Hachette NZ announces the winner of the Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize for 2020

Hachette NZ and the Margaret Mahy Estate are thrilled to announce Lily Emo is the winner of the Margaret Mahy Illustration Award 2020.

Lily Emo

The judging panel said Lily Emo’s ‘witty and whimsical’ illustrations of Mahy’s iconic story The Boy Who Made Things Up were immediately appealing. “There was a clarity and freshness to the work, and across the storyboard we could see Lily’s thoughtfully structured choices building an adventurous visual response to Margaret’s words.”

The judges were also charmed by her use of a beautiful fresh palette, saying, “her use of colour creates a wonderful, evocative environment, rich in detail. Her characters show a gentle warmth which feels perfect for this story.”

Bridget Mahy, from the Margaret Mahy Estate, said she could see clearly the “wit and whimsy that would work for adult and child alike, a win in itself”, and fellow judge Briar Lawry from Little Unity said, “The winning submission took our breath away with its vibrancy and seamless integration of the digital and traditional media.”

Lawry said, “Like all the finalists, there is a thoughtfulness to the way the illustration responds to the story and a glorious shift between the dad’s world and the world unlocked by Michael’s imagination.”

Lily Emo, is a Nelson-based illustrator and designer. She works with an array of mediums, including traditional materials such as watercolour, gouache, pencils, crayon and collage, as well as digital technologies.

She was recently in the media spotlight with her series The Covid 19 Portrait Project, sharing the stories and faces of New Zealand's essential workers during the Level 4 lockdown period.