London Diary #3 – The Folio & House of Illustration Prize

This is going to sound ruder than its meant; sometimes emails arrive in the Savidge Reads inbox and the initial excitement is almost imminently met with gloom. I am talking about the moment a really wonderful and exciting email arrives inviting me to something bookish and fabulous and I can’t go. Normally this is because they are in London on a working day and if by some miracle I could get the day off, the train fare down is ludicrous unless several weeks/months in advance. So imagine my joy when an invite to the Book Illustration Competition Awards arrived and I was already going to be in London. This was made all the better that it was from the lovely folks at the Folio Society who make all those gorgeous editions of books for their forthcoming Ghost Stories collection, which I am going to have to get, along with The House of Illustration! How could I say no? Especially when I was allowed a plus one, and so took a friendly face you might recognise…


Yes, that is Polly, my best friend of almost thirty years (I know, we look so young don’t we) and former blogger of Novel Insights, which she won’t bring back no matter how many times I beg. She was the perfect person to have a good old gossip with over a class or two of sparkly whilst we had a look at all the long listed submissions on display in the House of Illustration’s gallery (I did have pictures but they all came out blurred or reflecting the crowd/my fizzog) and at some of the past winners of the awards…


Soon the lights went down and it was time to get ready to announce the shortlisted authors which was meant to be done by the one and only Susan Hill but who alas couldn’t make it. I was momentarily bereft, more champagne helped…


Anyway the short listed illustrators were Carrie May, Emma Buckley, Charlie Dixon, Jamie Clarke and Imogen Clifton. You can see examples of their work here along with the winner. Then it was time for the winner to be announced…


And the winner was David McConochie! Once again, as with the other event I went to in the last week, it is me taking pictures of silhouetted people…


As you can see his works are brilliantly spooky, capturing the essence of the gothic and the ghostly, it is also very varied…


This was my favourite one…


Something very sensation novel and Victorian about it. In fact I would quite like a portrait in this style of myself, just putting that out there. A huge congratulations to all the illustrators, as I am sure Polly would concur their art work was all marvellous and must have made it a very, very difficult job for the judges. I can’t wait to see the finished product when it comes out and will be purchasing a copy. I actually had a look through their catalogue on the way home and could frankly have the whole lot in my house… maybe one day when I have that stately home with its own library wing?!? I also need to return to the House of Illustration and have another wander when I am next in London.

Do you have any Folio Society editions and if so which ones? Also, I would love to know which Ghost Stories you would include in an anthology… I thought I would have loads and I don’t, which is odd as in my head I love them. I seem to have more novels, like The Woman in Black by the aforementioned Susan Hill, who I will meet one day – I will, I will, I will!



Filed under Random Savidgeness

3 responses to “London Diary #3 – The Folio & House of Illustration Prize

  1. kaggsysbookishramblings

    Not as many as I would like (for example, I’m still longing for a copy of the Folio edition of The Master and Margarita). I’m very fond of my edition of Cocteau’s “Les Enfants Terribles” though!

  2. David

    I haven’t counted but I probably have a hundred or so Folio editions – when I was at university our bookbinding tutor raved about them which is when I got into them – but I let my membership lapse a couple of years ago and now just pick up the odd one that takes my fancy. I’m not keen on the new editor’s taste in fiction (heavy leanings towards SF/Fantasy/Crime which isn’t really my thing and they dropped the Booker winners series which was building up into a really nice set) plus I think if you’re with them long enough you start to see the same titles being issued again with different bindings/illustrations, so at the moment they’re doing Anthony Trollope, Jane Austen, and the Brontes again and I already have Folio editions of all those (they also did ‘Heart of Darkness’ as the illustration competition book for 2014 despite having only completed a Complete Works of Joseph Conrad a few years ago).

    Anyway, I have many favourites (I’ve just finished reading Paul Scott’s ‘Raj Quartet’ in the Folio edition and that really added to the pleasure of reading it, as it did with Daphne DuMaurier’s ‘Rebecca’ with lovely illustrations by Emma Chichester Clark) – almost too many to list, but the Graham Greene books with illustrations by the brilliant Geoff Grandfield, EM Fortser’s novels, the Jane Austens with the classic Joan Hassall engravings, their oversized edition of JL Carr’s ‘A Month in the Country’, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’… ah, I love them all!

  3. Louise

    I have a few: French Short Stories, Droll Stories by Balzac, Marvels and Magic (British Myths & Legends, #1) , The Nun by Diderot, Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf, Chekov’s short stories and the stories of John Buchan 🙂

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