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Golden Baobab was invited to speak and exhibit illustrations at the 2016 Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC), held in Singapore. AFCC is an annual event organized by the National Book Development Council of Singapore to celebrate and promote the creation and appreciation of children’s book content, with a focus on Asian themes. The AFCC 2016 had over 100 local and international speakers, including authors, illustrators, publishers, media professionals and advocates from countries across Asia, Europe, Australia, and North America. Golden Baobab was proud to be representing the African continent.

2016 AFCC panel on We Need Diverse Books

Like the African continent, Asia boasts of widely diverse cultures and languages. Both regions have a shared history of colonization and today even experience similar development challenges. Being invited to AFCC was an opportunity for Golden Baobab to get to know works and writers from Asia and vice versa. While children’s books from Africa and Asia may not be traveling widely to readers all over the world, it is collaborations and partnerships such as this one that begin to pave the way for increased awareness of children’s literature from our respective parts of the world.

At the festival, our Executive Director, Deborah Ahenkorah Osei-Agyekum spoke on various panels about the African children’s industry, its challenges and the role Golden Baobab is playing in the space. She discussed the transformative power of culturally sensitive stories on children and examined various possible models for the effective distribution of books. Deborah revealed various steps our sister company, African Bureau Stories, is taking to navigate publishing and upcoming titles.

Our Executive Director speaking at the 2016 AFCC in Singapore      Our Executive Director speaking at the 2016 AFCC in Singapore

Also part of the festival, finalists illustrations from the inaugural Golden Baobab Prize for African Illustrators were exhibited in Singapore at the Book Illustrators Gallery (BIG) from May to June. BIG is part of AFCC, and aims to showcase local and regional illustrators and artists and promote them to a wider audience. Importantly, it offers a platform for authors, publishers and the public to take note of illustrators showcased.


Illustrations from the inaugural Golden Baobab Prize for African Illustrators exhibited at BIG, Singapore

 

Illustrations from the inaugural Golden Baobab Prize for African Illustrators exhibited at BIG, Singapore

  Illustrations from the inaugural Golden Baobab Prize for African Illustrators exhibited at BIG, Singapore

 

The finalist illustrations showcased eleven of the finest illustrators from 5 countries across Africa. The artists featured were:

  • Elizabeth Jeffery, South Africa (http://www.greenorebooks.co.za/)

  • Melany Pietersen, South Africa (www.melanypietersen.com &  www.happyartworks.com)

  • Gyimah Gariba, Ghana (ggariba.tumblr.com)

  • Jillian Slabbert, South Africa (http://jiljarvis.co.za/)

  • Lorraine Alvarez, Zimbabwe (www.facebook.com/lorraine.alvarez.posen.art)

  • Mokoena Kobeli, South Africa (www.facebook.com/mokoena.kobeli1 or www.behance.net/mokoenakobeli)

  • Robert Foote, South Africa (www.facebook.com/robfooteillustration)

  • Setor Fiadzibey, Ghana (www.facebook.com/setor.fiadzigbey)

  • Shan Fischer, South Africa (www.shanfischer.com)

  • Wesley Van Eeden, South Africa (www.facebook.com/Resoborg)

  • Xanele Puren, South Africa (www.seesawdo.com)

  • Zineb Benjelloun, Morroco (www.facebook.com/ZNBillustrated)


Collage of finalist illustrations from the inaugural Golden Baobab Prize for African Illustrators

  Collage of finalist illustrations from the inaugural Golden Baobab Prize for African Illustrators 

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Golden Baobab announces that the second edition of the Golden Baobab Prize for Illustrators, which was launched on International Children's Book Day 2016, will begin to receive submissions in January 2017.

The Golden Baobab Prize for Illustrators is designed to discover and celebrate talented African artists and invite them to create exciting illustrations that can bring children's books to life. It offers its finalists a compelling package of media and publicity, exposure to African and international publishers and participation in an exhibition of all finalist illustrators. The winner of the Golden Baobab Prize for Illustrators receives this finalist package as well as a cash prize of 5,000 USD.

Golden Baobab is committed to supporting and promoting African illustrators and developing this important professional community of the children’s book industry. The Prize for Illustrators is organized in addition to the Golden Baobab Prizes for Children's Literature which have been running since 2008. 

For more information on submissions guidelines and deadlines of the Golden Baobab Prize for Illustrators, click here

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The 2016 Golden Baobab Prize was launched on April 2, 2016 as we commemorated the International Children’s Book Day. This is a very special launch, because we are also celebrating the 7th anniversary of the Prize. To mark this anniversary and the growth of the prize, we have introduced a refreshed identity for the the Golden Baobab Prize and refined award categories and guidelines.

