And the Winner Is…

Fantastic Freya, a 10-year-old artist from Melbourne!

It’s almost time for carols and candy canes – and it is time to announce the winner of our annual Kids Cover Competition!

We were thrilled by the number of entries we received from kids around Australia this year – it was very tricky to narrow it down! For our 2023 winner, we chose a drawing of a rosy-cheeked Santa by 10-year-old Freya, from the northern suburbs of Melbourne.

“I was really excited about winning,” says Freya. “When I found out, I didn’t say anything – I just jumped up and down.”

Freya’s effervescent texta drawing is an explosion of colour, with a blue, pink and purple pattern foregrounding a jolly Santa reading a copy of The Big Issue. Freya also cleverly included Big Issue magazines rolled up in stockings on a bright orange mantlepiece.

“The idea kind of just came to me, really,” she says. “I just thought that if it’s going to be a Big Issue cover and it’s around Christmas, maybe people would like to give them as presents.”

“We received some truly superb entries this year,” says Amy Hetherington, editor of The Big Issue. “We had multi-coloured Christmas trees, flying reindeer, and even Santa sharing a barbecue sausage with Dracula!

“What the judges loved about Freya’s drawing was how vibrant it was. The way she used every inch of the space was incredibly eye-catching, which is exactly what we look for in a Big Issue cover. It was colourful and joyous and will look wonderful in the hands of vendors all over the country.”

Freya buys The Big Issue from Phil at the Alphington Farmers Market, northeast of the CBD. Phil also works in The Big Issue Classroom. “She always goes and gets a copy from Phil!” says Katie, Freya’s mum. “We almost always go to the market on a Sunday and say hi to Phil.” When asked if seeing Phil on pitch makes her happy, Freya replies, “Yeah, definitely.”

Phil is chuffed that one of his customers won the competition. “I loved Freya’s drawing! It was perfect,” he says. “Everything was in there and it was really, really, really, really good. I loved the way she set it up, all The Big Issues in there, and it was so colourful as well.

“I know she can’t wait for the magazine to come out,” Phil says. “It’s going to be a collector’s item for her, and for me as well!”

Freya first heard about the competition through the magazine itself. “I was reading The Big Issue and saw the ad,” she explains. “I really like [the magazine]. There’s always lots of interesting stories. My siblings like it too because there’s a crossword and sudoku.”

For any kids looking to enter next year, this year’s winner has some advice. “I think if you’re trying to win, try to be really creative and use really bright colours,” Freya says. “And if you’re doing it for fun, still do that. Because, remember that you’re doing it to have fun. I feel like winning is just a bonus.”

Phil is looking forward to seeing Freya and her mum at the market again soon. “I would say to Freya, ‘Congratulations on winning the competition.’ And in case I don’t say this to you, Merry Christmas!”

By Sinéad Stubbins, Deputy Editor
Published in ed#700

Other Amazing Entries

Krishiv, Age 6

Li-Yan, Age 8

Autumn, Age 11

Maisie, Age 8

Kyani, Age 9

Scarlett, Age 12

Genevieve, Age 8

Luke, Age 9

George, Age 7

Summer, Age 7

Ari, Age 9

Jonny, Age 8

Josie, Age 8

Stefan, Age 7

Whelan, Age 6