Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Drawing a line? Man Booker judge welcomes graphic novels
Photo: Julian Andrews
The newly announced chairman of the 2013 Man Booker Prize has said he would welcome entries by authors of graphic novels. Robert Macfarlane, an English fellow at Cambridge and a judge in 2004, said that the works of authors such as Dickens and Wilkie Collins were produced with illustrations in the 19th century and if publishers were keen to submit them it would provoke a "great discussion".
His comments come in the week that the Costa novel and biography prize shortlists both included graphic works for the first time: Days of Bagnold Summer by Joff Winterhart and Dotter of her Father's Eyes by Mary M Talbot and Bryan Talbot.
Although Art Spiegelman's Holocaust memorial to his parents, Maus, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992 and works such as Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis and Posy Simmonds's Tamara Drewe have been critically acclaimed, the graphic novel or comic book form has struggled to be taken seriously.
The Booker Prize-winning novelist AS Byatt, for one, said the novel was a very different form. "They're not comparable," she said, speaking to The Times newspaper. "I think graphic novels can be a work of art just as much as a conventional novel, but I do think it's a completely different art to the kind of thing Hilary Mantel does."
Ion Trewin, the man who runs the Booker Prize, said that there was no rule stopping publishers submitting a graphic novel but that none had ever done so. "I would need an awful lot of convincing," he added.