showing her great capability to express emotions, movement, mood and personality with just a few lines. She illustrated several books of songs and poems by Karel Eykman, and developed a strong working relationship with Rindert Kromhout, illustrating many of his children’s books from the 1980s onward. She now constructs her illustrations by combining digital and traditional techniques, combining illustration and graphic design, which has led to masterful and daring award-winning books with the author Bette Westera since 1999. Sylvia Weve has also published two of her own books, including Kip en ei (Chicken and egg, 2006) that was awarded a Vlag en Wimpel. She has been awarded the Vlag en Wimpel three times, the Zilveren Penseel three times and a Gouden Penseel.  Ik leer je liedjes van verlangen, en aan je apenstaartje hangen (I’ll teach you songs of longing, and swinging by your monkey tail, 2010), written by Bette Westera, was selected for BIB’11 and included in the 2012 IBBY Honour List. In 2012, they received the Gouden Griffel and Woutertje Pieterse Award for Doodgewoon (Dead normal), which was included in the 2016 IBBY Honour List.

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Poland - Illustrator

Iwona Chmielewska

Iwona Chmielewska (born 1960 in Pabianice) studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, graduating from the Printmaking Department in 1984. At the beginning of her career, she illustrated children’s classics such as The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, as well as Polish poetry. The turning point in her career came in 2003, when her books were published in South Korea. After publishing over 20 books, she was well known in Asia but hardly known in Poland. In 2011, Blumka’s Tagebuch (Blumka’s diary), originally published in Germany, was published in Poland as Pamiętnik Blumki. The book was loved by both readers and critics and she began to enjoy wide recognition in her own country. She won the BIB Golden Apple in 2007 for the book Thinking ABC (2006) a book for Korean children learning the English alphabet. She won the Bologna Ragazzi Award twice for Korean books, in 2011 for A House of the Mind: Maum by Kim Hee-KyungeHH and in 2013 for Eyes. Her book, abc.de (2015) was nominated for the Deutsche Jugendliteraturpreis in 2016. Thus far, she has published over 40 books, cooperating with authors and publishing houses in Poland and abroad. Her style has been described as subtle and melancholic. She often uses pencils and crayons, cutting out pieces from old notebooks and journals and embroidering with one colour. Her drawings are clear, sometimes slightly naïve, realistic but poetic, always neat and studious. She leaves a lot of empty space in her illustrations and often uses blue, which reflects the spiritual and melancholic character of many of the books she has illustrated. Iwona Chmielewska was a Finalist for the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award. 

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Spain - Illustrator

Elena Odriozola

Elena Odriozola was born in San Sebastián in 1967 and studied art and decoration. After working in an advertising agency for eight years, she began working as a full-time illustrator in 1997. Since then she has illustrated over 100 books as well as posters and book covers. Her illustrations offer a personal interpretation of each literary work: with delicate, intimate lines her drawing is subtle, refined and efficient, both technically and conceptually. Her books have been published in several Spanish and foreign languages and her work has been recognised with numerous awards. Her illustrations were selected at the BIB in 2003, 2013 and 2015 and she has won the Basque Award for Illustration twice: once in 2009 for her work in the book Aplastamiento de las gotas (The smashing of the raindrops, 2008) by Julio Cortázar and again in 2013 for Tropecista (Tumbler, 2012) by Jorge Gonzalvo. She was selected for the Bologna Book Fair exhibition in 2010 and in the same year won the CJ Picture Book Award for the book Oda a una estrella (Ode to a star, 2009) by Pablo Neruda. She was invited to the International Fair of Illustrations for Children in Sarmede, Italy in 2010, to which she returned in 2012. Her work has been selected for the IBBY Honour List twice: in 2006 for Atxiki sekretua (Keep the secret, 2004) by Patxi Zubizarreta and in 2014 for Eguberria (Christmas, 2012) by Juan Kruz Igerabide. She won the Junceda International Award 2014 for her original work for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which also earned her a BIB Golden Apple in 2015. In the same year she won the National Award for Illustration. She was nominated for the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award.    

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Switzerland - Illustrator


Albertine was born in 1967 in Dardagny, near Geneva. She studied at the École des arts décoratifs and the École supérieure d’art visuel in Geneva.  She obtained her diploma in 1990 and opened a screen-printing workshop in the same year. She became a press illustrator a year later and in 1996 she married the writer Germano Zullo. Their many joint children’s publications have received several awards, including: BIB Golden Apple in 1999 for Marta et la bicyclette (Marta and the bicycle); Prix Suisse Jeunesse et Médias in 2009; Prix Sorcières in 2011 and New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book in 2012. Her drawings are lively and full of humour using a very fine line (pencil or Rotring) and often bright and cheerful colours (gouache or digital). Her natural spontaneity appears throughout her works, with a sense of detail and an infinite precision, as well as a sense of humour. She has exhibited her drawings, screen prints, lithographic works, wood engravings, objects and notebooks in Geneva, Paris, Rome, Valencia and Tokyo. Among her most important books for children are the titles: La rumeur de Venise (The Venice rumour, 2009), which was selected for the 2010 IBBY Honour List; Les Oiseaux (Little bird, 2011); Les Gratte-Ciel (Sky high, 2011); and Ligne 135 (Line 135, 2012). Her book, Mon tout petit (My little one, 2015), an endless embrace between mother and child that unwinds in a flipbook, was selected for the 2016 IBBY Honour List; it won the 2016 Bologna Ragazzi Award and won the Green Island Award at the Nami Island Concours in 2017. She was a Finalist for the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award and her book, Les Oiseaux, was included in the list of books highlighted by the Andersen Jury as an outstanding work.

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