There have always been people in comics who've been part of the Society of Authors;
Patrice Aggs and Ros Asquith, just to name two, have been members for ages. But there's a real disconnect between British writers and British comic creators that's just begging to be bridged so more creativity can flourish. A few months ago, I went to a SoA event about poetry, where people were saying how hard it is to get poetry published and to get young people reading it, and I suggested they approach manga artists about collaboration, since I thought the pace of certain poems and manga layouts might complement each other. The poets were suddenly electrified and immediately wanted to know more about manga and the comics scene, and how they might be able to connect. So since I'd just joined the CWIG committee, the children's book branch of the SoA, I said I'd organise a comics event, hopefully the first of many comics events hosted by the SoA. And I asked Paul Gravett, head of Comica Festival and generally the person who knows most about comics, if he'd help out, so we're making it a joint SoA and Comica evening.
I hope you can come along! Here are the details:
Thinking Outside the Box: new publishing opportunities in comics and graphic novels aimed at children and young adults
London: Tuesday 13 September 2011: Doors open 6.15 for 6.30 start, tickets £10
Paul Gravett is a London-based freelance journalist, curator, lecturer, writer and broadcaster, who has worked in comics publishing and promotion since 1981. Be sure to keep an eye on all the latest Comica Festival events.
Sarah McIntyre is a member of the Society of Authors and writes and illustrates comics and children's books, including Vern and Lettuce, Morris the Mankiest Monster, You Can't Eat a Princess! and When Titus Took the Train. She's currently launching You Can't Scare a Princess! and blogs almost every day.
Lizzie Spratt is a commissioning editor of children’s books and graphic novels at Walker Books. She left Bloomsbury in 2008 to help Walker develop a list of graphic novels and has gone on to publish a range of titles for all ages, including adaptations of Anthony Horowitz’s multi-selling Alex Rider spy novels, Joann Sfar’s version of The Little Prince translated by Sarah Ardizzone, stories from British cartoonist Andi Watson, as well as noir fantasy Salem Brownstone: All Along the Watchtowers by John Harris Dunning and Nikhil Singh, which was nominated for the 2011 Kate Greenaway Medal.
Ben Sharpe is commissioning editor of The Phoenix Comic, a weekly 32-page, full colour comic magazine, set to rise early in 2012, with offices based in Oxford. He led The DFC weeky comic magazine as commissioning editor until recession and the parent company pulled the plug, but the vision has never died, and support by an anonymous investor means the new-and-improved project has a independent solid financial backing for at least three years. He's searching for excellent comics writers and artist to join his already brilliant team of creators.
Patrice Aggs is a Society of Authors member and has seen more in the world of comics than almost anyone. She's illustrated more than 50 children's books and worked together with remarkable writers such as Philip Pullman (drawing the comic sections of Count Karlstein) and recently with her son, John, illustrating his script for The Boss comic in The DFC. Originally from Detroit, she's able to tap into her love of American comics to inspire her own work in Britain.
John Aggs burst onto the comics scene in 2007 when he won the Grand Prize in the TokyoPop Rising Stars of Manga awards. He illustrated The DFC's flagship comic strip, John Blake, as well as writing and drawing Robot Girl and writing The Boss for his mother, Patrice Aggs, to illustrate. His clean, vibrant style spans the gaps between manga and traditional British comics.
Andi Watson is a titan in UK comics, currently working on his graphic novel Gum Girl for Walker Books and achieving wide recognition with his Glister graphic novels aimed at girls. Nominated for the prestigious Eisner Award, he has published several graphic novels with Oni Press and Slave Labor Graphics and with more mainstream American comics publishers including DC, Marvel, Dark Horse Comics and Image Comics.
Sally Kindberg collaborates with writer Tracey Turner, drawing a series of four comic strip books for Bloomsbury, including The Comic Strip History of the World and, launching in September, The Comic Strip Big Fat Book of Knowledge. She illustrates children's books, writes fiction and runs comic workshops for children.
If you would like to reserve a place please email Rachel O'Malley email@example.com and then either telephone 020 7373 6642 to pay by card or send a cheque to 84 Drayton Gardens, London SW10 9SB, made payable to 'The Society of Authors'.
The booking deadline is Friday, 9 September. Please write the event ID 363 on the reverse of the cheque. Your place will be confirmed in writing once payment has been received.
Nearest underground stations: South Kensington and Gloucester Rd. The £8 Congestion Charge applies until 6pm (www.cclondon.com). Parking meters are hard to find and expensive.
Find the Society of Authors on Twitter: Soc_of_Authors