Last weekend I went to the Southbank Centre, to an event part of the London Literature Festival, (21st May–8th Sep 2013). It was a talk with three prominent British graphic novelists, one of which I’d seen recently at my visit to Laydeez Do Comics.
First to talk was Mary Talbot, who last year won the Costa Biography Award. It was for her (and husband, Bryan Talbot’s) collaborative graphic novel, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, a tale of two daughters: Lucia, the daughter of James Joyce, and Mary herself. I won’t claim to have read Ulysses, but I love the idea of basing a graphic novel around such an obscure non-fictional character. I suppose it was less obscure for Mary, as her father was himself a Joycean scholar. Plus, I love the title. ‘Dotter’, which is pretty much an identical aural reproduction of how my (Irish) mum says ‘daughter’, and that it links to a line in another of Joyce’s masterpieces, Finnegans Wake.
The images are fantastic too of course – the contrast between the two tales, coming from the sepia and bluer colour palettes.
A final thing that Talbot caught my attention with, is her work in progress: a graphic novel about a Suffragette. It is historically accurate so could potentially be used as a teaching aid – this is such a fantastic idea. As much as I enjoyed history (mostly) I know it always helped to bring the topic to life, visually in particular. My favourite history teacher would draw cartoons for us all the time, and encourage us to illustrate our work, and it’s been proven enough times that visual aids greatly help memory. Can’t wait to see this one on the shelves.
Next up was Glyn Dillon, which I have already raved about here, but this talk only served to strengthen my love for The Nao of Brown even more. Just when I thought a copy of the book couldn’t be improved, my friend who bought one got a full painting of Nao in her copy, then and there by the author extraordinairre himself. #jealous
Finally, Stephen Collins presented his GIANT BEARD THAT WAS EVIL!! Not as scary as that sounds, but absolutely stunning as a book. The most mind-blowing thing is his drawing skills – the whole thing was done in pencil. I can only cry at the thought of attempting that, especially when you see pages like this:
All authors ended with some of their own ‘must read’ suggestions, and now my list is a mile long. I’ve only quite recently been discovering my love for graphic novels, but I think this is the start of a happy (though expensive) relationship.