The Town of Mulazzo and the Association Montereggio Paese dei Librai, IOB International Organisation of Book Towns, with the support of Carthusia Edizioni in collaboration with the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, IBBY Italia and Centro per il Libro e la Lettura (MiBACT) presents the first International contest for illustrated silent books without words.

The Silent Book Contest will give a prize money and publication to an original illustrated and unpublished book project that has been created and produced exclusively through narration by illustrated images. Given that the illustrated book and the visual language of illustrations and pictures is in no way secondary to written language, with a universal power and potential that supersedes any barrier of language or genre, the Silent Book Contest competition invites authors and illustrators to think up and design a book conceived exclusively for the telling of a story through illustrated images, on any subject and intended for a wide and diverse section of the reading public, regardless of genre or age.

From the book designs sent to the competition an international Jury will select from five to ten finalists to be announced and exhibited at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. The author of the book project selected as winner by the International Jury will receive an money prize of Euro 4.500 as advance against copyright with publishing agreement and the winning book project will be published by Carthusia Edizioni. The book will be presented at the award ceremony  in August in Montereggio (Tuscany, Italy).

Since 2018 the Silent Book Contest is dedicated to Gianni De Conno, its creator.

Gianni De Conno (1957-2017) was born in Milan, from a Neapolitan father and a Milanese mother. He loved Milan, a city of which he felt part and from which he never wanted to separate. After having split between the artistic high school and musical studies at the Conservatory he specialized in set design and then moved on to illustration.

An artist of great impact, one of the greatest illustrators of the Italian publishing scene, in which he operates a dense dreamlike vein sustained by an inclination to hyperrealism, a magical and surrealism, a sort of profoundly original creative oxymoron. Gianni De Conno was also a true “Grandmaster”, he illustrated and interpreted the world, he taught with passion and care, in this little and small editorial world, he made a lot of other extraordinary things in his work.

Over the years, the Andersen Prize has been awarded as an illustrator of the year 2005, the Award for Communication Arts of Excellence several times between 1998 and 2010. In 2008 and 2010 he obtained the gold medal from the Society of Illustrators in New York. He has published a lot in Italy and abroad, he has exhibited his work in numerous solo exhibitions around the world, in Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, Taiwan and United States.


1. The Organizing Committee, formed by the Municipality of Mulazzo and the Association Montereggio Paese dei Librai, member of IOB International Organization of Book Towns Italy, with the contribution of Carthusia Edizioni, the collaboration of Bologna Children’s Book Fair and the patronage of IBBY Italy and the Center for Book and Reading (MiBACT), presents the 2019 International Silent Book – Gianni De Conno Award. The competition is exclusively reserved for new and unpublished illustrated books without words. The subject is open and not restricted to any age group and readers. The narration must be carried out exclusively through illustrated images and have narrative and stylistic coherence.

2. Authors, illustrators and artists of any nationality, place of origin or residence may participate, with original and unpublished projects, provided they are not less than 18 years old on 31st December 2018. It is possible to participate with one to a maximum of three unpublished projects for each Author.

3. From the book projects enrolled and sent to the competition by January 31st 2019, an International Jury, nominated by the Organizing Committee will select from five to ten final book projects from which will be judged the winner of the International Silent Book Contest 2019 – Gianni De Conno Award.

4. The book projects entered in the competition must be sent anonymously following the instructions given in the section “On-line registration procedure for submitting material”. Book projects submitted and not corresponding to the Participation Methods or incomplete book projects will not be admitted.

5. The International Jury, nominated by the Organizing Committee, is formed of seven personalities of recognized prestige and professionalism in the publishing world, illustration and literature. The members of the International Jury will be published on the official website of the Silent Book Contest Contest and on the official Facebook page.

