The festival is dedicating a whole weekend to graphic novels with some 40 events. We're particularly excited to see Chris Ware and Joe Sacco! Bryan and Mary Talbot return after their ground-breaking success winning one of the Costa Awards. Other exciting events include: Posy Simmonds; Hannah Berry in conversation with Neil Gaiman; Warren Pleece; Grant Morrison and Stephen Collins. Family events include workshops and talks with The Pheonix, Gary Northfield and Garen Ewing among many others. These are just a few highlights. You can view the full programme on the Stripped website.
The Stripped brochure itself looks amazing and captures the very feel of graphic novels: fresh, exciting and modern. It also includes a fantastic write-up by Paul Gravett about the medium: Why we love comics and graphic novels. Paul will be doing several events as an industry expert and enthusiast of over 30 years. Do not miss them if you get a chance!
Last Thursday we had the pleasure of attending the festival programme launch, and, as ever, the speeches were really passionate about literature. The festival has a reputation for being at the forefront of innovation, and the Stripped strand, as well as the graphic novel events of previous years, are testament to this. We took these pictures after the launch: behind the scenes with Janet Smyth and Nick Barley on a promotional shoot. EIBF is 30 this year!
Of course, the buzz about graphic novels has come and gone over the years. The eighties had the big three (Art Spiegleman's Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen and Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns) and "comics grow up" headlines, but this was followed by a real slump in the nineties, when comics were seen as somewhat less fashionable. However, since then, graphic novels have gradually been building up a new wave of interest, and there are now tonnes of exciting books out there proving that graphic novels are a medium not to be ignored. Chris Ware winning The Guardian First Book Award, Bryan and Mary Talbot winning a Costa Award, and now this Stripped event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, are the result of what has been slowly brewing up for years.
We hope that the festival will continue to support comics for years to come.