Sally Heathcote Suffragette in Spanish

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Spanish-speaking friends may be interested to know that the Spanish edition of Sally Heathcote Suffragette is scheduled for publication by Ediciones La Cúpola, Barcelona, on the 27th February 2015.

The international interest is very encouraging. Sally recently appeared in a Best-of-Year list on a Singaporean blog The Daily Seni.




Below is what the Spanish publisher’s newsletter has to say about it (in Spanish, obviously):

Bryan y Mary Talbot y Kate Charlesworth - Sally Heathcote, sufra

Púrpura, blanco y verde. Tres colores representan a la National Women’s Social and Political Union, una liga de mujeres extraordinarias que lucharon por conquistar derechos humanos que en el contexto rígido y clasista de la Inglaterra eduardiana brillaban por su ausencia.

Sally Heathcote es una trabajadora doméstica al servicio de Emmeline Pankhurst, una de las fundadoras del movimiento. La proximidad de ese entorno comprometido y militante irá concienciando a la joven en la causa sufragista, que reclama el derecho al voto para las mujeres. La desobediencia civil, la estrategia política, el aprendizaje de la acción directa y la reivindicación a pie de calle van a dictar la trayectoria feminista de Sally, que no dudará en enfocar su vida como una carrera de obstáculos pero también de grandes logros para las generaciones futuras.

Mary M. Talbot, Kate Charlesworth y Bryan Talbot construyen una historia apasionante sobre la lealtad, el coraje y la dignidad de un grupo de mujeres que lograron abrir, en el ámbito laboral, social y educativo, una serie de puertas que habían estado siempre cerradas.


La Cupola logo

A return ticket to Grandville, please!

IRue Cortott’s a hard life. We went on a fact- and image-finding mission last week. It began with an early train to King’s Cross in order to catch Eurostar to Paris. About eight and a half hours in total, from our front doorstep to the hotel in Montmartre, with a leisurely lunch in London between trains. Amazing. That even included a half-hour delay because of partial tunnel-closure.

toulouseLautrec'sChat NoirWe stayed at a little hotel on rue Aristide Bruant, just off rue Lepic. It was really handy for the Museum of Montmartre, where there’s currently an exhibition of “The Spirit of Montmartre, 1875-1910″. Lots of old magazine illustrations and some very familiar-looking posters. I’d like to go back when there’s more to see in the surrounding gardens. They still have a productive vineyard there. It being January, the vines didn’t appear to be producing much, however.



The streets of Montmartre look pretty much the way they did a hundred years ago or more. Compare the old postcard below with the photo Bryan took last week at roughly the same spot. There are a lot of cars now, of course, more street furniture and presumably better street lighting. But it’s recognisably the same place. I love that.

Moulin de la Galette








Montmartre postcard







cobblesBryan was, naturally, taking location shots throughout. These are fine-looking cobbles, aren’t they? Look out for them in the next Grandville! It’s highly likely they’ll turn up there.



We looked around the Carnavalet Museum too, in the 3rd arrondissement. It’s well worth a visit, with a wide range of stuff to pore over, including this lush shop interior designed by Alphonse Mucha for one Georges Fouquet, jeweller. It’s extraordinary. It’s odd to think that it dated very rapidly; it was only in place for a few years. To me it looks timeless.

Georges Fouquet jeweller's

One last photo to finish. Passing the Hôtel de Ville we noticed this Charlie Hebdo tribute.

Christmas in Paradise: Part 4

So, where was I?

We’re on our way home from Australia, breaking the journey by stopping over again in Singapore. A hotel in Bugis this time, further downtown and easy walking distance for the marina area. Close to this little place, actually: Raffles Hotel. We stop off here for an overpriced glass of so-so wine. Check out that traveller’s palm behind Bryan, though! Amazing.
Raffles Hotel
Singapore3Most of the city’s architecture is concrete and glass barbarity, to my taste, but striking with it. We do have a very specific destination, however, on the recommendation of a friend (Singapore University prof Michelle Lazar). Getting there involves passing through the strangest shopping mall I’ve ever seen.

I’m starting to feel as though I’m on board one of Iain M Banks’ Culture ships; or maybe an Orbital (note for non-SF readers: these are imagined constructions in a post-scarcity utopia). This is a sensation that increases as the day goes on.

