Friday, July 23, 2010


Book designer Keely O’Shannessy was announced Awa Press Young Designer of the Year at last night’s annual Book Design Awards ceremony, run by the Publishers Association of New Zealand .

Runner-up for the same award last year, O’Shannessy was described by judges Dexter Fry and Katy Yiakmis as the ‘stand-out winner’ of 2010 and her designs, ‘effortlessly hit the nail on the head every time.’

O’Shannessy’s exceptional talent was acknowledged in three categories this year. In addition to the Young Designer Award, she won the award for best non-illustrated book with Mirabile Dictu and was highly commended with her cover for As the Earth Turns Silver.

A freelance graphic designer, O’Shannessy considers herself lucky to be working in the field she is most passionate about: book design. She has a degree in Visual Arts from AUT and has completed postgraduate studies in art curatorship and interactive media.  She describes her entry to the field of book design as ‘a lucky break’:

‘I find designing books really rewarding because it brings together many of the things I love – reading, researching, conceptual/creative thinking and also an amazing freedom to experiment with a diverse range of mediums’

Last year’s winner, Spencer Levine, says ‘the awards have brought me to the attention of more publishers and these new partnerships have produced some great results so far.’

Sarah Healey and Kalee Jackson were shortlisted alongside O’Shannessy and were Highly Commended at the awards.
The Awa Press Young Designer of the Year
award is in its second year and recognises exceptional talent in book design by a designer under 35. They are judged on artistic merit, innovation of form and appropriateness to the intended market.

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