6. The book project proclaimed winner of the Silent Book Contest 2019 by the International Jury will be published by September 2019 by the publisher Carthusia Edizioni of Milan (Italy) which will insert it and promote it in its editorial catalog. The author will received a money prize of € 4,500 (four thousand five hundred Euro)* as an advance on royalties and a regular publishing contract according to international standards. The award ceremony will take place, approximately, at the end of August 2019 in the Municipality of Montereggio di Mulazzo (MS).

*In case that the winning project is a collective work of two or more authors, the money prize will be equally divided among them in equal parts and the publishing contract will bear the names of both/all the author.

7. The International Jury has the final decision: to not admit in competition book projects not corresponding to what is specified and contained in the Rules and / or Participation Procedure, to nominate among the projects admitted to the competition a lower number of finalist projects to five or more than ten, and also reserves the right not to proclaim a winner of the Silent Book Contest 2019 if the projects are not worthy of publication.

8. To enroll in the contest the Authors have to accept the Rules and Participation Methods and the payment of a registration fee of Euro 50 (fifty) for each project submitted. The payment of the registration fee must be made only by 31th January 2019. It is possible to present a maximum of three unpublished projects for each author. The payment of the enrolment fee is not reimbursable.


A. The book project must not contain words, with exclusion of the title and possible subtitle. The narration must be realized exclusively through the illustrations and have narrative and stylistic coherence. There are no limits regarding age or reader group, and the subject matter is open.

B. The International Jury reserves the right at its sole discretion to assess the adequacy and correspondence of the projects presented in the competition with the characteristics specified above and to confirm whether or not they are admitted.

C. The Author undertakes, under his sole responsibility, to ensure that the illustrations included in the book project are original and unpublished works, as well as the project presented in the competition, absolving the Organizing Committee, the International Jury and the Editor who will publish the winning book project, from any moral and legal responsibility in case of projects book and / or illustrations presented in violation of this regulation, copyright and / or in case of plagiarism to third parties.

D. No book projects that contain illustrations featuring either single words or partial texts will be accepted for selection. Pop-up books, cartoons and comic strips without words and “colouring book” will no be accepted. Furthermore, book projects containing photographic images, or that are not illustrated, or that do not correspond to the present definition of illustrated images will also not be accepted for selection.

E. The illustrations featured in the book projects can be in colour or black and white, with unlimited traditional or digital techniques and media.

F. The book project should be presented on double pages with a open format of 57cms in width by 28.5cms in height (to give a closed format of 28.5cms x 28.5cms and opening from right to left) and with a prefixed number of double pages : 14 double pages in basic 57 cm format x 28.5 cm in height, plus front and back cover.

The Book projects sent in different format, due to excess or defect, from the one specified above and / or exceeding by excess or defect by the number of pages will not be admitted in the competition.

G. The book project must be presented scrupulously following these indications:

• It will be complete with the number of 14 double pages, plus front and back cover in the format indicated in point D, complete with all the definitive internal illustrations paginated and the final cover illustration.

• The complete layout, as described above, must be sent exclusively as a digital file in high quality PDF format by 31st January 2019. To send the digital book project, refer to the section “Online registration procedure for submitting material”.

H. Will not be admitted to the selection: book projects with partial or incomplete layouts and book projects exceeding, due to excess or defect, from the dimensions specified in point D and / or exceeding excess or defect from the number of pages in point D. Will not be admitted projects submitted in a manner other than those listed in the dedicated section or sent after 31th January 2019. Do not send original illustrations and paper layouts.

I. Book projects must be sent anonymously.

L. The digital dummy must show only the title of the project on the front cover, which should be considered as temporary with regard to any possible publishing as a winning book project, and the author’s pen-name.The digital files must be named exclusively with the title of the Opera/Project and the author’s chosen pseudonym. See the “Online registration procedure for submitting material” section for instructions on how to properly name the PDF file.

M. The application enrolment form, the upload of PDF file, the enrolment fee payment must be done on-line by accessing the web site www. and following the instructions of the “Registration Section”. The registration must be completed within by the 31st January 2018.

To read more please download the complete Rules below.




Total Prize: 4.500€