With just over two weeks to go to until this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival in October (13th – 15th). The downthetubes “Kendal Calling” interviews continue with a chat with award-winning comics writer and Festival patron Mary M. Talbot…
Mary M. Talbot is an internationally acclaimed scholar of gender, language and power who now writes graphic novels. Her first graphic novel, Dotter of her Father’s Eyes (with her husband, Bryan Talbot), won the Costa Biography Award in 2013. Her second, Sally Heathcote, Suffragette (with Kate Charlesworth and Bryan Talbot), came out in May 2014.
A Patron of LICAF, Mary’s most recent published work is The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia, co-created with Bryan, published by Jonathan Cape. She is currently working on RAIN, another joint project with Bryan.
downthetubes: What are you working on, comics-wise, right now, and when will it be published?
Mary Talbot: Earlier this year I completed a script for another graphic novel collaboration with Bryan, called Rain, which deals with environmental issues, such as flooding, and their impact. And I’ve just secured an Arts Council grant for it, which is brilliant. We’re about to do some location shots in Yorkshire and Bryan will start working on it shortly after that.
The story follows ordinary people’s everyday experiences, while engaging with pollution, climate change, moorland mismanagement and the disruption, misery and loss that they bring. The characters are fictitious; what’s happening around them is, unfortunately, all too real.
It’ll be published by Jonathan Cape, probably in late 2019.
downthetubes: Which comic project you’ve worked on are you most proud of and where can people see it or buy it?
Mary: Dotter of her Father’s Eyes, Sally Heathcote Suffragette and The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia. I’m equally proud of the three previous book-length collaborations I’ve worked on and really couldn’t choose between them!
downthetubes: What most distracts you from getting your work done?
Mary: When the weather’s fine, the garden! Come to think of it, the ongoing political insanities at home and abroad have been major distractions for me over the past couple of years. It was hard to concentrate on anything after the outcome of the EU referendum. So actually, the garden has been a blessed relief, whatever the weather!
downthetubes: What do you think of the Lake District?
Mary: I’ve known and loved the Lake District all my life. It’s always a pleasure to visit (I’d live there if I could afford it).
downthetubes: How do Festivals and other comics events help creators most, do you think?
Mary: The networking and socialising with fellow creators are very important in a profession that’s so solitary most of the time. Of course, meeting audiences is valuable too.
downthetubes: What’s your favourite comic right now and where can people get it?
Mary: Paula Knight’s labour of love The Facts of Life is brilliant. It deals with a subject that’s intensely personal while having universal relevance: child-bearing. And the artwork’s beautiful.
downthetubes: Mary, thanks you very much for your time. Looking forward to catching up with you in the Lakes!
Book Your Festival Tickets Now!
• Book your tickets for this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival here. This year’s events programme includes live draws, masterclasses, interactive talks and a chance to get up close to the best comic creators in the world!