Meet the judges for 2024!

Meet our esteemed judging panel for 2024! Jenna Lee (Designer and maker), Evi O. (Designer, publisher and artist), Zeno Sworder (Writer, illustrator and picture book maker), Ziga Testen (Designer and educator), Darren Holt (Designer and illustrator), Imogen Stubbs (Designer and Art Director), Julie Pinkham (Group Managing Director, Hardie Grant Publishing), Robert Watkins (Publishing Director, Ultimo Press) and Rosalind McClintock (Head of Marketing, Readings). Our nine judges are hard at work looking through each and every one of the more than 450 books. Look out for the longlist coming soon!

Jenna Lee is a Gulumerridjin (Larrakia), Wardaman and KarraJarri Saltwater woman with mixed Japanese, Chinese, Filipino and Anglo-Australian ancestry. Driven to create work in which she, her family, and the broader mixed First Nations community see themselves represented, Lee builds on a foundation of her father’s teachings of culture and her mother’s teachings of paper craft. Working primarily in installation Lee creates objects, works on paper, photography, video, projection and sound. Jenna is the recipient of the 2023 ABDA Emerging Designer of the Year.

Evi O. is a designer, publisher and artist with over 15 years of award-winning industry experience. In the design sphere, she leads Evi-O.Studio – a design office renowned for their highly-crafted, impactful design which strikes a balance between beauty and function. Through Formist Editions, EviO. strives to publish cultural titles of the highest standards. She has participated in various international industry associations, notably as one of ABDA’s founding members and a member of the prestigious Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI). Evi-O.Studio is based in Marrickville, Sydney, servicing the world. Evi-O is addicted to creativity.

Zeno Sworder is an award-winning writer, illustrator and picture book maker who is passionate about literacy, creativity and diversity. He was born into a mixed multicultural family in Australia and has worked as a window washer, a journalist, an English language teacher, a volunteer for Lifeline, a senior visa officer at the Australian Consulate General in Shanghai and a tribunal advocate for migrants and refugees. But he has always felt most himself sitting at a table drawing pictures and making up stories. His book My Strange Shrinking Parents won the 2023 ABDA Cover of the Year.

Žiga Testen is a Melbourne/Naarm based designer and educator specialising in typography and publication design. Since 2013 his eponymous studio has prioritised work for contemporary art and culture in close collaboration with designers, artists, curators and cultural organisations. Testen was born in Slovenia and has graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts of Ljubljana, holds a Masters degree from Konstfack University, Stockholm and has been a participant at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, the Netherlands. He is currently a PhD candidate and a lecturer at RMIT University, Melbourne.

Darren Holt is a designer and illustrator with over 25 years’ experience in book design. He studied fine art in England before working in London for an illustrated book publisher. Since the early 2000s he has been a book cover designer based in Sydney. Darren is currently employed as the Assistant Art director for Harper Collins Australia. He has won numerous book design awards.

Imogen Stubbs is an award-winning book designer based in Naarm (Melbourne). She is the Art Director at Text Publishing working across literary fiction, non-fiction, young adult and middle grade titles. Previously she designed and art directed the literary magazines Harvest and The Key of Sea Journal. She served on the ABDA committee from 2016–2018, with one year as treasurer.

Julie Pinkham is a Director of The Wheeler Centre, Melbourne’s Centre for Books Writing and Ideas and chairs the Industry Advisory Committee for RMIT’s Masters in Writing and Publishing. She is the APA’s Vice President and serves on the Trade Publishers and Sustainability sub-committees of that body.

With broad experience in the book industry, Julie started as a bookseller but now has extensive publishing experience, and a deep understanding of both the creative and commercial in publishing. Experienced in establishing and running the publishing division for the Hardie Grant group, she works from Melbourne head office with responsibility for the Hardie Grant Publishing business in North America.

Robert Watkins is the Publishing Director of Ultimo Press. For over 25 years he has worked in Australian books and publishing, with stints in book retail and retail management, across sales, marketing and publicity at and for the past 14 years as a publisher of Australian fiction and non-fiction. Books Robert has published have won or been shortlisted for the ABIA Book of the Year, the Stella Prize, the Miles Franklin, the NSW Premiers Awards, the Victorian Premiers Literary Awards and the Queensland Literary Awards among many others.

Rosalind McClintock is the head of marketing at Readings, a well-loved independent book retailer that has a strong commitment supporting Australian authors, stories and publishers. Prior to working at Readings, Rosalind has worked in the publishing industry and has had a life-long love of books.