John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury win double BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award


John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury, two of the most iconic children’s authors and illustrators in recent times, have won the first ever double BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award.

The BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates the body of work of an author or illustrator who has made an outstanding contribution to children's literature. The award was set up in 2015 to recognise an author or illustrator's lifetime of work. The first winner was Shirley Hughes, author of Dogger and the Alfie series, Judith Kerr was awarded the accolade in 2016 and The Snowman author Raymond Briggs was honoured with the prize in 2017.

Diana Gerald, CEO of BookTrust, said of the joint award:

“We have taken the unprecedented decision to honour them both because choosing between two giants of children’s books proved near impossible and felt that both their brilliance should be recognised. Acknowledging these two titans of industry is a tremendous honour and they are both so equally deserving.”

John Burningham is famous for books such as Borka: The Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers, Husherbye, Avocado Baby and Granpa, which tackles important issues such as bereavement. Helen Oxenbury, meanwhile, is best known for illustrating titles such as The Giant Jumperee, Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. The couple, who married in 1964, have won several literary awards individually but have only collaborated on one book together, There’s Going to be a Baby, published by Walker in 2010. 

John said of winning the award:

“I’m incredibly grateful to be given an award for a lifetime of work. I’m so very flattered when I hear people now say they love my books and that something I did 50 years ago still works and is enjoyed by their family.”

Helen commented:

“It’s particularly lovely as we have been awarded this honour jointly - and to get an award from BookTrust who know everything there is to know about children’s books is just wonderful.”

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