Singapore gardens1
We’re on our way to Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay, an enormous park complex accessed by a footbridge high up over the city traffic.
Singapore gardens3
Gardens lake
And we’re in.
Gardens by the Bay is open to the public free of charge, but its two enormous conservatories are ticketed. Both are worth a visit, but the Cloud Forest conservatory is breathtaking.
Cloud Forest2
Cloud Forest14
The contrast between this manicured environment and Fraser Island couldn’t be greater. It certainly has its charms though. Here’s one of the manicurist-gardeners at work.
Cloud Forest5
I’ve enjoyed putting these posts together; I hope they’ve been an equal pleasure to look at! Here’s two more glam shots of plants to finish! Cor.
Cloud Forest8
Cloud Forest9

Christmas in Paradise: Part 3

Hervey Bay cafe viewMoving on from New Caledonia, we head off via Brisbane to Hervey Bay in Queensland. While waiting for the ferry out to Fraser Island, we have lunch and hang around admiring the white eucalypts. I’ve heard so much about Fraser Island from Bryan I feel as though I know the place already. We’re spending Christmas on the world’s largest sand island, at Kingfisher Bay Resort.
Jetty Hut sunset
sunset at Jetty HutSo, it’s Christmas Eve. As a lovely start to this leg of the holiday, we go to the Jetty Hut for a drink while watching the sunset. And I finally get to dip my toes in the Pacific.

This beach, when the tide’s in, is the starting point for canoe trips round the mangroves. If I’d known beforehand that they started on open sea, I’d have chickened out for sure! It may look tranquil in the photos, but it certainly isn’t when we go out. Miraculously, we aren’t upturned, though we have a few mishaps, including close encounters with bushes in the mangroves.

It’s a beautiful island, not only to see but to listen to. We’re used to cicadas day and night by now. Here amphibians join in the nighttime chorus. We didn’t manage to record any successfully. This short video sounds a little like it, though not as rich and varied.

tour bus cropped
So what happens on Christmas Day on Fraser Island? Well, in our case, we climb into a tour bus built to drive on sand and go on a day-long tour of the island.

This includes bathing in Lake MacKenzie, a freshwater lake with silver sand, before lunch. Swimwear and santa hats seem to be de rigeur.
Christmas lake
Christmas lake 2

Then walking through the rainforest afterwards.
forest trail
forest 2
Up until the 1980s, logging was the major industry on the island, especially for the giant satinay, or turpentine tree (Syncarpia hillii), which was highly prized in shipbuilding. The rainforest is slowly recovering, but how long does it take a satinay to grow a trunk four metres across, I wonder. Twelve hundred years? There’s a short video about it here:

The rusting hulk of the SS Maheno is a striking sight on the east coast of the island.
Maheno & Bryan
Maheno & me
Maheno and me
Hmm. Interesting texture…
photographing rust
Finally the day arrives when we take a last look at the swamp below our balcony, with its waterlilies and wonderful singing frogs and toads, and say goodbye to K’gari (the Butchulla place name for Fraser Island).
balcony view
ferry returnIt’s time to catch the return ferry for the start of our long journey home.

One more place of interest yet to come, though!

Christmas in Paradise: Part 2

map1Magenta Bay flame tree 3Nouvelle Calédonie: le Pacifique au Coeur (as it says on the tourism websites). Two basic requirements for Paradise, for me at least, are lush tropical vegetation and vibrant colours. There’s plenty of both here.
Magenta Bay flame tree 2
We’ve chosen to stay in the centre of the capital, Noumea, rather than down by the tourist beaches. It’s just a short walk to the marina on Magenta Bay anyway. That’s where I photographed these flamboyant flame trees (Delonix regia). They’re native to Madgascar apparently, though now grown throughout the tropics.

fish faceThere’s a market every morning near the marina. I reckon Fishface here is going to end up in the next Grandville.

Another lovely spot is the Place des Cocotiers. Plenty of shade to shelter in, but I must admit I’m now experiencing severe fan palm envy. The eponymous coconut trees are splendid too, though standing under them in high winds must be hazardous!
Place des Cocotiers
fan palm
And here’s our Bryan sitting under a banyan tree.

Bryan & banyan
These amazing trees are everywhere. Some of them are massive. Ficus prolixia, I think.
banyan 2
museum interiorOf the three museums in Noumea the Museum of New Caledonia was the most different, hence interesting, for me (the other two are city and maritime museums). It’s full of Oceanic and Melanesian artefacts and reconstructions, such as these intriguing carved roof trees and door posts:




and this traditional building:

museum hut
We’re avoiding the main tourist beach area, but we do go to a secluded bit of coastline. A short taxi ride out of town, the Kuendu Beach Hotel is a beautiful spot for lunch, as you can see.

I love trees! The amazing columnar pine, or Cook’s pine, is New Caledonia’s signature tree. It’s Araucaria columnaris, a relation of the monkey puzzle.
Kuendu Beach Hotel
Kuendu trees
I decide on the caesar salad with crevettes, then sit back and enjoy the view.
Kuendu restaurant
Kuendu restaurant view 3
Kuendu Beach
water liles Kuendu Beach Hotel 2
hibiscus lutea
more Kuendu trees
Tree porn, eh?

