By awarding this prize, worth 12,500 euros, to an illustrator, the jury is creating a bridge between words and images, a connection that the Flemish Literature Fund (FLF) values greatly. Ever since its inception in 2000, the FLF has developed a policy for illustrators and comic-book authors, who – like writers – can apply for grants to create literary work. Foreign publishers who bring out translated books illustrated by Flemish artists can also approach the FLF for subsidies.
It should in fact come as no surprise that the jury has chosen to honour Carll Cneut in this way. The jury of the Cultural Prize for Literature rewarded him 'for his extraordinary appeal and impact, in Flanders and far beyond'. And Sven Gatz, the Flemish Minister for Culture, is also enthusiastic about Cneut’s work: 'His compositions suggest a lively universe that is happening beyond the edges of the page. He constantly succeeds in stimulating the reader’s imagination.'
Cneut is an outstanding illustrator, with a reputation that extends far beyond Dutch-speaking countries. His books have been translated more than 170 times in 35 countries, including France, Germany, Hungary, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Korea, Australia and the United States. He has won numerous international awards, and always receives rave reviews. Since the beginning of his career in 1996, Cneut has been able to rely on the support of his publishers, De Eenhoorn, who always present his work beautifully and with care, gaining an international profile in the process.
But even though Cneut is now an established name in the world of illustration and literature, he still continues to surpass and reinvent himself, as in his most recent picture book 'De gouden kooi' (The Golden Cage), written by the Italian Anna Castagnoli and translated by Saskia de Coster. The press has been more enthusiastic than ever, calling the book an 'immersion in beauty for young and old'. And also stating, 'With pictures like Carll Cneut’s, Flanders is confirming its place on the world map, from the Flemish Primitives to the modern day.'