Join author Paul Gravett this coming Saturday afternoon for a special discussion – Biographics: Life Stories in Panels – on the process and creation of graphic biographies with writer Jan Novák and illustrator and artist Lionel Richerand.
From Tintin to Asterix, the love of comics unites both sides of the Channel. The genre has also become a prized method to convey the lives of great historical figures from Sigmund Freud to Emil Zatopek.
Lionel Richerand, artist on Frink and Freud, published in English this month by SelfMadeHero, and Jan Novák, writer of Zátopek, join Paul Gravett to examine what makes “biographics” so popular and what more can they offer in the exploration of the lives of history’s greats.
This free online webinar is part of the 2021 Beyond Words Festival, organised by the Institut français du Royaume-Uni and supported by the Czech Centre London.
Both Frink and Freud, written by Pierre Péju and translated into English by Edward Gauvin, with art by Lionel Richerand, and Zátopek, written by Jan Novák with art by Jaromír 99, are available in English from SelfMadeHero.
In 1909, while on a fundraising lecture tour in America, Sigmund Freud met Horace Frink, an early disciple of his theories of psychoanalysis, whose traumatic childhood and complicated personal life came to cast a dark shadow over Freud’s professional career.
Inspired by this little-known and tragic true story, in Frink and Freud, out 27th May, artist Lionel Richerand and philosopher Pierre Péju have woven a spellbinding and thought-provoking fable of two divorces, three deaths, and a ménage à quatre.
French artist and animator Lionel Richerand studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, specializing in illustration and directing animated films. In 2007, he published Petit conte léguminesque, and later directed The Fear of the Wolf.
Emil Zátopek is arguably the greatest Olympic champion of all time. The Czech runner’s three gold medals at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Olympics (5,000m, 10,000m and marathon) have never been matched. His success as a runner made him a national hero, but as a public figure, outspoken and unafraid to take a stand, he was equally impressive. Even before the Helsinki Games, Zátopek had scored a remarkable victory, successfully pressuring the Communist regime to allow his colleague Stanislav Jungwirth, a political outcast, to compete.
In Zátopek, Jan Novák and Jaromír 99 trace the extraordinary life and times of the great Olympian, from his first meeting with Dana, the love of his life, to the victories that would ensure his lasting legacy.
Jan Novák is a leading Czech writer and documentary maker. In the years 1970‑2008, he lived in Chicago, where he attended the University of Chicago and where his books The Willys Dream Kit (1985) and Commies, Crooks, Gypsies, Spooks & Poets (1995) won the Carl Sandburg Prize for Chicago’s book of the year. He also co-authored The Turnaround (1994), Miloš Forman’s autobiography. Novák is now resident once more in the Czech Republic. His novel So Far, So Good was the Magnesia Litera Awards Book of the Year 2005, and in 2020 he published a controversial literary biography, entitled Kundera, His Czech Life and Times. Zátopek is his debut work in the field of graphic novels.