2017 was our first year entering the Michael Marks Awards and we were so excited that Rose Ferraby’s work for Melanie Challenger’s The Tender Map won the award for Illustration. The judge Sir Nicholas Penny commented that Rose’s ‘bold semi-abstract drawings arise from and interact with the metaphors in the poems … in a highly original way.’ Rose herself said, ‘I wanted to create marks and forms that echoed the characters of places, while the combined use of graphite, conte, wax and watercolours allowed textures to develop.’
From a publisher’s perspective, the pairing of Rose and Melanie Challenger was a natural one as they have shared many of the same landscapes, in Cambridgeshire, Scotland and Yorkshire. ‘Melanie’s language tapped into my own memories of places’, Rose said.
The award ceremony was held at the British Library and was excellently organised. Photos were taken, including of Rose receiving her prize, but it turns out photos aren’t what Guillemots do best. In most of them Rose is a barely identifiable fuzz. (Maybe we were too busy clapping.)
When Rose was in charge of the camera, we managed a few better photos of fellow award-winners Charlotte Wetton (Poetry Award) and The Poetry Business (Publishers’ Award), as well as some of the short-listed poets (congratulations to Alyson Hallett, Phoebe Stuckes, Theo Kwek and Natacha Bryan). Testament to how well all the poets read, the pamphlets were sold out by the time we got to the stall.
We’ve had a great 2017 and have a big 2018 planned too, with exciting new poetry from writers both established and new, as well as new fiction, exhibitions, collaborations, festivals and lots more . Details will follow in the New Year. Have a Happy Christmas everyone!