Evangeline Gallagher wins 2023 Folio Book Illustration Award

London – The Folio Society, the publisher of award-winning and beautifully produced illustrated books, has revealed Evangeline Gallagher as the winner of The 2023 Folio Book Illustration Award. Launched this year to mark the Folio Society’s 75th anniversary, the competition showcases illustration talent from around the world.

Over 680 illustrators from 56 countries took part in the inaugural competition, which asked entrants to illustrate a single scene of their choice from Edgar Allan Poe’s short story The Masque of the Red Death.

Winner Evangeline Gallagher, a freelance illustrator based in Baltimore, USA, will receive a cash prize of £2,000 and £500 from Folio Society books. Their work was inspired by the depiction of the story of the masked figure of the Red Death appearing at Prince Prospero’s masquerade ball: “…while the vast assembly, as if in one motion, retreated from the center of the rooms towards the walls, he advanced without interruption”. Drawn with Procreate for iPad, the illustration makes vivid use of color, drawing inspiration from the pattern of the Abbey’s colorful stained glass window and the blood red mantle of the Red Death.

The jury has also selected a shortlist of five artists who will each receive £500 worth of Folio Society books and an individual portfolio review with the Folio Society Art Directors. They are: Harry Campbell (USA), Sarah Coomer (UK), Thanh-Vu Nguyen (Vietnam), Yiran Jia (USA) and Zhiyu You (USA). Each features a unique take on the story’s narrative and setting, from Thanh-Vu Nguyen’s bird’s-eye view of the ill-fated Abbey to Sarah Coomer’s skull-like facade. The “Red Death” is also rendered in radically different ways, from the ornately adorned figure of Yiran Jia to the shedding corpse of Zhiyu You.

Tom Walker, Publishing Director, The Folio Society, says, “By taking a classic American writer and inviting visual interpretations of his evocative and timeless short story, we hoped to uncover incredible talent among a diverse and distinctly global cast of illustrators. 21st century. The winner and five shortlisted illustrators absolutely deliver on this ambition, each creating a distinctive and visually arresting interpretation of the text..

Sheri Gee, Artistic Director, The Folio Society said: “We absolutely loved the monotone design of Evangeline paired with the accents of a carefully selected color palette. The stained glass windows and colored light were a difficult element to depict, but we felt their piece did it with great sympathy. Upon closer inspection, we loved the array of people in costumes and masks, depicting the story perfectly.