Podcast on the making of BBC’s Shoulder to Shoulder

Birkbeck 6Back in May, Birkbeck University of London hosted a conference commemorating the 40th anniversary of Shoulder to Shoulder, an extraordinary BBC series on the suffragettes. I was there talking about Sally Heathcote Suffragette, as I’ve mentioned previously. We also had an exhibition in Birkbeck’s Peltz Gallery. There’s now a podcast available of the conference discussion of the making of the Shoulder to Shoulder series. It’s chaired by Joan Bakewell, who leads with observations about women working in the BBC in the early 1970s. The panellists have some fascinating reflections on how making drama for television – and indeed how the BBC itself – has changed since the 70s. (Bryan and I pipe up in the open discussion that follows.)
The panellists:
Angela Down (Sylvia Pankhurst)
Patricia Quinn (Christabel Pankhurst)
Sîan Phillips (Emmeline Pankhurst)
Waris Hussein (director, ‘The Pankhursts’, ‘Annie Kenney’, ‘Lady Constance Lytton’, ‘Sylvia Pankhurst’ episodes)
Moira Armstrong (director, ‘Outrage’, ‘Christabel Pankhurst’ episodes)
Graham Benson (production assistant)

Birkbeck 5Birkbeck 1

Another month of festivals coming up…

The festival season is upon us once more. It’s starting with the Small Wonder Festival in Charleston this coming weekend:

smallwonder-festival-header14Sunday 28th September
4pm Suffragette. An illustrated talk by Mary and Bryan Talbot
Chaired by Corinne Pearlman
Small Wonder Festival
Charleston, East Sussex BN8 6LL. Tickets available here

It’s near Brighton, so we’re looking forward to catching up with Hannah Berry while we’re in her neighbourhood. Sure to be fun!

Then in October we’re doing a string of events, some of them with Kate Charlesworth:

Durham Book Festival logoSaturday 11th October
1.30pm Bryan and Mary Talbot and Kate Charlesworth: Sally Heathcote, Suffragette
Chaired by David Herman
Palace Green Library
Durham Book Festival
Tickets available here

Also on that day, I’ll be appearing in conversation with Laura Bates:

10.30am Laura Bates: Everyday Sexism
Chaired by Mary Talbot
Durham Town Hall. Tickets here

Ilkley Lit Fest logoAfter that, Bryan and I will wend our way over to Ilkley:

Sunday 12th October 2014
1.45pm Bryan Talbot workshop: How I create a graphic novel
Manor House Museum: Education Room

4.30pm Bryan and Mary Talbot discuss their stunning new graphic novel, Sally Heathcote, Suffragette.
Ilkley Playhouse – Wildman. Ilkley Literary Festival. Tickets here

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 17.44.04Then, guess what? Kendal Comic Art Fest is back!

17-19th October 2014
2nd Lakes International Comic Art Festival
Book all events here

These vibrant limited edition prints are available for pre-order at the Lakes Fest now

These vibrant limited edition prints are available for pre-order at the Lakes Fest now

Saturday 18 October, 18.30 – 19.30, Brewery Arts Centre Warehouse Café
Meet the Creators: Audrey Niffenegger (hosted by Mary Talbot)

Sunday 19 October, 14.30 – 15.30, Brewery Arts Centre 1
Brainstorm: The Art of Bryan Talbot (hosted by Mel Gibson)
Kate and I will join in towards the end of this discussion.

Thursday 23rd October 2014
7.30pm Mary and Bryan Talbot and Kate Charlesworth
Chester Literature Festival
Chester Town Hall
Chaired by Mark Lawson
Book here

Finally, we’ll be rounding off the month with a trip to Dundee. Applications now closed for this one, though:

25th October 2014
Comics Lab 2014

Phew.mary-talbot.jpg Sally Page 53 bottom

Vintage podcast with Sally Heathcote Suffragette

FrontCovercroppedThere was so much going on back in May, when Sally Heathcote Suffragette came out, that I’ve overlooked an interview we did in the Random House building. It was the week we were in London for a spot on BBC’s Woman’s Hour, then a Shoulder to Shoulder conference and related exhibition of Sally art at Birkbeck College. We were also occupied with a busy signing at Gosh! and an event at the Cartoon Museum. This was my write-up of the week’s events: On the road with Sally Heathcote.

Fortunately, the interview is still online as a Vintage podcast. In the podcast we follow Vagenda authors, Holly Baxter and Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett.

I’ve also just found this nice little review in a blog called Tiny Library. 5 out of 5 for Sally! Thanks, Tiny Library, whoever you are!
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The 2nd Lakes International Comic Art Festival!

comicartThe second Kendal festival is almost upon us. The main programme is online here where tickets are available too. So what are you waiting for?

The dates are 17th – 19th October 2014. The main venue is the same: the Brewery Arts Centre in the heart of Kendal. There’s a host of amazing guests, so the hardest thing will be deciding who to go and see. Check out all the other things going on too. There’s the Comics Clock Tower again, lots of exhibitions and much more. Just look, here! You can still watch Digital Story Engine’s festival trailer on YouTube too.

I’ll be participating in these events:

Saturday 18 October, 18.30 – 19.30, Brewery Arts Centre Warehouse Café
Meet the Creators: Audrey Niffenegger (hosted by Mary Talbot)

ExhibitionPosterSunday 19 October, 10.30am – 12pm, Forbidden Planet in the Brewery Arts Centre Malt Room
Signing at Table 1 with Bryan

Sunday 19 October, 14.30 – 15.30, Brewery Arts Centre 1
Brainstorm: The Art of Bryan Talbot (hosted by Mel Gibson)
Kate Charlesworth and myself will join in at the end of this discussion.

And finally:
Grandville Print now available to pre-order!
This year, the Lakes International Comic Art Festival asked seven artists to produce a piece of artwork each for a special limited festival edition of 60 high quality A3 giclee prints on beautiful paper to raise money for the event. Bryan drew this Alphonse Mucha-inspired poster of Billie from the Grandville series. The other prints are by Sean Phillips, Emma Vieceli, Mark Buckingham, Rian Hughes, Duncan Fegrado, Doug Braithwaite and Junko Mizuno. They will be available from the Brewery Arts Centre during the festival and are available to pre-order now. To see the other prints or to pre-order click here.


Sally in Scotland, Talbots in Lakeland

Here’s the video of the Sally Heathcote Suffragette event at the Edinburgh Book Festival last month. Thanks to Jane Barry for her expert filming and editing.

Badgers for half a mile!On returning from a week’s holiday, for me the Edinburgh film was an opportunity to revisit a very pleasant occasion. Bryan and I have been enjoying a battery-recharging week in and around Keswick, the first proper holiday we’ve had for a couple of years.

We didn’t see any badgers, though. Shame.

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Castlerigg 2


Looking down on Keswick from Latrigg

Looking down on Keswick from Latrigg

Another hazy day

Another hazy day

Another bad hair day!

Another bad hair day!

Grandy Nook

Grandy Nook. A grand place to stay

Edinburgh Book Festival

Edinburgh Festival logoJust back from a busy trip to Edinburgh, at the final weekend of the Edinburgh Fringe and International Book Festival. Straight off the train on Friday, Bryan and I joined Kate Charlesworth at Word Power, a radical bookshop in Nicolson Street, for an hour or so talking about the making of Sally Heathcote, Suffragette. That evening we were all entertained by Freight Books at a launch party for IDP: 2043, a graphic novel produced in collaboration with the Festival. You can listen to two of the contributors, Denise Mina and Adam Murphy, talking about the book in a radio interview on The Culture Studio.

choir tweeted by VintageBooksSaturday 12.30 was our main event about Sally. We were in discussion with Teddy Jamieson in front of a full theatre audience. As the chair finished his preliminary panel introduction, a woman in the crowd called out “Votes for Women!” Then a few moments later, another stood up brandishing an umbrella and shouted again “Votes for Women!” This was the cue for a suffragette choir to march in, singing “The March of the Women” to a drum accompaniment. They were superb. The choir is Edinburgh’s own “Loud and Proud”, of which Kate herself is a member. (The event was filmed and I hope to be able to post a link to it soon.)

Sally @ EIBFThen, after an hour’s lively discussion, we removed to the bookshop for a signing that lasted around an hour and a half. I have no idea how many copies that amounts to.

Sally signing 2



Sally signing @EIBF






Sally signing queue @EIBF


Kate and I had another fixture later the same day. There were two panel discussions with contributors to IDP: 2043, both chaired by Denise Mina. We were in the second of them, along with Barroux and Irvine Welsh, followed again by a signing session (but not another singing session, more’s the pity…)

Left to right: Irvine Welsh, Barroux, Kate Charlesworth, Mary Talbot, Denise Mina

Left to right: Irvine Welsh, Barroux, Kate Charlesworth, Mary Talbot, Denise Mina

IDP2043 signing

IDP2043 signing2IDP2043 signing 4

Photographs by Dianne Barry and Vintage Books.

Loncon 3: 72nd World Science Fiction Convention in London

LONCON3_logoIt’s over a week since Loncon 3 ended, but I’m only just able to sit at my desk and reflect on it today. Lovely to meet up with old friends there and, of course, to meet new ones as well. Of the panels I was on, I think the two most enjoyable were Tove Jansson’s Moomins and Writing and Pitching Comics. Thanks to Maura McHugh and Kate Laity for their excellent chairing.

Point and shoot

Point and shoot

Rob Talbot with Moomin panellist, Alexander Dan Vilhjålmsson

Rob Talbot with Moomin panellist, Alexander Dan Vilhjålmsson

As Bryan was Artist Guest of Honour, we were in attendance for the whole of the long weekend. It was great that our sons Rob and Alwyn were there too, though Alwyn only stopped for one night and managed to evade all cameras.

Bryan was presenting one of the Hugos in the awards ceremony. When the microphones failed as he approached them, it became an unintended event that for some was the highpoint of the Loncon3 Hugosevening. ‘Just speak into my chest’, said Geoff Ryman, the event host.

Sound was soon restored and Bryan was able to resume. ‘Here I am presenting a Hugo. By Grabthar’s hammer, what an honour!’, he declared, to the huge delight of the vast audience.

Fancy winning a copy of Graphic Novel Man: the Comics of Bryan Talbot?

DigitalStoryEngine logoThere’s a chance to win one of 12 copies of a documentary series about Bryan and his work. Interested? You can enter the competition here. The closing date for submissions is 18th August.

The Graphic Novel Man: the Comics of Bryan Talbot is a lovely tribute from Digital Story Engine creators Russell Wall and James Guy. If you don’t win, well, you can always do the decent thing and buy yourself a copy, can’t you? It’s available here, where you can also take a look at the trailer.

trailer shoot 1Here are some photos that were taken during the trailer filming.

By the third day of filming, the pressure was taking its toll...

By the third day of filming, the pressure was taking its toll…

Arts Council England are offering me a grant!

Arts Council England logoI feel a victory dance coming on! I’ll be one more in that group of fortunate graphic-novel people to be awarded a Grant for the Arts, joining Katie Green, whose Lighter Than My Shadow came out last year, and Hannah Berry and Paula Knight, who have funding for work in progress. There may be others that I can’t recall at the moment.

It’s just four weeks since I put in my application, so I’m very impressed by their speediness (and enlightenment!) I’m most grateful to Paula and to David GrantfortheArtsGaffney from the Arts Council for their invaluable advice. It wouldn’t even have occurred to me to apply if it hadn’t been for an encouraging talk about funding opportunities at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival last October. So I appreciate that too.

Bryan will be working with me on the project and, by a lovely coincidence, the offer arrived yesterday, on the same day he sent off the final files of Grandville: Noël. So it’s a double celebration! How cool is that?

Watch this space!

Raising the flag to celebrate 42 years

WSPU flag badgeIt’s our 42nd wedding anniversary today and Bryan has surprised me with a present! I am now the proud wearer of an antique enamelled brooch in the shape of a flag that bears the slogan ‘Votes for Women’. It’s an authentic piece of merchandising originally sold by the Women’s Social and Political Union.

He arranged to buy it, without my knowledge, when we were in London at the beginning of May. Suffrage historian and antiquarian Elizabeth Crawford supplied with it the following information:

Unusually, it’s possible to date this badge pretty accurately. It is marked on the back with the maker’s name ‘Toye’, which was in usage between 1898 and 1909 when the passing of a new Companies’ Act meant that henceforward it was known as ‘Toye & Co’. Toye produced much of the WSPU merchandise, including the Hunger-Strike medals.

The 31 December 1908 issue of Votes for Women lists all merchandise that the WSPU was selling at that time – and this ‘flag design’ brooch is not included. However, as the WSPU was about to launch its big fund-raising event – the Exhibition at Prince’s Skating Rink – they had clearly added to their wares and the 14 May 1909 issue of Votes for Women included amongst the new items this Brooch – described as ‘Flag (words “Votes for Women”) 1/- each.’

page 62 topThese items are now extremely rare and highly collectable. I’m perfectly certain that Bryan paid vastly more than one shilling for it! I’d admired the design (seen in photographs) and wrote it into a WSPU shop scene in Sally Heathcote, Suffragette. You can see Kate’s loving representation in the first panel on page 62. It’s also one of the items in the box at Sally’s bedside at the beginning and end of the book. I never expected to hold the genuine article in my hands. Wow.

A totally unexpected anniversary gift, though actually he gave it to me around three weeks ago. When the brooch arrived, he was bursting to tell me about it and couldn’t wait! I shall wear it with pride.

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