I intended to dip my toes in the ocean after lunch, but we take up the offer of a lift back into town instead. An overnight thunderstorm has wiped out the restaurant’s credit card machine, so that the lunch bill does the same to our small supply of local currency. Thanks to the local teacher for driving us back to Noumea – the kindness of a stranger in a faraway place.
Kuendu Beach flame tree

Christmas in Paradise: Part 1

Happy New Year!

What’s all this about Christmas in Paradise? Well, that’s where we went over the Christmas period, partly doing research for another book but mostly for a long-awaited warm-weather holiday (our first ever, I believe). Now I like my adopted home town a lot, but let’s face it, it’s 52 degrees north and we’re close to the winter solstice. Paradise is not going to be round the corner, is it? We have to do the journey there in stages.

First stop: Singapore. We stay in the predominantly Chinese Balestier district; adjacent to our hotel are the two local places of interest:

A taoist temple:
Taoist temple 2
and the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall.
Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall
Sun Yat Sen Hall balcony

Dr Sun was a Chinese revolutionary, the inspiration for the international movement that led to the overthrow of the Qing dynasty in 1911. He became the first president of the Republic of China.

Zhongshan2Ten years ago I was a visiting prof at Sun Yat Sen University (Zhongshan in Mandarin) in Guangzhou, so the name was already familiar to me and I’d a vague idea who he was. It’s interesting to learn more about his life and the historic upheavals he was part of.

Next stop: Sydney. The next stage of our journey involves an overnight flight with a budget airline called Scoot. It feels like an airborne primate enclosure, but with toddlers. We emerge dazed, weary and confused.

Are we there yet? No!

But we’re booked in for a couple of nights at a great apartment in the heart of downtown Sydney. It’s easy walking distance from there to Hyde Park and St Mary’s Cathedral and the weather’s lovely:
HydePark fountain&St Mary's
Then there’s the Art Gallery of New South Wales:
artgallery of NSW
The Royal Botanic Gardens and the harbour:
We spend a great evening with Bryan’s cousin John, a Sydney resident. He shows us round the oldest part of town, the Rocks. Here’s the two of them by the observatory overlooking the harbour:
John and Bryan
Then we’re off for a seriously bracing ferry trip round the harbour the next day:
Sydneyferry tallship
We’ve another flight in the evening. It’s just a short one this time. Our destination is a South Pacific island called la Grande Terre, part of the French territory of New Caledonia. And it’s starting to feel a lot like paradise…
Magenta Bay flame tree

Wigan Comic Con keeps the geeks aglow

logoUnless you’re from Wigan, you’re probably not familiar with Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls. They ‘keep you all aglow’, you know. Wigan Comic Con (the logo is a spoof of the Uncle Joe’s label) was really far more about film, TV and cosplay than it was about comics. It certainly attracted a crowd of locals, many of them queuing up in the wind and hail when we arrived. I hope they had something keeping them aglow!

There were lots of family groups there and it was a bit of a family event for us too. It was the first comic con for our niece Rebecca, there with her boyfriend Adam; it must have been the first for young Tyler Talbot here, too. Meeting Batman was the highpoint for him, I think.
Tyler with Batman
Becoming Junior Batman made him pensive, though. Here he is with Alwyn, his dad.
Batman Tyler copy

WiganComic Con







That’s the last event of the year done and dusted. Next stop is closer to home for us: Sunderland Comic Con on 21st and 22nd February 2015. It’s just round the corner from home, in fact. But that’s not until February and now I’m signing off.

So, see you next year!

Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année!


CROSS – A Political Satire Anthology

Cover-350x516I’ve been so busy over the past couple of months that I haven’t got round to blogging about this anthology of political satire that Alwyn and I contributed a 4-pager to. Until now, that is. Published by Disconnected Press, it was launched at Thought Bubble in Leeds last month. This was an event I wasn’t able to attend, as I was occupied elsewhere (Jonathan Cape’s Comic Creations event in Bristol, since you ask).

As its back cover announces, the collection is a call to people across the land to think about who governs us and the decisions they make on our behalf. It’s a rallying call to get out and vote. It’s available from the indie publishers here. Surely it’s the perfect gift for all your politically-minded, angry friends!

