Launching Sally Heathcote, Suffragette

FrontCovercroppedMay is going to be a busy month!

Sally‘s official publication date is 1st May, but orders can be placed now. On 2nd May there’s a London launch event in the Conference Centre at the British Library, when we three co-creators will be interviewed by Rachel Cooke from the The Observer (book tickets here). The event begins with a screening of the documentary Graphic Novel Man: The Comics of Bryan Talbot (see the trailer here).

An excerpt from Sally and an interview are scheduled for 4th May in The Observer.

These are some others events lined up in May:
Thursday 8th May
A northeast signing and talk by the creators will be at Waterstone’s, The Bridges, Sunderland at 6pm. Tickets £3 (redeemable against the cost of the book purchased on the night).
12th-23rd May
Sally Heathcote, Suffragette: Remembering Female Suffrage
This exhibition presents artwork from Sally Heathcote, Suffragette by Mary Talbot, Kate Charlesworth and Bryan Talbot.
Accompanying the art will be a collection of artefacts and extracts from the BBC TV series, Shoulder to Shoulder. These representations of Edwardian female activism produced in the early 1970s explore how the first wave was re-remembered at the time of second wave.
The exhibition takes place in the Peltz Gallery, Birkbeck, in the School of Arts, Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD.
Saturday 17th May
We’ll be signing at Gosh! from 2pm to 3pm. That’s 1 Berwick Street, London W1F 0DR.
In the evening we’ll be in the Cartoon Museum for Shoulder to Shoulder: Sally Heathcote Suffragette. This is an illustrated talk starting at 6.30pm. Free but ticketed (book here)
Sunday 18th May
Bryan and I will be introducing Sally at the Norfolk & Norwich Literary Festival at 4.45pm (details here)

Meanwhile, here are some advance reviews and a directors’ commentary that Kate and I put together for the Forbidden Planet blog:
Page 45 review
Forbidden Planet review
Directors’ Commentary

Dotter of her Father’s Eyes – in translation

PolishCoverLoResDotter of her Father’s Eyes is now available in Polish! Recently appearing in print, it’s the third translation to be published so far, joining the Spanish and Serbian editions that came out in 2013.

The title poses something of a challenge for translators, since puns and cultural references don’t transfer easily (if at all) from one language to another. In Polish, it is rendered as “The apple in father’s eye”. The Spanish title means roughly “The girl of his eyes” and apparently resonates well for readers of Spanish. The Serbian translator chose a different solution by opting for the single word “daughters”.

Swedish and Chinese editions are currently in preparation. The Swedish title, after months of deliberation by the editor, is to be Barn av sin faders tid (“Child of her father’s time”) and apparently contains a punning allusion that many Swedes will understand. And the Chinese? That remains to be seen, but whatever they come up with is sure to look great!

Helen Barnrat on Tumblr: a tribute to The Tale of One Bad Rat

Badrat awakesA student in Ontario has just created a Tumblr page about Helen Barnrat. That’s the character from Bryan’s Tale of One Bad Rat who features in the Beatrix Potter pastiche at the end. The page is available to view here. Laura Stortz, the Canadian student, says she was ‘deeply moved’ by Bad Rat and ‘decided to choose and review the graphic novel as a part of my course’.

IBadRat atHillTopt’s now twenty years since the book first came out, so it’s wonderful that it still retains its appeal and people continue to discover it. A new generation of people, indeed. Crikey!

It’s my favourite graphic novel of all time (at least, it was until Alice in Sunderland came along – now I’m conflicted). Of course, being partly set in the Lake District, it featured prominently in Bryan’s Brainstorm! exhibition in Kendal that formed part of the inaugural Lakes International Comic Art Festival last year. Remember this poster?



And here are some gratuitous shots of my February front garden. An abundance of snowdrops and hellebore:



Sally Heathcote, Suffragette is on her way!

Sally advance copyMy advance copy of Sally Heathcote, Suffragette has arrived. “It’s girl!” I felt like shouting. But I’ve settled down now. The release date is 1st May 2014, though it can be pre-ordered here.

A sample of Sally artwork is included in an exciting exhibition at the British Library called Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK. It’s curated by Paul Gravett and it will be in the PACCAR Gallery from 2nd May – 19th August 2014.

There will also be a mini-exhibition of artwork from 12 -16th May 2014 at the Peltz Gallery in Birkbeck College, London. This exhibition is in conjunction with an academic conference marking the 40th anniversary of the BBC mini-series ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’. You can watch a clip here:

The conference on Shoulder-to-Shoulder: Female Suffrage, Second-Wave Feminism and Feminist TV Drama in the 1970s will take place on 15 – 16th May 2014 at Birkbeck. It brings together some of the original participants to celebrate this key TV text. I’ll be participating in a panel discussion on ‘Waves of Amnesia and Awakening’ which explores how the women’s movement is being remembered today, as well as how early TV work has almost been lost. If you’re interested in attending, you’ll need to check out Birkbeck’s event calendar.

On the 17th May 2014 (the day after the conference) all three Sally co-creators – Kate, Bryan and myself – will be signing at Gosh! from 2-3pm. Then in the evening we’ll be doing a presentation as part of the Cartoon Museum’s Museums at Night event. Shoulder to Shoulder with Sally Heathcote, Suffragette takes place from 6.30-7.30pm. Details to follow.

