A Vision of Utopia at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival

Tickets are now on sale for LICAF 2015, so if you’re planning to attend it’s time to start browsing the website. I’ll be presenting my next graphic novel, due out next year. I’ve been keeping quiet about it up to now, but Bryan is busily working on it, in fact he’s working on page 94 right now…

But what is it about, you ask? Well, it’s a biography of a powerful, larger-than-life female historical figure, it’ll have 118 pages of artwork plus endnotes. As Bryan’s said, “She’s such an astounding character, we don’t want anyone else quickly researching on her and knocking out a graphic novel before ours!”

Come and find out about it in Kendalpage 64 top:

Saturday 17th October 10-11am
A Vision of Utopia – Mary Talbot
Chaired by Dr Mel
Comic Clock Tower
Tickets £8

Bryan will also be making these two appearances:

arkwright-integral-coverSaturday 17th 1-3pm
How I make a Graphic Novel (Workshop) – Bryan Talbot
Brewery Arts Centre: Art Room 2
Tickets £15

Sunday 18th 12-1pm
Arkwright: Where British Graphic Novels Began – Bryan Talbot
Chaired by Peter Kessler
Brewery Arts Centre: Screen Two
Tickets £8

page 24 top

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.

DurhamTownHall

 

DurhamTownHall2DurhamTownHallLauraBates

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.

KnittedLB

 

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!

IMG_0730

 

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.

outsideCartmelFell

 

 

 

 

 

 

insideCartmelFell

 

 

 

 

 

 

Town 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.

ChesterTownHall

 

 

 

 

 

insideChesterTownHall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

 

Another month of festivals coming up…

The festival season is upon us once more. It’s starting with the Small Wonder Festival in Charleston this coming weekend:

smallwonder-festival-header14Sunday 28th September
4pm Suffragette. An illustrated talk by Mary and Bryan Talbot
Chaired by Corinne Pearlman
Small Wonder Festival
Charleston, East Sussex BN8 6LL. Tickets available here

It’s near Brighton, so we’re looking forward to catching up with Hannah Berry while we’re in her neighbourhood. Sure to be fun!

Then in October we’re doing a string of events, some of them with Kate Charlesworth:

Durham Book Festival logoSaturday 11th October
1.30pm Bryan and Mary Talbot and Kate Charlesworth: Sally Heathcote, Suffragette
Chaired by David Herman
Palace Green Library
Durham Book Festival
Tickets available here

Also on that day, I’ll be appearing in conversation with Laura Bates:

10.30am Laura Bates: Everyday Sexism
Chaired by Mary Talbot
Durham Town Hall. Tickets here

Ilkley Lit Fest logoAfter that, Bryan and I will wend our way over to Ilkley:

Sunday 12th October 2014
1.45pm Bryan Talbot workshop: How I create a graphic novel
Manor House Museum: Education Room

4.30pm Bryan and Mary Talbot discuss their stunning new graphic novel, Sally Heathcote, Suffragette.
Ilkley Playhouse – Wildman. Ilkley Literary Festival. Tickets here

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 17.44.04Then, guess what? Kendal Comic Art Fest is back!

17-19th October 2014
2nd Lakes International Comic Art Festival
Kendal
Book all events here

These vibrant limited edition prints are available for pre-order at the Lakes Fest now

These vibrant limited edition prints are available for pre-order at the Lakes Fest now

Saturday 18 October, 18.30 – 19.30, Brewery Arts Centre Warehouse Café
Meet the Creators: Audrey Niffenegger (hosted by Mary Talbot)

Sunday 19 October, 14.30 – 15.30, Brewery Arts Centre 1
Brainstorm: The Art of Bryan Talbot (hosted by Mel Gibson)
Kate and I will join in towards the end of this discussion.

Thursday 23rd October 2014
7.30pm Mary and Bryan Talbot and Kate Charlesworth
Chester Literature Festival
Chester Town Hall
Chaired by Mark Lawson
Book here

Finally, we’ll be rounding off the month with a trip to Dundee. Applications now closed for this one, though:

25th October 2014
Comics Lab 2014
Dundee

Phew.mary-talbot.jpg Sally Page 53 bottom

Arts Council England are offering me a grant!

