Ten years of Ars in Fabula Grant Award

Mauro Evangelista

As things go, an anniversary always forces us to reflect on the past; we see the developments of a story passing by before our eyes, even more so if it is an exhibition. This thought crossed my mind as I worked on the selection of images for the tenth anniversary of the Ars in Fabula Grant Award, the award dedicated to young talents of illustration born in collaboration with the Bologna Children's Book Fair, to which the Fair kindly wanted to dedicate an exhibition this year.

For the record, the prize consists in giving every year to the winner, selected among the participants of the BCBF Illustrators Exhibition, under thirty years of age and unpublished, the possibility of attending the Ars in Fabula Master and therefore of being able to work on an editorial commission.

Thrilling to have those drawings back in my hands! We have seen the birth of the illustrations at school, they magically ignited the memory of many moments linked to the birth of the book-projects: the inevitable crises that a creative process brings with it, especially if you face a work so demanding for the first time (the "construction" of a picture book), but also the enthusiasms, the hopes, the publishing successes, the selections at specialised fairs, the awards. Each of the projects on display, in addition to the story it illustrates, embodies many stories and all represent important pages in the history of Ars in Fabula, which for over twenty years has stubbornly pursued its original goal, that is giving its students a strong preparation, beyond the schemes, beyond the fashions, always in search of the most authentic "voice" of the individual while in close collaboration with the professional world. I could not talk about the reasons that prompted us to create this award without referring to the basic "philosophy" that has always followed the school, the purpose is always the same.

We have seen sprouting the seeds of two generations of students, many of them today "soar", internationally! I like to think that the evolution of Italian publishing from the beginning of the year 2000 to today has been possible thanks to the synergy of several actors: the attention to the young proposals of the publishers who were born in those years, the fundamental role of the BCBF, an institution that I consider a real cultural heritage of the country, and schools such as Ars in Fabula.

The Ars in Fabula Grant Award has been and will continue to be an opportunity for the new generations, an encouragement to enter the publishing world fielding their talent.

In conclusion, I would like to thank Elena Pasoli and Deanna Belluti of the BCBF for their enthusiastic and warm kindness and all the publishers (over thirty) who have been collaborating with us for many years. A special thanks to Walter Fochesato and Luigi Raffaelli who with me have formed the jury of these years of the prize and finally to Alessandra Sconosciuto of Ars in Fabula, the manager of relations with publishers who every year, like a literary agent, weaves the lines for the creation of the Master's projects.