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!
Birkbeck 1
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).


Birkbeck 6Birkbeck 5Birkbeck 4


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

Gosh 20 Gosh 13Gosh 7Gosh 24Gosh 8Gosh 15

Then on to an evening event at the Cartoon Museum, chaired by Hannah Berry.
Cartoon museum 2

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

A green man

The gates of hell

The gates of hell

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.



Sally Heathcote sallies forth

Digital SpywelcomelogoIt’s been a delightful, busy couple of days. Down to London last Thursday for the opening event of Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK, a major new exhibition at the British Library curated by Paul Gravett and John Harris Dunning. Before it began, Kate, Bryan and myself did an interview for Digital Spy, though it was tricky finding a reasonably quiet spot to record, away from the cavernous foyer. The place was filling up fast. I’ll have to go back for a proper look at the exhibition itself. There were so many people that it was hard to get close enough.BL Comics Unmasked launch

BL projectionsigning Sally in FPIn the morning, we called in at Forbidden Planet. Three people signing copies can get a bit complicated, so we had a bit of a production line going on.

Then on to Foyles for more of the same, with some Dotter copies for good measure.


Sally’s public appearance was the following evening. The first British Library event linked to the exhibition, marvellously, was the premiere of a biographical film on Bryan combined with the launch of Sally Heathcote, Suffragette. The Graphic Novel Man: the Comics of Bryan Talbot is a lovely tribute created by Digital Story Engine, available to preorder here.  Its first screening, I’m pleased to say, had a rapt BL talk audience. Afterwards I shared the stage with Bryan and Kate for an interview with Rachel Cooke. A lengthy book signing followed – and they sold all their copies of Sally! They had a range of Bryan’s books available and he started to get confused at one point. Someone went away with a James Joyce sketch in Sally and a Sally sketch in Dotter. I do hope he was pleased!BL talk 3BL talk 2

Then on top of all that, I got to read a flotilla of glowing reviews on Sunday!

The Independent

The Observer

The Sunday Express
But Kate’s Ma is furious that her daughter’s only mentioned in its headline (and justifiably so!)

The Skinny

DSC04992Foyles signingPhotographs by Dianne Barry.


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!

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.