November-December update

In mid November, Bryan and I were in London for an illustrated talk on The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia at Tower Hamlet’s Write Idea Festival. This took place in Whitechapel’s Idea Store (what the more traditionally-minded among us would call a “library”). Kate Evans was on after us, presenting her Red Rosa, and it was good to have the opportunity to catch up with her afterwards. Threads, her current project on refugees, is definitely going to be something to look out for next year. You can see some of it here.

Before our next engagement, which was at a comiccon in Madrid on 3-4 December, I’d an appointment at Sunderland Eye Infirmary for cataract treatment, which I’ve written about already here. Of course, I hadn’t anticipated the complications that meant I was half blind for the whole trip. All fine now, though, and I’m now officially a cyborg! The convention staff looked after us very well and we met some lovely people. Here we are being interviewed for a podcast by La Hora Friki (which I assume means The Freaky Hour):

It was also great to meet up with friends from the Gijón Comics Salon days: Sofía Rodriguez, who now lives in Madrid, and Ramón, who was over for the comic con.

We were back from Spain for a couple of days then off again, this time for a two-day Graphic Brighton Conference. This year’s theme was depictions of war and wartime resistance. Arriving late afternoon, we caught a couple of highly absorbing conference papers, including Dominic Davies'”Drawing Urban Warfare in Leila Abdelrazaq’s Baddawi”  about growing up in the middle of a civil war. Abdelrazaq’s debut graphic novel Baddawi tells the story of her father’s childhood as a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon’s Baddawi Refugee Camp during the civil war in Lebanon. Our turn to speak was for a public event that finished the day’s proceedings. We were in discussion with Alex Fitch about Sally Heathcote Suffragette and The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia.

On day two, Bryan did his “How I create a graphic novel” talk to an appreciative audience. It was great to see other presenters too, including the excellent Hannah Berry and Kate Evans (again. I’m not sure who’s stalking whom…).

Two more academic-type events are lined for next year. In March I’ll be talking about Red Virgin at a history seminar at Sunderland University. In April, we’re both at the University of London for a conference in the Institute of Modern Languages. Details of both to follow.

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