‘A marvellously observed relentless tale’ Observer
At the start of it all, Jonathan Pine is merely the night manager at a luxury hotel. But when a single attempt to pass on information to the British authorities – about an international businessman at the hotel with suspicious dealings – backfires terribly, and people close to Pine begin to die, he commits himself to a battle against powerful forces he cannot begin to imagine.
In a chilling tale of corrupt intelligence agencies, billion-dollar price tags and the truth of the brutal arms trade, John le Carré creates a claustrophobic world in which no one can be trusted.
‘He can communicate emotion, from sweating fear to despairing love, with terse and compassionate conviction’ Sunday Times (on The Spy Who Came in from the Cold)
John le Carré has sold millions of books and many have been turned into films and TV dramas starring the great and the good and with huge audiences. Described as the greatest chronicler of the age, le Carré writes books that are thrilling reads and are brilliantly acute about human weakness – pointing out the motivations of those in power, undermining the moral superiority of governments. His novels are always rich in character and wit, he skewers pomposity and questions any ideas of fixed hierarchies, like good vs bad, communism vs capitalism, etc. He is most famous for writing about the Cold War but has also addressed the War on Terror, Russian money in the City of London, Big Pharma, and the arms trade. His novels have been set all over the world – Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Britain.
John le Carré is not a crime writer in the classic sense of the word, and The Night Manager is not your usual spy book, so try to avoid the usual spy and crime clichés that characterize so many books in this genre. We are looking for a clever, fresh, contemporary and above all original design that appeals to a broad, modern audience.
The Night Manager was made into a BBC TV series, with Jonathan Pine played by Tom Hiddleston, but beware that the series did change some of the characters, so try to get your hands on a copy of the book to get a flavour of le Carré’s writing and some of the themes central to the book.
Your cover design needs to include all the cover copy as supplied and be designed to the specified design template (B format, 198mm high x 129mm wide, spine 21mm wide). Please refer to the Submissions Details page for full details of the spec and how to submit your entry.
Copyright must be cleared for all images used in your cover design and you must include a credit line on the back cover of your design for any third party images used. For example: ‘Cover photograph by Joe Bloggs’.
We are looking for a striking cover design that is well executed, has an imaginative concept and clearly places the book for its market. While all elements of the cover (front, back and spine) need to work together, remember that the front cover has to be able to work on its own, and to be eye-catching within a crowded bookshop setting as well as on screen at a reduced size for digital retailers.
The winning design will need to:
The winner of each category will be invited to spend four weeks in the Penguin Random House Design Studios on a work placement*, working on live briefs. The work placement will be paid at the current London Living Wage rate (subject to any applicable taxation) and the winner will also receive a cash prize of £1,000.
*Subject to agreeing terms in advance. Entrants must be eligible to work in the UK. The provision of the work placement prize shall be subject to any necessary restrictions under government guidance concerning the Coronavirus (COVID -19) outbreak.
The winner of the 2nd Prize will receive a £500 cash prize.
The winner of the 3rd Prize will receive a £350 cash prize.
All the shortlisted entrants will be invited to an award ceremony where the winners will be announced, and at which an exhibition of all the shortlisted designs will be on display.
Joanna has had a guiding hand on Penguin’s design for many years. In her role as Marketing and Publicity Director of Penguin UK (until July 2009) she helped to position Penguin’s books for the marketplace through their cover design and stand-out marketing campaigns. She was instrumental in setting up the Penguin Design Award in 2007 as a legacy of the company’s 70th Anniversary. She is also responsible for the comprehensive collection of text-based art that adorns the meeting rooms and corridors of Penguin’s offices at 80 Strand. In her current role as Managing Director of Penguin General Books she is responsible for publishing prize winners and bestsellers, including Michelle Obama, Ali Smith, Arundhati Roy, John le Carré, Zadie Smith, Ben Macintyre, Philippa Perry and Dolly Alderton.
Richard Bravery – Art Director, Penguin General Books and Michael Joseph
Richard studied Illustration at Falmouth and has an MA in Typography from London College of Printing. After graduating Richard worked in a variety of creative industries including Furniture Design, before embarking on a career in Cover Design firstly at 4th Estate and then with Penguin, where he has worked since 2007. As a Designer for Penguin General, he works on a wide-ranging list of authors including Zadie Smith, Dave Eggers, John le Carré and Alain De Botton.
Jim Stoddart – Art Director, Penguin Press
After graduating in Sheffield, Jim took a placement at Bill Smith Studio in London, which turned into a job designing record and CD covers for such labels as EMI, Virgin, BMG, Mute and Trojan Records. Five years later he joined Penguin, where he worked as a cover designer for eighteen months, and then he went to work with Chris Ashworth under Lewis Blackwell at Getty Images for twelve months. In 2001 he returned to Penguin as Art Director of Penguin Press, where he has overseen the redesign and rebranding of Penguin Classics, Penguin Modern Classics and Pelican Books, as well as designing and art-directing covers for Penguin’s Allen Lane hardback imprint, the Particular Books imprint and Penguin non-fiction paperbacks.
Eliza Williams - Editor, Creative Review
Eliza Williams is Editor at Creative Review magazine, and a writer, critic and broadcaster on art, design, advertising and music. She also hosts the Creative Review Podcast. Eliza has published two books via Laurence King, titled This Is Advertising and How 30 Great Ads Were Made, and has contributed texts to several books published by Phaidon, including The 21st Century Art Book and The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design.
Millie Marotta – Illustrator
Millie Marotta is an Illustrator working from her studio by the sea in a little corner of West Wales. Growing up in the hills of rural Wales she developed a fascination with nature and later went on to study Wildlife Illustration. Her passion for wildlife, a love of decorative design and a keen eye for detail are at the core of Millie’s work.
In 2014 she released Animal Kingdom - A Colouring Book Adventure, which went on to become a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller. Since then she has created a further six colouring books, loved by fans the world over. In 2019 she became a patron for The Big Draw, a role in which she champions the important message that everyone can be creative.
Her most recent book A Wild Child’s Guide to Endangered Animals sees Millie delve into working in full colour alongside writing about a subject very close to her heart. Above all else her intention is to create beautiful and captivating work, which both celebrates and raises awareness of the natural world.
Confused as to how designers work with a brief? Marianne Issa El-Khoury, Junior Designer at Transworld, shares her book design process from research to working with an Editor.
What comes next after graduation? As part of the Student Design Award series of blogs, we share the best steps you can take to become a book designer.