(Covid Edition)


O2 Media 


Blarney Books & Art is excited to announce that entries are now open for the Biblio Art Prize 2020, with an extra exciting announcement - our prize pool has more than doubled this year, with HUGE thanks to new sponsors coming onboard! 

The most notable addition to the prize pool comes from our regional art gallery, the Warrnambool Art Gallery, who are this year offering a Local Artist Prize to the value of $1500, in acknowledgment of the trying year 2020 has so far been for the arts sector.

Additionally, we have a generous independent sponsor, author RWR McDonald, who is offering up a brand new prize for artists from the LGBTQIA+ rainbow, or for an artist whose works thoughtfully responds to a "rainbow" book. 

Liz and Tan from Port Fairy's own sumptuous Merrijig Inn are offering to treat our guest judge to their warm and generous hospitality with a night at the inn.

Collins Books in Warrnambool are offering a book and voucher to $100 for a runner-up Youth Award.


Karen Foster of O2 Media is sponsoring another Youth Award to the value of $250. As well as that, she is also offering, through Soul Brand, two coaching sessions for a female-identifying artist valued at $330. 

Louise North, our local friendly wine merchant of LNWM, is teaming up with Pete Charlton of Port Fairy's grooviest meeting- and eating-place, Coffin Sally Pizza & Bar to offer a 'Starving Artist' prize - a great selection of some fine wines and a family pizza voucher!

These generous prizes are on top of our usual Grand Prize (non-acquisitive) of $2000, and smaller prizes of $500 for People's Choice, and $500 for the Youth Award, PLUS we are resurrecting the Storyteller's Award (with a $500 book voucher).

Artists are invited to submit works, in any medium, that respond to the book which they will be allocated on submitting their entry fee. This year the books will be pre-selected from those Australian novels which have been published in the last 12 months, as a way of offering our support and solidarity for our homegrown writers. We invite the artists to source the book title they are given, purchase or borrow the book from the library, read it and interpret it through their artwork. We encourage artists to really engage with the story and try to create a meaningful representation of the work. We believe that books and art go together hand in hand.

Selected artworks (not more than 70) will be invited to be a part of our Summer Exhibition, which is peak tourist time for Port Fairy, giving lots of people a chance to view the show! All works must be for sale. We will also be ensuring the exhibition is completely available to view online.  

2020 Prizes

  • BIBLIO ART GRAND PRIZE: $2000 (Independently judged, sponsored by Blarney).

  • WAG Local Artist Prize: $1500 (selected by Warrnambool Art Gallery representatives).

  • Storyteller's Award: $500 book voucher (selected by Blarney Books & Art).

  • LGBTIQ+ Represent Prize $500 (sponsored independently by author RWR McDonald). 

  • People’s Choice: $500 (announced at the end of the exhibition's run, sponsored by Blarney.)

  • Blarney's Youth Award: $500 ($250 sponsored by Blarney, $250 sponsored by O2 Media.)

  • Collins Books (Warrnambool) Runner-up Youth Award: Book & Voucher to $100.

  • Women's Prize: two personal coaching sessions with Karen Foster to the value of $330  for a female-identifying artist (selected by Karen Foster, sponsored by Your Soul Brand).

  • Starving Artist Prize: A fine wine selection from Louise North Wine Merchant, and a Coffin Sally Pizza voucher. (Selected by Louise North and Pete Charlton).

Key dates

  • IMAGES of artworks ONLY to arrive via submission forms by 31 October.

  • Emails sent out to artists selected for exhibition in early November.

  • SELECTED artworks to arrive at Blarney Books & Art by the end of November.

  • Judging: Saturday, 5 December 2020.

  • Exhibition dates: Thursday 5 December 2020 – 31 January 2021. 



Is this prize open to people outside Victoria?

Yes, the Biblio is in fact an international competition, however the bulk of our participants are from all over Australia and New Zealand.

How long is this competition open for entries?

As we require images of artworks at the end of October, we're keeping the competition open for entries until the start of October. Some artists are fast readers/workers, others need more time.

Is it my imagination or is this competition growing?

Yes, we are certainly growing this competition! This year we have a host of new sponsors on-board and a veritable feast of prizes, and we hope to add more as time goes on. 


Are book titles unique to each artist?

As we are trying to raise the awareness of the books and spirits of the authors who have published in the last 12 months, any book title drawn from the hat is returned to the hat for a chance at redraw, so there is a fairly reasonable chance that another artist will be allocated the title you have received. This way, it gives all books in the hat have a good chance of being represented by at least one artist, and if several works are completed using the same title, that will make for interesting viewing!


Is this prize open to children?

Absolutely. This prize is open to everyone. Persons under 18 are not required to pay the entry fee, and they are still eligible for (a) selection in the exhibition and (b) all prize categories if selected.

After I've paid my entry fee, when do I receive my book title?

We try to send out emails within 48 hours of receiving an entry fee. If you haven't received an email from us within the week, please check your junk file first. (This has already happened more than once.) If no luck, please send us a polite email and let us know you're still waiting.


Will my work be part of the exhibition?

We will be selecting not more than 70 pieces for the exhibition over summer. More than that, it becomes a bit unwieldy. We may consider a second exhibition of remaining works down the track.


Can I enter a 3D work?

Yes, absolutely. Any medium is welcome. The works just need to meet the size criteria of not greater than 150cm x 150cm x 150cm.

Is this like a visual book review?

No. Fortunately you don't have to love your book. Everyone responds to a book differently. We want to see an artwork inspired by your book - it could be inspired by the story, by an image in the book, by the cover of the book, by what the book made you think about. It's not a critique of the book, unless you really want it to be so. As long as you can explain your connection between book and artwork, we're happy. 

Should I share my work or my allocated book title on social media?

We would love it if you would share your allocated books - we are focusing on Australian authors who have published books in the last 12 months, given that the year hasn't been a great one for birthing a book baby. Any publicity these authors can get this year will be appreciated! And we'd also love to see some progress shots of your work! 

Who selects the works to be exhibited?

There is a panel of three people who work behind the scenes in November selecting the works. There's a fair amount of arguing over pieces, but also much joy to be had in the process! 

Who are the Judges of the Biblio Art Prize this year?

This is currently TOP SECRET info and we'll release the names closer to the time.


Will the opening night event be affected by Covid?

It's a bit hard to make that call yet. We would hope that it could be a launch event like others, but only time can tell with that. We are currently researching alternative launch presentations, in the event that this is required. 

I would like to sponsor this exciting competition - how do I go about that?

Please contact us by email! We'd love to hear from more sponsors - every little bit helps!