Rounding off a busy long weekend, Bryan and I will be off to Norwich on Sunday 18th May, to appear at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. Details of that to follow too.

It’s Costa Award time again…

…and no of course I haven’t won it, silly! But I found this short video of the ceremony last January, while looking on their website for this year’s category winners. It was as great as it looks.

You can read about this year’s award winners in this article in The Bookseller. No graphic novels at all this time, which presumably accounts for the relative lack of media interest. I searched for a while to find any coverage at all.

My Best of Year choices for 2013

FPI have been running a December best-of-year series on their blog for some years now. This time around, they had so many submissions that it’s running over into January! Contributors are asked to pick three favourites from comics/graphic novels, books, television and film and say a little about them. They’re also invited to reflect on the past year more personally and to look to the creative year ahead. Take a look at my contribution, posted here today.

Getxo Comics Festival. The rain in Spain falls mainly on Bilbao.


With four books recently published in Spain (Dotter of her Father’s Eyes appeared there last September, the first two Grandville and The Tale of One Bad Rat came out this year), Bryan and I were delighted to be invited to the 12th Getxo Comics Festival.

Yes it rained. And it rained and it rained. Almost continuously. A little like Kendal, only wetter.

The long weekend didn’t start promisingly. We got to the airport early Thursday evening, in ample time, or so we thought. Then we discover that our flight was overbooked. Know that sinking feeling? We were the last to check in, so the plane was already full. As it turned out, we had a pleasant evening in a hotel close by, and all was well. Apart from having to get up before 5 am for the first flight out.

Bryan was kept very busy, sketching in the signing zone and at the Astiberri booth:
And we were interviewed by Jesus, which was nice.
Here’s Bryan signing next to the other international guest, Guy Delisle:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Hanging about eating and drinking is always good and on this occasion it was an opportunity to get to know some of the Spanish guests. Laureano from Astiberri (end of table) was a splendid host. On my left is Alfonso Zapino, whose graphic novel on James Joyce I’m looking forward to reading. There’s an English-language edition, published in Ireland.
Guy and Nadage. The festival organiser, Iñaki, is in the background.
We managed to fit in a little sightseeing. Here’s a couple of shots taken outside the Bilbao Guggenheim. It’s a spectacular building. Not being a fan of conceptual art, I can’t say the same for what’s on exhibition inside!

One thing struck us in particular: the Spanish are seriously into ham. Look!
On Sunday evening, when the festival was over, we waited for the Astiberri people to pack up then went zigzagging back and forth through the sodden streets, in search of a restaurant that wasn’t about to close. How far did we walk that night? Did the restaurants close when they saw us approaching? Who knows? But it took us here, and we zipped across the river by means of this striking suspension bridge/ferry construction:
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd there was a hotel and, lo, its restaurant was open. Fabulous food. So good, in fact, that even Bryan ate the seafood. I now have photographic evidence of him enjoying a langoustine.

Our return flight on Monday wasn’t until mid-afternoon, so we spent some time looking around Bilbao before we left. Bryan spotted an Alladin’s cave down a side street. Sadly, we had no space in our luggage, most particularly not for that eight-foot mahogany armoire that caught my eye!
There are plans for Spanish editions of the next two Grandville books, with other possible publications too. So maybe we’ll be back again. And will it still be raining? Probably.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Brainstorm! The Art of Bryan Talbot

exhibition1ExhibitionPosterThe Brainstorm! exhibition at the Wildman Gallery in Kendal is open until 10th November 2013. It’s one of the best curated exhibitions I’ve seen. Go along if you can. Meanwhile, here’s a photographic tour of the exhibition.

If you can make it to the gallery, you will also be able to have a sneak preview of a Bryan Talbot documentary by Digital Story Engine. The exclusive video presentation, which includes an introduction by legendary science-fiction author Michael Moorcock, offers fans their first glimpse of the extensive celebration of Bryan’s work to be released in 2014!



Curated by Sharon Tait. Photographs by Paul Atherton, Dianne Barry and Kate Charlesworth.

Helen Perkins at Cumbria Live.
Viv Walker at Kendal College.

Studies in Comics journal: Damon Herd interviews the Talbots

Some time ago Damon Herd from Dundee University came over to Sunderland to interview Bryan and myself. It was for the academic journal Studies in Comics and was largely about the making and reception of Dotter of her Father’s Eyes. It was a while back, so I’d almost forgotten about it, and it was a pleasant surprise to receive my copy of a journal with a very appealing cover!

Studies in Comics coverAs I’m leafing through it, I find myself reflecting on my own shift away from academic writing. The volume includes scholarly chapters with titles such as ‘The cognitive grammar of “I”‘ and ‘Resisting narrative immersion’. These days, my own preoccupations have shifted to the exploration of ideas through stories and I’m keen to reach, and be understood by, a much wider audience than I used to address. My success in doing so has placed me (Bryan’s depiction thereof) on the front cover of an academic journal. Is that ironic? Discuss.

Studies in Comics page

Studies in Comics is published by Intellect Books.