All about the 2022 Art Bookbinding contest

The World Biennials of Art Bookbinding’s aim is to promote the art of bookbinding through a contest held every 2 years.

Regarding the 16th edition of the contest, please find below

  • the contest procedure
  • the contest theme
  • the registration form to 2022 contest
  • the participation form to send your binding
  • the bookbinding suppliers fair
  • the regulation of the contest.

Amateur et professional binders, register now !

The Binding suppliers fair will take place at the same dates and place as the binding exhibition, from sept 22nd to sept 25th, 2022.


Contest procedures

The principle of the contest is simple : the association selects a book from French literature, has it printed on Arches Vellum and offers it in January of even years to both amateur and professional bookbinders all over the world.

Every participant has until May15th of the following year to achieve the bookbinding of his/her choice. No constraint is imposed relating to the shapes, techniques and materials used, but the perfection of the realization will be the jury’s key decision factor.

An international Jury of professionals attributes several prizes in cash, other awards are offered by official and private sponsors.

Each Biennial ends with the exhibition in September of all the bindings presented to the Jury.

Awarding of prizes

As soon as we receive a binding, it is registered with a number (in chronological order).

All the bindings are presented anonymously to the Jury and each juror selects 20 bindings, which are then gathered on a central table.

The jurors then give points to each pre-selected binding for each of the following criteria : quality of the realization, originality of the materials used, technical performance, consistency with the subject and overall aesthetics.

When we add all the points, we obtain the final score of each binding and the prizes will be awarded accordingly.

We proceed in the same way for the bookbinding schools after having re-assembled the bindings that had been pre-selected for an individual prize.

As for the prizes given by our sponsors: we show them the rest of the pre-selected bindings, but it may happen that they have a preference for another book and do not follow the opinion of the jury.

Only after the attribution of all the awards do we disclose the identity of the winners.

Composition of the jury

A jury of 6 to 8 professionals, depending of the year, is held every odd year in June. These professionnals are internationally well-known in the fine bookbinding and bibliophile community (France, Canada, Netherlands, Italy).


Joseph Kessel

Novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, Joseph Kessel was born on the 10th of February 1898 in Villa Clara, Argentina. He is the son of Samuel Kessel a Jewish Lithuanian MD. Then the Kessels emigrate to Russia at Orenbourg, his mother home town, in the Urals. With his family he settles down in France in 1908.

In 1914 he is a stretcher bearer. He is graduated bachelor of Arts in 1915 at Sorbonne University and hired at the Journal des débats.

It is the beginning of Kessel’s life as a novelist and reporter. In May 1943 with his nephew Maurice Druon they both write «The song of Partisans» lyrics. This song became the Resistance rallying song. Later on, to pay tribute to these resistants, he published « L’armée des ombres ».

After the Liberation of Paris he returns to work as an international correspondent and travels to Palestine, Birmania, Afghanistan, Africa which inspires him many novels: Les cavaliers, Les amants du Tage, Le lion.

In 1962 he is granted the supreme honour of being elected at French Academy.

He died on the 23rd of July 1979 at Avernes, Val d’Oise, France, and he is buried at Montparnasse cemetery, Paris.

His novel, THE LION

The Lion is a Joseph Kessel novel published by Gallimard in 1958.

The story is about the special bond between a 10 years old girl and a lion named King that she took in as a baby lion and brought up ; once adult, King returned to the wild. Told by a narrator (name unknown) who is the favored witness of this special bond that fascinates and intrigues him equally. He has the intuition that a drama will unfold also generated by familial simmering tensions.


6 original etching and one frontpage were realised by the illustrator Carol Richard.


Registration to the 16th contest can be done here below on line or by downloading the registration form.

Book to bind : Le Lion, by Joseph Kessel

  • Edition limited to 600 copies, all numbered.
  • Book of 208 pages, in the form of 26 sections (two of which blank) + 6 illustrations B&W + a colour portrait of Joseph Kessell by illustrator Carol Richard
  • Measuring 280 x 190 mm
  • Letterpress  printed on 160 g Arches vellum by printing house Cheyne, in Devesset (France).

The books that are shown on our exposition, all receive an official diploma, a catalogue and the binder gets free entrance for two.

The bindings are to be sent before May 30th, 2022, with the participation form (see section below).

Books bearing any sign allowing identification of the binder, will be shown at the exposition but will not be presented to the Jury.


  • 140 €  including registration for the contest, forwarding the book, insertion (photo) in the catalogue, return by tracked mail of the book after the exhibition
  • 125 € for bookbinding schools and clubs, for orders of more than 10 copies
  • In option : 20 € for colour copy of illustrations

After many years without increasing our prices, we are sorry to adjust our prices. Paper prices and postal rates are the causes.

Register on line
Download Registration form

If you are registered to the 2022 bookbinding competition  and if your binding is ready to be sent, please :

1- fill in the participation form on line

2- print and send a copy of the participation form together with your binding.

Adress :

Biennales Mondiales de la Reliure d’Art

2 rue Victor Hugo

78470 Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse FRANCE

Thanks !

Participation form on line
Download participation form

Bookbinding supplies Fair is an oppotunity for the public to discover and purchase from craftsmen : gilding irons, marbled papers, leather and skins, parchments, tools….

This sales showroom is held during the Biennials exhibition in annex rooms at Jean Racine Hall in St-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse.

  • ALIVON – Outils de dorure
  • Art & Métiers du Livre – Magazine
  • BONANNI – Parure
  • BOULAS Frédérique À chacun son livre – Livres anciens
  • HAMAIDE Marie-Anne – Papiers marbrés
  • HARMATAN – Peausserie
  • LIEUTARD – Peausserie
  • PERRY Katelin – Papiers marbrés
  • SOFIC – Peausserie
You are a binding supplier ? Contact us to participate to the fair

Article 1 – The association World Biennials of Art Bookbinding organizes a contest of art bookbinding all odd years, using a book title chosen by it and especially printed to that effect.

Article 2 – The association encourages professional and amateur bookbinders to enrol in the contest, by means of mailing or press reports in magazines. By enrolling in the contest, participants accept to conform to the regulations.

Article 3 – Enrolment in the contest entitles the participants to :

  • the postal consignment of one copy of the book (in sections),
  • the insertion into the contest’s catalogue,
  • the presentation of the binding during the exhibition,
  • the return of the book to the participant,  after the end of the exhibition.

Article 4 – Only the participants whose binding is present at the exhibition recieve a free catalogue.

Article 5 – The staff of the association reserves the right to accept or to refuse an enrolment without having to justify its decision.

Article 6 – The association sets the theme of every contest and the amount of prizes assigned.

Article 7 – Prizes are remitted in the respective laureates’ presence only. No prize consignment is done. In case of non-delivery, prizes remain the property of the association.

Article 8 – The association nominates the Jury members. The Jury’s decisions are irrevocable. The other assigned prizes are of the goodwill of the donors, in presence of the members of the Jury.

Article 9 – The staff of the association will examine any dispute and its decisions are irrevocable.

Article 10 – The Court of Justice of Versailles is competent to settle all litigation that would not have been solved amicably with the Office of the Association.

Lieu d'exposition des Biennales Mondiales de la Reliure d'Art : Espace Jean Racine, à Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse, dans les Yvelines (78 - France)

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