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It’s 2023, and but, someway, we’re nonetheless stunned when a graphic novel wins one of many huge literary awards. For the individuals on the again: Graphic Novels are Novels. Graphic novels are merely a narrative or idea offered with photos as a part of the medium. The imagery can complement, spotlight, or outright distinction. However they’re nonetheless a type of storytelling. And sure, graphic novels (in addition to graphic nonfiction) can win literary awards — and have executed so. Positive, it attracts somewhat controversy, however we’re recognising nice storytelling with out judging the medium.
Graphic novels are a format, not a style. With regards to literary awards, you may inform immediately if the judging panel is open to contemplating graphic novels by the classes for the awards. If there are numerous genres (e.g., drama or prose), and “graphic novel” is a class, then they’re much less more likely to contemplate graphic novels with any critical respect — I’m taking a look at you, Canada Council.
Graphic novels, comics, and manga are not relegated to the “straightforward studying” cabinets of our lives. Over latest years, our creators have achieved extra recognition and accolades for his or her distinctive and inventive methods of sharing their tales. There are a lot of literary awards arrange particularly for comics (together with graphic novels and manga). The Eisner Awards are essentially the most well-known, adopted carefully by the Kirby Awards and the Ignatz Awards. Every of those recognises how superior graphic storytelling may be, and rightly so. Nonetheless, nothing fairly beats the sensation of seeing a graphic novel take out a Pulitzer or stroll away with a Costa when going through a neighborhood that also doesn’t assume it’s a “actual ebook.” Listed below are essentially the most notable examples of comics which have been acknowledged — shortlisted, longlisted, or awarded — by main literary prizes.
The Massive Identify Literary Prizes
Maus, A Survivor’s Story: My Father Bleeds Historical past by Artwork Spiegelman
The Pulitzer Prize dates again to 1917 and is offered by Columbia College for achievements in printed work inside the US. It is likely one of the most highly-regarded literary prizes on the earth, thought of second solely to the Nobel Prize for Literature. The awards are made in 23 classes overlaying journalism, arts, fiction, and letters — which is actually literature or writing as an artwork type. In 1992, Maus was awarded the Particular Quotation; to be honest, I don’t assume they actually knew what class to incorporate a graphic novel, and this was the very best they might provide you with. Up till Maus, the one illustrated work thought of for Pulitzer Prize awards was for Editorial Cartooning. Maus has since been held as one of the vital influential comics of all time, altering the Western view of comics to incorporate critical artwork kinds.
The Hugo Award
Watchmen written by Alan Moore, artwork by Dave Gibbons, color by John Higgins
Each fan of science fiction or fantasy is aware of in regards to the Hugo Awards. They’re the last word annual literary award for the very best science fiction or fantasy works, awarded by the World Science Fiction Society. They’ve been awarded yearly since 1953, eagerly anticipated and enthusiastically supported. Watchmen was the primary graphic novel to ever win a Hugo Award within the Different Types class, as they have been but to know the best way to categorise graphic novels. It nonetheless took a while, however in 2009 the Hugo Awards launched a brand new class particularly for graphic tales; the primary recipient was Woman Genius, Quantity 8: Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones by Kaja & Phil Foglio, colors by Cheyenne Wright. Watchmen nonetheless stands as the one graphic novel to have received a Hugo Award outdoors of the Graphic Novel class.
Literary Awards within the USA
Nationwide E-book Award
Huda F Cares? by Huda Fahmy
The Nationwide E-book Awards have been flashed round since 1935, with a small disruption between 1942 and 1949. It took 70 years earlier than a graphic novel was even thought of for an award, with American Born Chinese language for Younger Folks’s Literature. It was the primary graphic novel ever shortlisted for a nationwide literary award within the USA. It took one other 10 years for a graphic novel to win, with March: E-book Three as the primary graphic novel to win in the identical class. This yr, one other graphic novel has made it as a finalist: Huda F Cares? by Huda Fahmy. This hilarious sequel to Huda F Are You? is de facto insightful, sharing Fahmy’s private expertise with each her household and her Islamic religion. Keep tuned for the 2023 Winner Announcement on 15 November!
El Deafo by Cece Bell, color by David Lasky
The Kirkus Prize is likely one of the newer literary prizes out there to U.S. authors of fiction, nonfiction, and younger readers’ literature. The Kirkus Assessment began the Prize in 2014, and it’s described as one of the vital profitable prizes in literature. Books reviewed by Kirkus Opinions and obtained a Kirkus Star are robotically chosen for nomination. In contrast to different literary awards, the Kirkus Prize has by no means shied away from graphic novels. In its inaugural yr, El Deafo by Cece Bell was nominated for Younger Reader’s Literature. This lovely, comic story is a game-changer for teenagers rising up listening to impaired and a favorite for certainly one of our household mates. 5 years later, New Child was the primary graphic novel to win a Kirkus Prize in 2019.
American Library Affiliation
American Born Chinese language by Gene Luen Yang, color by Lark Pien
First up: congratulations to the American Library Affiliation, the oldest and largest library affiliation on the earth (147 years outdated with round 50,000 members). Whereas they do have a class for Greatest Graphic Novels, the entire variety of literary prizes and medals is staggering (take a look at the complete checklist right here). Since 2007, they’ve additionally been essentially the most open to contemplating graphic novels for his or her normal awards. #GraphicNovelsAreNovels. I’m very proud to say there are too many to checklist on this already very lengthy article. Nonetheless, notable mentions to New Child, winner of the 2020 Newbery Medal and the 2020 Coretta Scott King E-book Award, and March: E-book Three, winner of the 2017 Michael L. Printz Award, 2017 Robert F. Silbert Informational E-book Medal, and 2017 YALSA Nonfiction Award.
