Conversātiō — In the company of bees wins three top awards at the PANZ Book Design Awards 2022


Conversātiō — In the company of bees by Anne Noble with Zara Stanhope and Anna Brown has won three top awards at the PANZ Book Design Awards 2022. The book won the Gerard Reid Award for Best Book, the Penguin Random House New Zealand Award for Best Illustrated Book and was also a favourite with the audience, winning the Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand People’s Choice Award.

Judges said the book is a ‘ravishing blend of science, art, and book design in a volume devoted to the honeybee’.

For winning Best Book, the judges commented: ‘Anna Brown has indeed created a “cabinet of wonder” (to reference Anne Noble’s title for her art project), a folio of intellectual and artistic treasure made with skill, intelligence, care and craft — and also, as in all the greatest design, a confident playfulness, made possible by the designer’s understanding of the book’s theme and contents. The reference to old style bookbinding shown in the bindery style expresses such a wonderful and collaborative love of bookmaking in its widest sense, by all involved — publisher, authors, and designer. A special book.’

For winning Best Illustrated Book, judges said: ‘From its diagrams of bee mazes to its clever paper stock choices, fabric cloth cover and stitched spine, when considering this book we were not just looking at the graphic layout, although that is satisfying too. The designer’s interest in the life and times of the honeybee, as seen through the work of the author and artist Anne Noble and contributing researchers, hums throughout. Even the contents pages are unexpected works of art, given life by a diagram of “the chasing behaviour of houseflies”. There is a sense of an almost bee-like collaboration here, between the authors, Anne Noble and Zara Stanhope, the designer, the publisher, and even the bees.’

Huge congratulations to designer Anna Brown, author Anne Noble and Zara Stanhope.