Friday, January 8, 2016

Grand Prix Polemic at the Angoulême International Comics Festival

From ProCartoonists.

When the Angoulême International Comics Festival announced 30 nominees for The Grand Prix, its lifetime achievement award, not one woman appeared on the list.

After the announcement of the nominees, European advocacy group BD Égalité called for a boycott of the 2016 event and twelve* of the men nominated for the award have subsequently withdrawn their names in support of the boycott.
The message from BD Égalité:

With the announcement today of the list of nominations for the Grand Prix d’Angoulême 2016—and award for which we comics creators are asked to vote—the ax fell:  
30 names, 0 women. 
We remind you that in 43 years, Florence Cestac has been the only woman ever to receive this distinction. Not even Claire Brétecher, pillar of the 9th Art, has ever received the Grand Prix. She was awarded the “10th Anniversary Prize” in 1983 (a prize which does not prevent its winner from qualifying for the Grand Prix as well). 
We protest this obvious discrimination, this total negation of our representation in a medium practiced by more women every year.
With the Grand Prix of Angoulême, the comics world recognizes one of its own for their entire career. This award is not only honorary, it has an obvious economic impact: the media covers the Grand Prix winner extensively, and the distinction makes a huge impact in the bookstore, to the benefit of booksellers, publishers and…the award-winning author.
We simply ask for a consideration of the reality of our existence and of our value. 
Indeed, what is the message sent to women cartoonists and those in the process of becoming such? We are discouraged from having ambition, from continuing our efforts. How could we take it otherwise? It all comes back to the disastrous glass ceiling; we’re tolerated, but never allowed top billing. Will we require women in comics to perpetually play second fiddle? 
It is no longer tolerable that renowned female creators, known by one and all, are absent from the nominations of this Grand Prix. If comics professionals are expected to select three names from a list decided by the FIBD, this list must be truly representative of comics today. Female comics creators are also significant players in this literary field. 
For all of these reasons, the Women in Comics Collective Against Sexism calls for a boycott of the Grand Prix 2016. 
We will not vote.
In response, the Grand Prix has added two women to its lineup: Marjane Satrapi and Posy Simmonds. However their change of heart has been soured by a rather petty statement pointing out that these two women “received very few votes and came in last.”

You can read more about this embarrassing affair on The Mary Sue website and Jabberworks, Sarah McIntyre’s Live Journal.

*Brian Michael Bendis, Christophe Blain, François Bourgeon, Charles Burns, Pierre Christin, Daniel Clowes, Etienne Davodeau, Milo Manara, Riad Sattouf, Joann Sfar, Bill Sienkiewicz and Chris Ware


From Le Monde:
After adding 6 female artists to the published list of artists selected for the competition and prize this morning, and deleting these a few minutes later; the organizers announced this afternoon that they decided to delete the list of selected artists all together. 
Authors will now be able to vote for any artist they want during the festival. The reason of this decision is officially unknown but some authors, like Chantal Montellier, think that the organisers probably feared that most female artists nominated this morning would refuse to be listed.

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