Literary Awards for the UK
Sabrina by Nick Drnaso
The Booker Prize has had a couple of names through the years, but it surely has all the time been a high-profile literary award extending past the UK. It’s now merely referred to as the Booker Prize, awarded to the very best novel written within the English language and printed throughout the UK and Eire. It additionally has fairly the status for being “elitist,” not helped by Booker judges declaring graphic novels to be “mere comedian books” and never worthy of consideration.
Happily, that modified with a brand new Chairperson in 2013, and 5 years later, Drnaso’s Sabrina was the primary graphic novel to be nominated for the Booker Prize. On the time, it created fairly a scandal: how may a ebook with photos probably evaluate to the eloquent prose of latest but structured literature? It was as a result of storytelling, the implementation of (very) easy art work, and the thoughtfulness of the topic. In truth, it was a turning level for graphic novels throughout the UK and the “elite” literary neighborhood.
Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes by Mary M. Talbot and Bryan Talbot
Some critics consider the Costa Awards provoked the Booker Prize to think about Sabrina and graphic novels basically. If that’s true, then I’m very blissful to learn extra Costa nominations. The Costa E-book Awards as soon as recognised English-language books by writers primarily based within the UK and Eire. They have been beforehand referred to as the Whitbread E-book Awards after which modified their title in 2005 with the introduction of a brand new sponsor. Sadly, the Costa Awards aren’t any extra, ending in 2022. A disgrace since they have been thought of to be of equally excessive literary advantage however extra populist than the Booker Prize.
In 2012, the Costa Awards nominated two graphic novels: Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes by Mary M. Talbot and Bryan Talbot, and Days of Bagnold Summer time by Jeff Winterhard. Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes went on to win the Costa Award for finest biography. For a literary award recognized for having a greater sense of what the general public desires to learn, the Costa Awards was one of many few that stored updated with graphic novels.
Worldwide Literary Awards with Graphic Novel Winners
Singapore E-book Awards
The Artwork of Charlie Chan Hock Chye by Sonny Liew
Singapore’s first graphic novel to win a nationwide literary prize induced fairly the controversy. The Artwork of Charlie Chan Hock Chye is an sincere retelling of Singapore’s historical past. So sincere, The Singapore Nationwide Arts Council withdrew a publishing grant for the ebook forward of its launch, stating it “probably undermines the authority or legitimacy of the Authorities.” Mockingly, this assertion helped with advertising the ebook, gaining the eye of many literary awards, together with the Eisners (particularly for graphic novels) and, most notably, the Singapore E-book Awards. The story is instructed by way of the eyes of a comic book ebook artist named Charlie Chan. Laced throughout the historic and political commentary is a celebration of comics as an artwork type and the place of creators in Singapore.
The Walkley Awards (Australia)
Nonetheless Alive: Notes from Australia’s Immigration Detention System by Safdar Ahmed
The Walkley Awards are Australia’s most esteemed awards within the discipline of journalism. They cowl all media together with print, tv, documentary, photographic, radio, and on-line. 2015 was the primary time a webcomic received a Walkley, with Villawood: Notes from an Immigration Detention Centre by Safdar Ahmed. Since cameras are usually not allowed into the Villawood Detention Centre, Ahmed drew his personal photos and integrated the inventive abilities of among the detainees to seize the story and surroundings throughout the Centre. Following this success, Ahmed expanded on the webcomic and printed his ebook, Nonetheless Alive. The highly effective graphic novel was tremendously anticipated, and final yr, it was awarded NSW Premier E-book of the Yr and the Multicultural NSW Award: proof that not solely can graphic novels win literary awards, however webcomics can win journalism awards too.
Governor Basic’s Literary Awards (Canada)
This One Summer time by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
In 2008, the Canadian Governor Basic’s Literary Award created fairly an uproar throughout the graphic novel neighborhood. Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki was nominated as a finalist within the kids’s literary class. Nonetheless, the Canada Council excluded credit score for Jillian because the artist in the identical ebook. Fellow Canadian graphic novelists Seth and Chester Brown wrote an open letter to the Canada Council, pleading for a overview of the nomination and the absence of Jillian’s worthy recognition. The letter was supported by many different creators, together with Artwork Spiegelman (talked about above with Maus). Sadly, the Council refused to overview the nomination, claiming it was “too late,” however would maintain this in consideration for future nominations.
In 2014, each Mariko and Jillian have been nominated for his or her ebook This One Summer time, although they have been nominated throughout separate classes: Jillian received the award for Youngsters’s Literature (Illustration), and Mariko was a finalist in Younger Folks’s Literature (Textual content). Clearly, the Canada Council nonetheless doesn’t perceive precisely what a graphic novel is, contemplating they’ve separate nominations throughout separate classes for the collaborative creators of the identical ebook. Nonetheless, it goes to show graphic novels can win literary awards in any class you throw them into.
Whereas there’ll all the time be literary awards to cater on to graphic novels, there’s something to be mentioned about graphic novels being judged and celebrated for merely being novels. For extra award-winning graphic novels, take a look at fellow E-book Rioter Summer time’s Prime 20 right here. You too can discover The 23 Most Influential Comedian Books of All Time right here, together with a couple of faves from this checklist.