Open call: Inspire a bookworm!

Den nordiska bokslukaren (The Nordic bookworm) is a three-year project to promote reading through the production of educational supporting materials for Nordic picture books. We’re now putting out an open call aimed at illustrators working in the Nordic Region with the task of creating a symbol for The Nordic bookworm in the form of a character.

What’s at stake?

First prize is EUR 4,000, second prize is EUR 2,000, and third prize will be awarded to four finalists who will each win EUR 1,000. The winners and finalists will be showcased at a joint exhibition.

Who can submit an entry?

You can participate if you:

  • work as an illustrator and/or graphic designer or have a study place in illustration or the visual arts. Nordic Culture Point wants especially to encourage young talent and newcomers to submit entries;
  • live and work in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, or Åland; and
  • are not in a close relationship with a jury member, either professionally or privately.

What is the assignment and where will the figure be used?

The assignment consists of creating an imaginative bookworm figure that can be seen from the front, from behind, from the side, standing, lying, and with their associated paw print or footprint. We also want you to place your bookworm figure in a visual environment, with a short text presenting your figure and their essence. The target group that the bookworm figure should appeal to is children aged 0 to 12.

The winning figure will illustrate and market the range of Nordic children’s literature at the Nordic cultural centres and institutes, physically and online. The figure will also be able to be used by other libraries and stakeholders who want to put Nordic children’s literature under the spotlight.

The figure will serve as a symbol for The Nordic bookworm project for the period 2021 to 2023, as well as for possible follow-on projects.

The winners’ and finalists’ entries will form the basis for an exhibition with associated creative workshops for children at Nordic Culture Point during the winter and spring of 2022.

Format requirements

Your entry must be submitted digitally as a print-friendly PDF consisting of a single document of a total of three pages in A3 format. The pages must be able to be printed as three separate A3 pages. The file size of the entry must not exceed 10 MB.

  • Page 1: The bookworm figure in three or four different positions, e.g. from the front, from behind, from the side, from above, lying, or standing.
  • Page 2: A picture of the bookworm figure where you have placed them in a specific environment, i.e. in a visual environment typical for your bookworm figure.
  • Page 3: A short description (max. 1,500 characters) of your bookworm figure – who are they and what characterises them? – as well as a visualisation of the figure’s paw print.

How will entries be judged?

A professional Nordic jury will assess all entries submitted within the deadline. In the final stage, the jury will receive the support of a group of children under the age of 12 who are the primary target group of the bookworm figure.

The professional jury will assess the entries based on their creative expression, usability, and versatility. The jury consists of illustrator and designer Sanna Mander (SE/FI), illustrator and children’s author Ragnar Aalbu (NO), director of the Nordic House in Reykjavik Sabina Westerholm (FI/IS), and members of the project’s steering group.

Rights and remuneration

The illustrator undertakes not to further develop or sell their bookworm figure for other purposes during the open call and judging process.

The winners and finalists will submit their material to Nordic Culture Point for the production of an exhibition and associated marketing. The illustrators will be showcased next to their bookworm figures in the exhibition. An exhibition fee will be paid separately.

The winner of the competition will transfer all rights to their bookworm figure to Nordic Culture Point. Any further processing of the proposal (animation, 3D adaptation, etc.) will be discussed with the winner.

Nordic Culture Point reserves the right to duplicate and share the exhibition with its partners in the Nordic and Baltic regions for six months after the end of the competition. Once the exhibitions have ended, the rights to all the entries except for the winning entry will be returned to the illustrators. Any further exhibitions will be negotiated separately.

The rights to entries that do not reach the final will be returned to the illustrators at the end of the judging process and the entries submitted will be deleted.

Competition period and submission deadline

The competition period is 1 September to 31 October 2021. Submit your entry as a PDF attachment to by 23:59 (Finnish time) on 31 October 2021. Although the PDF may not contain information about you as an entrant, in your e-mail you should state the following personal details: name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and professional title or place of study if you are a student.

If you need to prove your vocation as an illustrator, you can attach a short summary of your previous assignments or refer to a digital portfolio.

All entries received on time that meet the formal requirements of the competition will be assessed by the jury.


Your entry will be treated anonymously. All entries are received by the competition secretary who will anonymise them before they are sent to the jury.

Publication and payment

All participants will be informed of the winners, and the finalists will be published in November 2021. The prizes will be paid no later than December.

Nordic Culture Point and The Nordic bookworm project adheres to the competition rules approved by Nordisk Visuell Kommunikation.

Contact and more information

Any questions? E-mail and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Read more about The Nordic Bookworm project here.