ILLEGAL graphic novel by Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin and Giovanni Rigano wins 2021 RED Book Award

2021 RED Book Award

ILLEGAL, the powerful graphic novel about immigration by Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin, with art by Giovanni Rigano has won the 2021 RED Book Award.

RED stands for Read, Enjoy, Discuss, annual awards for 13 to 14 year-olds that have been running since 2006, organised by the excellent Falkirk Library Services. They aim to encourage reading and debate in their secondary schools and he award is voted for by pupils in Falkirk schools.

In April each year members of the RED Book Award committee read and reduce a long list of books from nominated titles to the four shortlisted books which have that “WOW “factor. Multiple copies of the shortlisted titles are sent out to each High School librarian in August and the RED Book Award journey of reading enjoying and debating begins.

Alongside ILLEGAL, this year’s nominees were My Name’s Not Friday by Jon Walter, A Pocketful of Stars by Aisha Bushy, and Summer Bird Blue by Kemi Dawn Bowman.

A panel from "Illegal" the graphic novel by writers Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, and artist Giovanni Rigano
A panel from “Illegal” the graphic novel by writers Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, and artist Giovanni Rigano
A panel from "Illegal" the graphic novel by writers Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, and artist Giovanni Rigano

First published in 2017, iILLEGAL is an award-winning, powerful and timely story about one boy’s epic journey across Africa to Europe, a graphic novel for all children with glorious colour artwork throughout.

It opens with young Ebo, alone. His sister left months ago. Now his brother has disappeared too, and Ebo knows it can only be to make the hazardous journey to Europe.

Ebo’s epic journey takes him across the Sahara Desert to the dangerous streets of Tripoli, and finally out to the merciless sea. But with every step he holds on to his hope for a new life, and a reunion with his sister…

“Absolutely amazing,” enthused co-writer Andrew Donkin at the news. “Thank you so much to all the schools who voted and all the fab teachers and librarians that made the awards happen!”

Illegal Graphic Novel - Cover

ILLEGAL is available from all good bookshops and from AmazonUK here (Affiliate Link)

• Eoin Colfer is online at | Find Eoin on Facebook | Follow Eoin on Twitter @eoincolfer

• Andrew Donkin is online at | Follow him on Twitter @AndrewDonkin

• Giovanni Rigano is online at

Follow The Red Book Awards on Twitter @readenjoydebate

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.

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