Designer Bookbinders International Bookbinding Competition 2021
In association with the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, and supported by Mark Getty

We are pleased to announce our fourth International Bookbinding Competition, ‘A Gathering of Leaves’.

The chosen theme of plants, gardens and anything connected with flora helps celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the founding of the Oxford Botanic Gardens, the oldest Botanic Garden in the world.

Plants play a central role to life on Earth. They have provided food, clothing, shelter & medicines for many centuries. Plants have many symbolic uses in art, mythology and literature and gardens have provided employment, leisure and enjoyment throughout history. There are many and varied texts available on this expansive subject.

There is no set book. It is hoped that entrants will be stimulated by the opportunity to produce or source a text of their choice to work with and feel encouraged to make use of a wide range of structures, materials and design techniques. It is worth noting that many collectors place great importance on the quality of the text as well as the style of binding.

Two major prizes will be awarded in honour of Sir Paul Getty KBE (1932-2003), one of our greatest book collectors and a passionate advocate for the art and craft of bookbinding.

  • Sir Paul Getty Bodleian Bookbinding Prizes:
    1st Prize - £10,000
    2nd Prize - £6,000
  • Silver Prizes:
    A further 25 highly-commended entrants will receive a silver prize.
  • Oxford University Students’ Choice: £500

The prizewinners will be announced at the Award Ceremony which will take place in Oxford in late June 2021. There are plans for a new event: a ‘Festival of Bookbinding’ to take place at the Bodleian at the same time.

The Jury will be made up of an international panel of judges who will be looking for a high standard of craftsmanship and technical ability with relation to the bookbinding process. Successful entries will show evidence of good forwarding and structural functionality, together with original, innovative and accomplished design.

Exhibition / Catalogue
The touring exhibition of selected entries, including all the prizewinners, will open during the event in Oxford at the Bodleian Library in late June 2021. This will showcase the finest bookbinding talent from around the world. A full-colour catalogue will be produced illustrating all entries. Every entrant will receive a copy of the catalogue, together with a signed Certificate of Participation.

Entry fee
A reduced entry fee of £95 will be charged for early entries before 31/12/2019. After this date the standard entry fee of £105 will be charged up to the deadline of 31/8/2020.

Sourcing texts
There are a number of websites with good quality texts in a wide selection of versions, languages and prices. Here are a few examples to help with your search:
Private and small press and publishing sites in your country

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Designer Bookbinders