Arts Council England logoI feel a victory dance coming on! I’ll be one more in that group of fortunate graphic-novel people to be awarded a Grant for the Arts, joining Katie Green, whose Lighter Than My Shadow came out last year, and Hannah Berry and Paula Knight, who have funding for work in progress. There may be others that I can’t recall at the moment.

It’s just four weeks since I put in my application, so I’m very impressed by their speediness (and enlightenment!) I’m most grateful to Paula and to David GrantfortheArtsGaffney from the Arts Council for their invaluable advice. It wouldn’t even have occurred to me to apply if it hadn’t been for an encouraging talk about funding opportunities at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival last October. So I appreciate that too.

Bryan will be working with me on the project and, by a lovely coincidence, the offer arrived yesterday, on the same day he sent off the final files of Grandville: Noël. So it’s a double celebration! How cool is that?

Watch this space!

Helen Barnrat on Tumblr: a tribute to The Tale of One Bad Rat

Badrat awakesA student in Ontario has just created a Tumblr page about Helen Barnrat. That’s the character from Bryan’s Tale of One Bad Rat who features in the Beatrix Potter pastiche at the end. The page is available to view here. Laura Stortz, the Canadian student, says she was ‘deeply moved’ by Bad Rat and ‘decided to choose and review the graphic novel as a part of my course’.

IBadRat atHillTopt’s now twenty years since the book first came out, so it’s wonderful that it still retains its appeal and people continue to discover it. A new generation of people, indeed. Crikey!

It’s my favourite graphic novel of all time (at least, it was until Alice in Sunderland came along – now I’m conflicted). Of course, being partly set in the Lake District, it featured prominently in Bryan’s Brainstorm! exhibition in Kendal that formed part of the inaugural Lakes International Comic Art Festival last year. Remember this poster?

ExhibitionPoster

 

And here are some gratuitous shots of my February front garden. An abundance of snowdrops and hellebore:

snowdrops

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.
Page36

The first Lakes Comic Art Festival ran “like a well oiled machine”. Reviews

“One day all comic book shows will be like this”.
Comics Clock TowerHere are some post-festival articles welling with enthusiasm for the weekend, though Dan Smith, writing for Huffington Post, laments the lack of a female “underground legend”. He evidently wasn’t in the packed library audience for the talk by Trina Robbins.

North-West Evening Mail

Garry Gray at Bleeding Cool

Dan Smith at Huffington Post

Jeremy Briggs at downthetubes.net

Jean-Paul Malone at The Slow Bullet (Added on 27th October)

Laura Sneddon at The Beat (Added on 29th October)

Will Trina write about it in her blog when she’s back home in San Francisco? I hope so!

And the next festival is in preparation! The splendid Julie Tait and her heroic team have already started organising, with the dates set for 17th – 19th October 2014.

Brewery Arts CentreKendal batman
Photographs courtesy of Kate Charlesworth and Dianne Barry.

A weekend at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival

Lakes fest 1What an amazing weekend it was over in Kendal! Not even the rain could dampen our spirits. What were the high points for me? It’s hard to say. It was wonderful to catch up with Trina Robbins and Steve Leialoha. It was a great pleasure to spend time with Joe Sacco and Amalie. Great getting to know José Muñoz and Fiorella, who we even got to take home with us afterwards! There were so many stimulating talks and presentations – I just wish I could have attended more of them, but there were so many lovely people to talk to as well.

Lakes fest 2I particularly enjoyed doing the Sally Heathcote, Suffragette presentation with Bryan and Kate. The audience in the library did too, I think! It’s the first time we’ve talked about Sally Lakes fest 3publicly, as a creative team.

Overall, just hanging out with so many comics creators and enthusiasts for a weekend was a delight. Thanks to the people of Kendal! Hurrah for the organisers of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival and all its sponsors!

DSC00108Here’s some pre-festival coverage in The Guardian. Laura Sneddon gives women writers and artists more-than-equal billing, which is, to say the least, unusual! The BBC news website for England also gave the festival some great coverage on the day it began.

Photographs by courtesy of Kate Charlesworth and Dianne Barry.

Dan Franklin and Posy Simmonds seemed to enjoy the desserts

Dan Franklin and Posy Simmonds seemed to enjoy the desserts

Kate Charlesworth finally met Dan Franklin, our publisher for Sally Heathcote, Suffragette

Kate Charlesworth finally met Dan Franklin, our publisher for Sally Heathcote, Suffragette

DSC00171