Happy New Year from Dotter & Co!

Last month I was contacted by Isabella Ford, a student at Lancaster University. I was delighted to hear that she’d been introduced to Dotter of her Father’s Eyes on her English Literature course there. How times have changed! Comics really are gaining a foothold as a legitimate art form. And about time too!

I knew there were people working at Lancaster who liked the book; they invited me to do a keynote at a conference on literary celebrity a couple of years ago. Nevertheless it’s nice to know I’m on the syllabus now as well!

Isabella runs a careers website for women and she asked to interview me for it. Here’s the result, published yesterday. The website’s called She Works and it’s well worth a look.

All the best for a happy and healthy 2017 and try to keep cheerful in these interesting times. My slogan for last year was “Pessimism of the Intellect; Optimism of the Will”. I can’t remember who coined it, but I think I’ll be using it again this year.

York Literature Festival coming up!

York litfest logoThe Talbots will be in York in mid March!

On the 12th March 2016 we will be signing at Travelling Man, 54 Goodramgate, York, YO1 7LF from 2-3pm.

This will be followed by an appearance at York St John Con (part of York Literary Festival), where we will be will be discussing our work, including our forthcoming graphic novel The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia. There’s a festival programme available for download here.

RV postcard4 – 6pm 12th March: Temple Hall, York St John University, Lord Mayor’s Walk, York YO31 7EX
“Illustrator and writer Bryan Talbot, and writer and academic Mary Talbot, have been described by Bleeding Cool as ‘true powerhouses of the British graphic novel scene.’ Among many other prizes and plaudits, their collaboration, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, won the Costa Award for Biography in 2012. In this feature event, Bryan will discuss his Hugo-nominated Grandville series and the anthropomorphic tradition; and Mary will discuss the much-anticipated Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia, due out May 2016.”

This will be followed by a signing.
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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

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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Panel Borders podcast of Graphic Lives talk at AusNZ festival

AusNZ fest logoA couple of weeks ago I was in London for a new festival: the inaugural Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature and the Arts taking place at King’s College. I’d been invited to join a panel on ‘Graphic Lives’ with two other creators, namely New Zealander Sarah Laing and Anglo-Australian Evie Wyld. Chairing the session was Alex Fitch from Panel Borders and he’s just released a podcast of the talk, edited and available here. For technical reasons, he was unable to include Evie’s contributions (too much feedback on her mic) so he’ll be interviewing her again at a later date.

Photo tweeted from the audience by @LouiseArtistGraphic Lives pic@JLouiseArtist

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Handbook of Language, Gender, and Sexuality

Handbook coverAlso out this month is a rather different sort of publication that I’ve contributed to. It’s the second edition of an enormous reference tome for students and scholars of gender, sexuality and language. If it’s anything like the first edition, the contributions will all be highly readable scholarship with global reach and relevance. And it’s a snip at £120!

The book is The Handbook of Language, Gender and Sexuality and it’s edited by Susan Ehrlich, Miriam Meyerhoff and Janet Holmes.

My contribution is Chapter 31 Language, Gender and Popular Culture. It contains sections on Popular culture; Magazines, friendship and community; Broadcast talk, gendered styles and professional identities; Talking with the television; Creative engagement: putting gender on the agenda. The last section focuses on cartoons and comics and draws examples from Posy Simmonds and, briefly, from my own Dotter of her Father’s Eyes. Well, fancy that!

 

On the road with Sally Heathcote

Woman'sHourA flurry of activity for the Sally Heathcote team last week!

On Thursday Bryan and I were in London for a visit to Woman’s Hour in Broadcasting House. Our eight-minute slot with Jenni Murray went out live at about 10.30 am. It’s still available for listeners here. Later that day we joined conference goers at Birkbeck College, University of London. The symposium was in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the excellent but little-known BBC drama on the suffrage movement called Shoulder to Shoulder. Listening to the cast and crew reminisce was delightful and I was thrilled to learn who the producer was: the amazing Verity Lambert of Dr Who fame. I had no idea!
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On Friday afternoon I presented Sally Heathcote Suffragette. After my talk, which concluded the conference, Bryan and Kate joined me for a brisk signing session in Birkbeck’s Peltz Gallery. There’s been a lovely exhibition of Sally artwork there which sadly ends tomorrow (23rd May 2014).

 

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Two more events on Saturday. Signing for one and a half hours solid at Gosh!

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Then on to an evening event at the Cartoon Museum, chaired by Hannah Berry.
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With Director-Curator Anita O'Brien and naughty Hannah

With Director-Curator Anita O’Brien and naughty Hannah

Photographs by Dianne Barry

With Dianne Barry. Thanks for the photos!

With Dianne Barry. Thanks for the photos!

The tour wasn’t over for Bryan and me. On Sunday we made our way to Norwich for an appearance at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, in the lovely setting of Norwich cathedral hostry.

 

 

 

A green man

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4 demons sharing an Uncle Joe's mint ball (I think)

4 demons sharing an Uncle Joe’s mint ball (I think)

 

Before we went for our train home on Monday, Bryan risked permanent neck injury photographing all the ceiling bosses in the cathedral cloister. Here’s a few.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While there, I learned that Norfolk was the birthplace of the heroic Edith Cavell, World War One nurse and humanitarian. Cavell treated soldiers of all nationalities – friend or foe – and took part in an underground network that helped 200 Allied troups to escape from German-occupied Belgium. Shockingly, she was shot by German firing squad on 12th October 1915.

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