New Golden Baobab Prize Logo

(Picture above: The New Golden Baobab Prize Logo)

The Golden Baobab Prize is committed to discovering, celebrating and nurturing talented African writers and illustrators. The prize has received nearly 2000 entries since its beginning and its jury has included notable literary personalities such as Meshack Asare, Bernadine Evaristo, Nii Ayikwei Parkes and Paul O. Zelinsky. Funding for the prize has come from organizations such as Echoing Green, Tigo Reach for Change and the African Library Project.

This year there are 4 prizes to be awarded: The Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books, the Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books, the Golden Baobab Prize for Illustrators and the Golden Baobab Lifetime Achievement Prize. They come with $20,000 in prize money and publishing opportunities for winning stories.

Click to hear more: 

 

If you are an African writer, illustrator/artist, get excited and ready to submit! And spread the word among other authors and illustrators you know. For more submission details, visit 2016 Prizes

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We are very excited to share that Deborah Ahenkorah, Co-founder and Executive Director of Golden Baobab has been honored with the 2015 Grinnell Prize for Social Justice Innovators. Every year, the prestigious Grinnell Prize recognizes two young innovators from around the world who are creating change with a social justice lens and this initiative is the brain-child of Grinnell College, a private liberal arts college in Iowa. It gives a $100,000 cash award to the innovative leader and their organization.  

The prize ceremony took place on Monday, October 26th 2015 at the Herrick Chapel, on the Grinnell College campus and gave a $100,000 cash award to Deborah Ahenkorah, Golden Baobab and its publishing arm, African Bureau for Children’s Stories. “We are highly honored by this prestigious recognition,” says Deborah, “In our field of work it is sometimes hard to connect with people who see your complete vision and fully understand your approach. The Grinnell Prize’s support validates our work, our efforts, our vision and the thought process behind it all.”

The second winner of the prize, Maria Vertkin, is the Creator and Executive Director of Found in Translation, and is also an Echoing Green fellow. Both Maria and Deborah gave incredible speeches upon receiving their awards. 

 

Click to watch Deborah’s speech: 

 

Click to watch Maria’s speech: 

 

Click to watch the Q & A session from both winners:

  

President Kington of Grinnell College commented, “When I created this program in 2010, my goal was to honor people who are modeling the Grinnellian ideal of learning in the service of social commitment…as the program has matured and thrived, I have come to see that it is also a powerful way to connect our students and community with exceptional social innovators.”

The ceremony culminated in a showing of the prize paintings created by artist Tillly Woodward of the Faulconer Gallery, and commissioned by Grinnell College to commemorate the winners.

Grinnell Prize painting of Golden Baobab created by artist Tillly Woodward  

As part of the prize celebrations, the Falconer Gallery at Grinnell College launched an exhibition of the finalists illustrations from the inaugural Golden Baobab Prize for African Illustrators. The installation is featured under the title “Current Styles in African Illustration.” For more on the exhibition kindly visit: http://www.grinnell.edu/about/offices-services/faulconer-gallery/exhibitions

Some of the finalists illustrations from the inaugural Golden Baobab Prize for African Illustrators 

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The Grinnell-Newburg school district in Iowa has recently organized a contest to mirror the prestigious Golden Baobab Prizes, and to recognize the opportunities it creates for writers and illustrators of children’s literature across Africa. This rising author and rising illustrator competition targeted children from 3rd to 8th grade, and received an overwhelming response from students in the community. There were multiple writing and illustration workshops organized before the competition deadline, to give tips and encourage interested contestants. The competition was set up as part of the celebrations of the 2015 Grinnell Prize for Social Justice Innovators which Golden Baobab recently won

Judges Deborah Ahenkorah, Golden Baobab staff member, Eunice Ahenkorah and Maria Vertkin, the second Grinnell Prize winner, also lent her support

 

Judges Deborah Ahenkorah, Golden Baobab staff member, Eunice Ahenkorah and Maria Vertkin, the second Grinnell Prize winner, also lent her support

(Pictures above: The judges of the contest hard at work deliberating over the entries) 

In a speech at the award ceremony, Deborah commented, “I am so thankful to the organizers from the school district, the community and Grinnell College for this wonderful initiative. Judging the student entries was such a delight! It was incredible to see the time, effort and thought behind each story and artwork. I am happy to know that Golden Baobab has left an indelible mark on Grinnell.”

There were 6 writing and illustration categories. 12 winners and honorable mentions were awarded books and gift cards during the award ceremony at the Grinnell Middle School. The contest submissions will be compiled and published as a book and offered to the winners as well. This was a great initiative to engage the children from the Grinnell-Newburg community.

The winners and honorable mentions from the contest receive their prizes.

 

The 8th grade winning entrants showing off their submissions to the crowd.

(Pictures above: The winners and honorable mentions from the contest receive their prizes)

 

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