The Rudolf Koivu Prize 2019 for the best book illustration for children and youth was awarded to Marika Maijala for her debut book Ruusun matka (Etana Editions, 2019). The prize is given by Grafia every other year and is worth 10,000 euros. This year, 108 works competed for the award.
"We are extremely happy for Marika", publisher Jenni Erkintalo of Etana Editions rejoices. "It has been an honor to be involved in polishing this literary diamond from her exceptionally vibrant images and crystallized text. The bold and multi-layered book is a perfect match for Etana Editions as well. The book's translation rights have already been sold into seven languages. Next week, we'll be excited to see if the work will also receive the Nordic Council's children's and young people's literature award 2019."
The competition jury included illustrator Sanna Mander (Rudolf Koivu 2017 winner), executive director Kaisa Laaksonen , illustrator Robert Lönnqvist , senior designer Rasmus Snabb and graphic designer Tuija Tarkiainen.
The jury's reasoning
"The story of Ruusu's journey describes the world through the eyes of a dog. Ruusu is a dog that loves to run. This can be seen in the illustration, which has speed and movement. The illustration is unrestrainedly expressive, but at the same time accurate. Maijala's chosen technique supports the story and makes the pace visible. You can't control the wax chalk, but the pictures are still perfect. Maijala's illustration is seemingly clumsy, but on closer inspection it is perfectly controlled.
The book is the first that Marika Maijala has also written. The text and image carry the story skillfully together. The book's illustration is Maijala's wildest so far. In Ruusu's journey, she has a new technique at her disposal, which brings out the author's personality. The work is a continuation of Marika Maijala's previous illustrations, but the style has developed over the years."
Illustrator and writer Marika Maijala (b. 1974) lives and works in Helsinki. She has been awarded the Rudolf Koivu illustration Prize. Ruusu Matka is currently nominated for the 2019 Nordic Council Children's and Young People's Literature Prize. At the Frankfurt Book Fair 2019, Ruusu matka was included in the international exhibition "100 Outstanding Picturebooks". The Book Arts Committee chose the book as one of the five most beautiful books of 2018, and Maijala received Grafia's Silver Peak award for it in the Peaks of the Year 2019 competition. Marika Maijala has also recently been nominated as a 2020 ALMA candidate. In the past, two books illustrated by Maijala have been nominated for the Finlandia Junior award.
Rudolf Koivu Prize
Grafia, the association for designers of visual communication, awards The Rudolf Koivu Prize every two years for the best children's or youth book illustration. The Rudolf Koivu Prize was started in 1949 to honor the life work of the illustrator Rudolf Koivu, who was one of the founders of Grafia.