‘Masterful’ Empty Fridge wins Bologna award

Empty Fridge 9780987109934Gaetan Doremus’ Empty Fridge has been announced as an award winner at this week’s annual Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

The picture book with culinary flavour won the inaugural Books&Seeds Award. This award is devoted to books dealing with subjects such as agriculture, organic farming, biodiversity, food, hunger, abundance, nutrition, safety and cooking.

Here’s what the award jury, chaired by Italian writer Susanna Tamaro, said of the book:

This book is as high and tall as a building, like so many of the apartment blocks in the city. The book’s main character is a tenant who lives down in the cellar and finds a solution to solve the problem. He goes upstairs following a logical sequence and knocks on everyone’s doors, offering food together with a cooking project. Then a large round table and a huge cake in the oven suddenly colour the pages. Colour and conviviality stream out of the building flowing into other apartment blocks. Soon there is not enough space so people go out into the street and get lost in a community feasting in a street party. But was it all a dream? Or is the dream about to come true?

The book masterfully narrates the value of food in social exchange, a positive story flanking the trend to build communities and live in a community. Its analytical description of the characters and their domestic settings offers a strong and convincing example. Food is a need that brings everyone together and becomes a shared opportunity for us all, like the cake that helps to find creative solutions in the search for happiness.

Empty Fridge will be exhibited at the Biblioteca Salaborsa, in the heart of Bologna, during the Fair and then in Expo Milan 2015, as part of the Biodiversity Park.

Our congratulations must go to Seuil Jeunesse, which published the original French edition of Empty Fridge, entitled Frigo Vide.

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Wilkins Farago nominated for international Children’s Publisher of the Year award

BOP_logo_categorie.inddMelbourne independent book publisher Wilkins Farago is one of three publishers nominated in the Oceania region for the highly prestigious 2015 Bologna Prize for the Best Children’s Publisher of the Year.

The annual award is run by the Bologna Children’s Book Fair—the world’s largest and most important children’s book fair—in association with the Italian Publishers Association. Now in its third year, the Bologna Prize recognises children’s books publishers who have ‘excelled in editorial innovation’ over the previous year. Six prizes are awarded, one for each geographical area: Asia, Africa, Central-South America, Europe, North America, and Oceania.

One Red Shoe

One Red Shoe

‘We’re frankly gobsmacked to be nominated,’ said Wilkins Farago’s founder Andrew Wilkins. ‘We’re a tiny publishing house. How did they find us? We’d fit in the broom cupboards of our fellow nominees [Allen & Unwin and Text Publishing].’

Oyvind Torseter's innovatative and surreal tale about a hole that suddenly appears in a man's new apartment.

Oyvind Torseter’s innovatative and surreal tale about a hole that suddenly appears in a man’s new apartment.

Wilkins Farago specialises in translating and publishing quality children’s books from foreign languages into English from its ‘office’ in South Melbourne.

‘Our publishing policy is pretty simple: unless we find books we absolutely love, we don’t publishing anything at all,’ said General Manager Anna Wilkins. ‘Last year, we were lucky to have some exceptional books, so this nomination is really for our authors, illustrators, translators, and international publishing partners.’

Key books published in 2014 included One Red Shoe (Karin Gruss & Tobias Krejtschi), a picture book set in the war-torn Gaza Strip, the surreal graphic novel The Hole and My Father the Great Pirate, Davide Cali and Maurizio Quarello’s moving story against the background of a historic mining disaster.

These are not mainstream kids books—there are no fluffy bunnies or pink fairies—but they respect children as readers, encouraging them to think and feel, which we believe the best children’s books should do,’ said Wilkins.

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My Father the Great Pirate

Publishers are nominated for the award by international Publishers Associations and cultural institutions representing book publishers worldwide and by other publishers. The final winners are now being voted on by publishers attending the 2015 Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and will be announced at a special awards ceremony in Bologna, Italy on 30 March 2015.