Dr Mary Talbot is the author of the graphic novel Dotter of her Father’s Eyes (Jonathan Cape 2012), illustrated by her husband, award winning comic artist Bryan Talbot. She is an internationally acclaimed scholar who has published widely on language, gender and power, particularly in relation to media and consumer culture. Dotter was the first work she undertook in the graphic novel format. It went on to win the 2012 Costa Biography Award in January 2013, making it the only British graphic novel to win a major literary award.
Mary’s recent academic work includes a second edition of Language and Gender (Polity 2010), a book that continues to be popular with university lecturers and students worldwide. However, she’s probably still best known for her critical investigation of the “synthetic sisterhood” offered by teen magazines.
She held academic posts in higher education for over twenty-five years, mostly in England, but also in Wales and Denmark. In 2004 she was invited as Visiting Professor to Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China. She has also done extensive consultancy work, including for the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Quality Assurance Agency.
Born in Wigan in 1954, Mary married Bryan and moved to Preston in 1972, where they brought up two sons. She studied English Literature and Linguistics at Preston Polytechnic as a mature student, graduating in 1982 with a first class BA in Combined Studies. She later went on to study at Lancaster University, completing with a PhD on Critical Discourse Analysis in 1990. Employment as Reader in Language and Culture took her to Sunderland in 1997. She still lives in Sunderland, but has been a freelance writer since 2009.
Her second graphic novel, Sally Heathcote, Suffragette, was illustrated by Kate Charlesworth and Bryan. Published by Jonathan Cape in May 2014, it follows the fortunes of a maid-of-all-work as she is swept up the feminist activism of Edwardian England. Her third collaboration with Bryan, The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia, was supported by a small grant from Arts Council England. It was published in May 2016, also by Jonathan Cape. They are currently working on a fourth collaboration, again with support from Arts Council England. Entitled Rain, it deals with contemporary environmental issues. It will be be published by Jonathan Cape, probably in late 2019.