BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award

The BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award is given to a children's writer or illustrator whose body of work, in the opinion of the panel of judges, merits recognition for a lifetime's achievement in children's literature.

It is a separate recognition to the Children's Laureate in that it is purely celebratory and is not attached to any wider purpose of promoting children's literature. BookTrust intends it to be awarded to a person who is not likely to become Children's Laureate in the future.

2018 winners: John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury

John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury at the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony

John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury have won the first-ever double BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award.

John Burningham is famous for books such as Borka: The Adventures of a Goose with No FeathersHusherbyeAvocado Baby and Granpa, which tackles important issues such as bereavement. Helen Oxenbury, meanwhile, is best known for illustrating titles such as The Three Little Wolves, Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.

The couple, who married in 1964, have won several literary awards individually but have only collaborated on one book together, There’s Going to be a Baby, published by Walker in 2010.

John said of winning the award:

'I’m incredibly grateful to be given an award for a lifetime of work. I’m so very flattered when I hear people now say they love my books and that something I did 50 years ago still works and is enjoyed by their family.'

Helen commented:

'It’s particularly lovely as we have been awarded this honour jointly – and to get an award from BookTrust who know everything there is to know about children’s books is just wonderful.'

The judges and winners at the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony

Read the full news story

Read an interview with Helen Oxenbury

Read an interview with John Burningham


Nicolette JonesNicolette Jones

Writer, critic and broadcaster

Nicolette Jones is a writer, critic and broadcaster specialising in literary and arts journalism. She has been the Children's Books Reviewer of The Sunday Times for more than two decades, and in 2012 was shortlisted for the Eleanor Farjeon Award for distinguished service to the world of children's books.

Anthony Browne

Author, illustrator and former Laureate

Anthony Browne is an internationally acclaimed author and illustrator of children's books with over 40 titles to his name, including Gorilla and Willy the Wimp. Anthony was the Children's Laureate 2009-2011.

Lauren Child

Author, illustrator and Children's Laureate

Lauren Child is a multi-award-winning, bestselling writer and artist whose books are known and loved the world over. She is the creator of characters including Clarice Bean, Ruby Redfort and Charlie and Lola. She is the current Children's Laureate.

Floella Benjamin

Actress, presenter and writer

Over the last 47 years, Floella Benjamin has had a diverse and varied career in several sectors of the entertainment industry as an actress, presenter, writer, independent producer, businesswoman and media regulator. She has written over 30 children’s books.

Joseph Coelho

Performance poet and playwright

Joseph Coelho is a writer, performer and co-founder of Word Pepper Theatre Company. His poems have been published in several anthologies. Joseph has been a guest poet on Cbeebies Rhyme Rocket. His debut children's collection Werewolf Club Rules won the CLiPPA 2015.

Diana Gerald

Diana Gerald

BookTrust CEO

Diana Gerald joined as Chief Executive in March 2015 and works closely with partners in Government, the Arts Council, publishing, libraries, children's centres, school and local authorities. She is also a trustee of SA-YES, a South African charity which mentors young people leaving care homes in Cape Town.

Reasons to love John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury

Why so many famous authors love Helen Oxenbury and John Burningham

Reasons for winning the Lifetime Achievement Award

They've got decades of children's storytelling behind them, so it's no wonder that so many well-known names wanted to tell us why Helen Oxenbury and John Burningham are such deserving winners.

See a list of John Burningham's books

Our favourite books

Check out some of our favourite picture books by John Burningham.

See a list of Helen Oxenbury's books

Our favourite books

Here are a few of our favourite picture books and board books by Helen Oxenbury.

Former Lifetime Achievement Award winners

Lifetime Achievement Award 2017: Raymond Briggs

Raymond Briggs, author and illustrator of The Snowman and many other brilliant children's books, was awarded the BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.

Lifetime Achievement Award 2016: Judith Kerr

Judith Kerr was the second winner of the BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award, picking up the prize in 2016.

Lifetime Achievement Award 2015: Shirley Hughes

Shirley Hughes was the first ever winner of the BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award, picking up the prize in 2015.

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