The inaugural Sheffield International Artist’s Book Prize exhibition staged at Bank Street Arts in November 2008 attracted nearly 50 entries. One of the galleries at Bank Street was filled with armchairs and sofas; the books themselves were placed on shelves around the room. Visitors to the exhibition were given a voting form and asked to choose their favourite book(s).

At this stage both the event and BSA itself were at a very formative stage. We knew we wanted to be involved in artist’s books as they were a hybrid format and reflected the aspirations of the arts centre. Other preconditions of entry also pointed the way to future development. The Prize was free to enter and open to anyone. Books were to be handled with the winner decided by visitors. The Prize was more about finding a way to display artist’s books than anything else – something we built upon and became a mainstay of the organisation over the years to follow.

The winning entry as voted for by visitors to the exhibition was ‘Make’ by Katherine Johnson;

Second was ‘The Book of Trees’ by Emma Parker.

and third was ‘Wings’ by Jenny Hughes.

The full list of participants in 2008 was as follows: 

Amalia Arfelt
Frans Baake
Caroline Barker
Silvana Blasbalg
Jackie Bowcutt
Melanie Bush
Glynis Candler
Eleanor Jane Cardwell
Jonathan Carson & Rosie Miller
Lin Charlston
Melanie Gibbons
Shirley Greer
Kaite Helps
Pat Hodson & Liz Cashden
Glenn Holman
Jenny HughesAnna Johnson
Katherine Johnson
Mette Juul
Michiko Kashiba
Christine Kennedy
Jane Kennelly
Susanne Klary
Verena Klary
Niki Lederer & Hannes Priesch
Linda Lewis
Ricardo Liong-A-kong
Victoria Lucas
Lisa Mallette
Graham McDougal
Arnaldo Juan Orellana
Emma Parker
Josie Panidou
Eva Rader
Lizzie Ridout
Trudy Roe
Jonathan Rowland
Ailie Rutherford
Wilber H Schilling
seekers of lice
Mark Smith
Annette Thegenholm Ronald
Lee Thompson
Sandra Vick
Georgina Vinsun
Steve White
Hayley Wright