Those loveable chum(p)s, Dave and Boris, drawn by Alwyn Talbot (from our ‘Preparation for Leadership’ strip):
A sinister line-up by Soffe, that was used in the Kickstarter campaign:









A tribute to Rik Mayall drawn by Matt Timson (from ‘Deception’, written by Cy Dethan):

November: Grandville Noël launch, a graphic novel evening and some lovely people

Sally pageEarlier this month we were in Bristol for Comic Creations, a Jonathan Cape graphic novel evening at the Watershed, along with Fumio Obata, Isabel Greenberg, Nick Hayes and Steve Bell. Part of the Bristol Festival of Ideas, there were some great talks and an appreciative audience (nice little report by Kayleigh Gibbons here). But the highpoint of the evening for us was afterwards, when we went out to eat with Steve and the legendary animator Richard Williams. He’s best known for his work as director of animation on Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but I think perhaps his most outstanding was the animation he did for the anti-war film The Charge of the Light Brigade back in the sixties (clips on YouTube).

Cartoon Museum logoThe launch of Grandville Noël at the Cartoon Museum in London was this week’s main event. It was a lovely evening with an interesting mix of people (including Lee Harris and his daughter Amira in the photos below). A couple of days later we were back in the Cartoon Museum, when Bryan did his talk on creating graphic novels. In between he signed what was quite probably Forbidden Planet’s entire stock of Grandville Noël.

Noel launch party

Noel launch

Noel artwork at launch

Bryan signing Noel for James

Noel launch by Will Brooker
Thanks to James Robertson and Will Brooker for the photographs.

October update: a month of festivals

“This is the first graphic novel I’ve ever bought!” How I love hearing that!

We’ve been on the move with Sally Heathcote again, starting with Charleston in CharlestonEast Sussex in late September. And, yes, we seem to be making converts as we go. At book signings following our literary festival talks, some people are sure to say: “This is the first graphic novel I’ve ever bought!”

Our Charleston Small Wonder Festival appearance was in an old barn fitted out as a performance space, in the grounds of the Bloomsbury Group’s farmhouse and garden. The house became home to the artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant in 1916.

Palace GreenKate joined us for a Durham Book Festival event, which was in the Palace Green library close by the castle and cathedral. In the morning I’d been in the equally imposing Durham Town Hall, conducting an interview with Laura Bates on her Everyday Sexism project and book.




ManorHouseAfter that Bryan and I zoomed off to Ilkley for another literary festival. Continuing the architectural theme, Bryan did his graphic-novel masterclass in a lovely old stone place adjacent to the Manor House, a fine Tudor building. Later in the day, we both took to the stage to talk about Sally Heathcote, 

IlkleyPlayHouseSuffragette – and make some more converts – in the Ilkley Playhouse. Someone in the audience (one Jane Aitchison) tweeted enthusiastically about a scene in the book that’s set close by, on Woodhouse Moor. There are some great reviews on the Pickled Egg blog/online magazine. Just look what Jess Haigh and JY Saville have to say about the event.



More new graphic novel readers!


A few days later, we were off to the Cumbrian market town of Kendal for the 2nd Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Julie Tait and her team excelled themselves.  As one reviewer remarked, “this year everything seemed to be ‘more'”. Here’s a sample of reviews: Jeremy Briggs, James Bacon, Lew Stringer, Stephen Holland (Warning: endearing effusiveness in a very long post!) Infectious enthusiasm all round. And badgers.



Bryan and I each hosted an event. I facilitated Audrey Niffenegger’s presentation of artwork in the Brewery Arts Centre Warehouse Café. Bryan did a career interview with Dez Skinn in Screen 1. Kate and I joined Bryan in his own career interview, where I do believe there was a badger in the audience!



Brewery Arts Centre

Brewery Arts Centre












And, yes, more picturesque stone buildings were involved.

Comics Clock Tower (aka Kendal Town Hall)

Comics Clock Tower (aka Kendal Town Hall)

It was a lovely weekend – for us it included a chance to catch up with Jeff and Vijaya Smith, who we hadn’t seen in years. While they were visiting the Lake District, it was a pleasure to take them to some locations from The Tale of One Bad Rat, such as this one: Cartmel Fell Church.
















@GR_MorgantweetedChesterTown Halls have been a bit of a theme recently. A few days after the Lakes we were in Cheshire with Kate for another literary festival. The imposing red sandstone Chester Town Hall was the venue for our event. It was chaired by Mark Lawson, who Bryan and I ‘met’ on Radio 4’s Front Row when Dotter was shortlisted for a Costa Award.



@ChesterPerformstweetedChester signing




















The three of us rounded off the month with a trip to Dundee for the Scottish Book Trust Comics Lab and Dundee Literature Festival, both of which took place at the university. While we were there, Bryan and I saw Woodrow Phoenix’s presentation of his big book, She Lives, which we’d missed in Kendal.WoodrowBigBook

DundeeComicsLab Woodrow'sSheLives

















Next stop: Jonathan Cape’s Comic Creations evening, part of the Bristol Festival of Ideas on 14th November. Bryan and I will be appearing with Isabel Greenberg, Fumio Obata, Nick Hayes and Steve Bell. Maybe see you there?