Readersforum's Blog

November 24, 2012

The graphic novel’s spectacular rise: from kids’ comics to the Costa prize

A scene from the film adaption of Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Cartoonists Joff Winterhart and Mary Talbot gain accolades that once would have seemed like a pipe dream.

By Becky Barnicoat

Siting alone in his box room, Pritt-Sticking speech bubbles on to panels drawn in disposable fountain pen, Joff Winterhart did not dream of literary fame and glory. The 38-year-old community artist from Bristol was out of work and filling his time with a project that might turn into an animation, might turn into a book, definitely wouldn’t turn into a literary classic. “I kept thinking about what bad reviews it would get if it was ever published,” he said. “I thought people would say it was extremely amateurish.”

In the end, it turned into a 75-page comic book, Days of the Bagnold Summer, about a mother and her teenage son, and this week it was one of two graphic novels nominated for a Costa book award alongside Mary Talbot’s biography of James Joyce’s daughter, Dotter of her Father’s Eyes. They are the first graphic novels nominated for the Costa. Against all odds, Winterhart had made literary history.

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