Beautiful Work by Marie-Alice Harel of Edinburgh Announced as Winning Entry of the Annual Book Illustration Competition

The Folio Society and House of Illustration have announced Marie-Alice Harel of Edinburgh as the winner of the ninth annual Book Illustration Competition – a unique partnership between The Folio Society and House of Illustration.

Harel won the prestigious commission and £5000 to illustrate Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. She was presented with the award at an exclusive ceremony at House of Illustration on 26 February 2019 by Laura Cecil, founder of the first literacy agency for children’s books and Wynne Jones’s agent.

Harel’s winning entry was selected from over 500 entries received from 47 countries. Harel is a French author and illustrator based in Edinburgh, Scotland. The shortlisted artists, who each receive £500, are Emily Altman (USA, studying in UK), Julia Bernhard (Germany, student), Marina Evlanova (Russia, student), Harry Woodgate (UK, student) and Tania Yakunova (Ukraine). Harel was longlisted for her entry in 2018, and Harry was also shortlisted in last year’s competition. Four of the shortlist are students.

The Folio Society Art Director, Sheri Gee commented: ‘I was so impressed by the standard of illustration this year – narrowing it down to 5 runners up and a winner was no easy task but we couldn’t ignore the beauty and skill in the winner’s fairy-tale inspired illustrations. I’m looking forward to working with her on the rest of the commission.’

Colin McKenzie, Director of House of illustration, said: ‘Having received the highest ever number of entries from illustrators all over the world, judging was even more difficult than normal. It was wonderful to have Laura Cecil (Diana Wynne Jones’ literary agent) as part of the panel this year, and we are delighted with the shortlist and indeed the winner.’

2018 BIC winner and member of the 2019 judging panel, Max Löffler said: ‘Being part of a judging panel for the first time was an interesting experience. It was difficult to select a winner when there was such an exciting variety of visual approaches at such a high level of artistic quality.

Colin McKenzie also revealed the recipient of the People’s Choice Award, voted for by a record breaking 5279 members of the public online. The winner – Lulu Chen (Taiwan, student) – will receive books worth £100 from The Folio Society and a year’s membership to House of Illustration.

Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle, illustrated by Marie-Alice Harel and introduced by Marcus Sedgwick, will be available from The Folio Society ( in October 2019.

Marie-Alice Harel has lived in Edinburgh since 2014.  Originally from Toulouse, France, she has a PhD in Geosciences PhD from LSCE in France and holds a degree in Engineering.  Because of her passion for drawing, she decided to become a full time illustrator in 2016 and hasn’t looked back since.  She dedicates her time and energy to develop ideas and challenges herself with new projects.

The Book Illustration Competition is a partnership between The Folio Society and House of Illustration. The annual international competition is open to illustrators over the age of 18, both students and professionals, not previously published by The Folio Society. To date, the BIC has distributed over £55,000 worth of prizes and has received thousands of entries. The winner receives the prestigious Folio Society commission worth £5,000 to illustrate the competition title. Five runners-up each receives £500.

IMAGE: Book cover designed by Marie-Alice Harel ©Marie-Alice Harel 2019 from The Folio Society and House of Illustration Book Illustration Competition for Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle.