Counting down to Wonderlands

Wonderlands logoWith just over two weeks to go, expectations are high for the U.K’s first ever graphic novel expo, Wonderlands. We’ve a long list of guests that includes Posy Simmonds, Dave Gibbons, Hunt Emerson, Paul Gravett, Steve Bell and Dylan Horrocks, a full day of talks and panels on different aspects of the graphic novel form and an alternative schedule of workshops and master classes, so this promises to be a unique event. The publisher’s hall, hosting a range of exhibitors and publishers from biggies to small press, the showing of the documentary The Graphic Novel Man, the giant graphic novel She Lives being presented throughout the day by creator Woodrow Phoenix and a “how to” forum on self-publishing are all icing on the cake. Being a one-day event means that attenders don’t have to stop overnight and, to top it off, the whole event is FREE, even the panels and workshops, though booking in advance for the workshops – through the website here – is advisable, as places are limited. Schedule organizer, writer/artist Bryan Talbot, who’s also one of the founders of the Lakes International Comics Art Festival, said “For any lovers of the comics medium, or for artists in search of a publisher, this will be an unmissable event.”
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I’ll be there, of course, and I’ll be involved in a panel discussion on historical and biographical graphic novels, along with Kate Charlesworth, Darryl Cunningham and Al Davison (chaired by Paul Gravett).

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Read Regional tour update

As April draws to an end, we’re just over halfway through our tour with Read Regional 2015. We’re delighted that Sally Heathcote Suffragette has been selected for this promotional campaign bringing authors together with readers, especially since it’s the first time a graphic novel has been chosen. I say more about it here and here. We’ve just returned from our fifth event, in Skipton Library:

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RailwayMuseumLast week saw us in sunny Bridlington, where we did our our illustrated talk in North Bridlington Library for about forty 13-year-olds from two local schools. We decided to stop overnight in York to break up our journey there. It was an opportunity for Bryan to take lots of reference photos in the Railway Museum (think steampunk detective thrillers) and just to relax walking around the lovely old city.

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Here we are with some of the Year 9s from our Bridlington audience:
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And here with Edward, one of the two raffle winners:
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And here I am chatting with Ann, one of the librarians, while Bryan sketches in her copy of Sally.
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We were also in equally sunny Middlesbrough last week, presenting our illustrated talk for a World Book Night event in Teesside University Library.

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For a bit of variety, I thought I’d have a go at throwing my voice. As you can see, here I’m ventriloquising through Bryan while drinking a glass of water:
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For each of these events, thanks to the library staff for their friendly welcome and enthusiasm.

Teesside photographs by @TeesUniLib and Thomas Robinson
Skipton photos by @ScaryClaire
Bridlington photos by David Roberts

Back from Barcelona comics festival

Barcelona Q&A sessionWe had a very pleasant few days in Barcelona last week, where we’d been invited to attend as guests at FICON, the city’s International Comics Fair. With three new books out in Spain, between us we had a lot of promotion to do. The Spanish Sally – Sally Heathcote Suffragista – came out in February, so we were signing copies at the La Cúpola stand, as well as doing two talks and numerous interviews with journalists in the press room. It was good to see that the Spanish Dotter – La Niña de sus Ojos – is still selling well.LaCupola signingLaCupola signing3LaCupola signing2LaCupola signing4

The third and fourth Grandville books have recently been published in Spanish, so Bryan was kept busy at the Astiberri stand too.Astiberri signing
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Though we didn’t see much apart from the convention centre, it was great to socialise with our hosts as well as with fellow guests. Here we are out to dinner with some of the Astiberri crew and friends.
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Left to right: Bryan, Laureano, Frederik, Jason, me, Héloïse and Javier. Thanks for dinner, Laureano!

The convention centre was just off the Plaza España. On our last afternoon we had time to walk up the hill towards the Catalonia Museum of Art, so we could take in the view.
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Then on our last evening we had a quiet meal in the hotel with Scott and Ivy McCloud. The Sculptor sounds like a phenomenal success.
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March update

WallsendThis month’s activities have been varied and really rather interesting. Bryan and I did the first two of our talks on Sally Heathcote Suffragette for Read Regional 2015. So that’s Hull and North Tyneside library authorities done – seven more to go! We also took part in the exciting Dotter-based event on Storytelling &Adaptation for Huddersfield Literature Festival -which I’ve already posted about here.

I’ve also done a couple of solo talks at universities. Last year, to my great surprise, I was invited to do the keynote lecture for a Lancaster Lit celeb confconference on Discourse on Literary Celebrity Across Genres. Stevie Marsden, one of the delegates, has just posted this lovely write-up. Some very agreeable post-grads at Queen Mary University had invited me to talk as well, so I’d tried out the lecture with them a couple of weeks previously.

AW_logo_longAnother busy month ahead. So where’s next, you ask? Barcelona, as guests of the Barcelona International Comics Fair. Now that should be nice!

Dance/theatre adaptation of Dotter of her Father’s Eyes

This is so exciting!

On Sunday 15th March, the final event of the Huddersfield Literature Festival showcased the first three completed pieces of music and dance of a work-in-progress: the dance/theatre adaptation of Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes by composer Gary Lloyd and choreographer/performer Bettina Carpi. The extracts were three scenes, clearly distinguishable by the lighting in the photographs below. They depicted Lucia and James Joyce, myself and my father, and Lucia’s incarceration in mental institutions (all partnered by the dancer Christopher Owen). Expect to see this exciting project premiered sometime in 2016. Complete with interviews with Gary, Bettina, Christopher, Bryan and me, this was a pretty unique event for a lit fest. Bryan said “I can’t wait to see the finished performance, complete with sets inspired by the graphic novel illustrations, and a live orchestra providing the music.”
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Photographs by Jonathan Jacob

Sally Heathcote’s Read Regional tour

small Read Regional logoWSPU BADGEWe’re doing nine illustrated talks altogether on Sally Heathcote Suffragette, as part of the Read Regional 2015 campaign throughout Yorkshire and the North East. Six of them are open to the public and here they are:

 

7th March 3pm
Part of an International Women’s Day event at Hull Central Library

23rd April 7pm
Part of a World Book Night event at Teesside University

29th April 7.30pm
Skipton Library

10th June 6pm
Part of the Crossing the Tees Book Festival
Stockton Central Library

16th June 6.30pm
Newcastle City Library

23rd June 2pm
Consett Library

If you’re in the North of England at all, do come along to one of them.

Details are going into my Events page here, which I’ll be updating regularly. You can read my introduction to the book for the promotional campaign here. It’s going to be a busy spring!
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Sally Heathcote Suffragette picked for Read Regional 2015

PrintAs one of ten books selected for this year’s Read Regional campaign, Sally Heathcote Suffragette will be appearing from March to June at libraries and literary festivals in Yorkshire and the North East. That is to say, Bryan and I will be on tour across the region presenting illustrated talks about the book. It’s the first time a graphic novel has been included in the campaign, so we’re delighted to be taking part.

Read Regional is a promotional campaign connecting writers living in Yorkshire and the North East with local readers. It’s run by New Writing North teamed up with the region’s library authorities. Some of the talks for the campaign will be to reading groups and young people invited to libraries from local schools.

Most will be open to the general public, however, including our first, which is part of an International Women’s Day event taking place at Hull Central Library. Other events will be part of World Book Night at Teesside University, Middlesbrough, and the Crossing the Tees Book Festival, Stockton. Details to follow…

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Chinese edition of Dotter of her Father Eyes

Chinese page65 pan3An edition of Dotter of her Father’s Eyes in Simplified Chinese was published last October by Guangxi Normal University Press. I received copies of it this morning. It has a very different look and I’m charmed by it. I don’t read Chinese but, from what I can make out, they haven’t even tried to translate the title, which is probably just as well!

Here it is both with and without its paper band.

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Dotter at Huddersfield lit fest in Storytelling & Adaptation event

There’s an exciting event coming up on 15th March, concluding the Huddersfield Literature Festival. We’ll be taking a break from promoting Sally Heathcote Suffragette (more on that next week…) in order to revisit Dotter of her Father’s Eyes in what promises to be an amazing collaboration:

‘Storytelling & Adaptation: graphic novels, music and dance’ with graphic novelists Mary and Bryan Talbot, choreographer Bettina Carpi and composer Gary Lloyd.
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Tickets are available through the festival website.
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