Congratulations today to Mary M Talbot, Bryan Talbot and Kate Charlesworth, with the news that the Spanish edition of Sally Heathcote Suffragette has been granted Best Graphic Novel Award for 2015 by the Madrid Booksellers’ Association (Asociación de Libreros de Madrid).
Sally Heathcote: Sufragista has earned considerable acclaim in Spain since its release and the publishers, Ediciones La Cúpula, who also publish titles such as Rob Davis’ The Motherless Oven (El horno huérfano) and Stephen Collins The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil (La gigantesca barba que era el mal), as well as a huge range of European and North American authors work.
The publisher will be releasing their second edition of Sally Heathcote Sufragista in December, so the award will be a welcome spur for pre-Christmas sales and given that this was a new category in the Association’s awards (along with a new non fiction/ essay category), it’s clear the Spanish think highly of the work.
In the tale, redheaded Sally Heathcote represents thousands of women who planned and launched a struggle for civil rights which were banned to them in the early twentieth century in the United Kingdom, including the right to vote, considered essential to achieve the right to equality.
Mary Talbot is using her official blog to continue discussion of the suffragette movement and what it represented, and has just posted a fascinating commentary on the recently-released film, Suffragette, which offers further insight into how much work went in to researching the story.
“To convey the sheer scale of the women’s suffrage movement in a single, compelling story is no mean feat,” she notes. “Having set about to do just that myself in a graphic novel, I’ve a particular interest in the choices made for the film by writer Abbie Morgan and director Sarah Gavron. The similarities are striking, but not all that surprising. Like the film, Sally Heathcote Suffragette… has a fictional protagonist who moves through history, alongside well documented, very real campaigners for women’s suffrage and wider rights. A lowly figure from the rank and file, she starts as an observer who’s sucked in as events unfold. We see her working conditions and the abuse she has to contend with. We live through her struggles. With a fictional character to explore the historical setting, I could range more freely than if I’d restricted myself to one historical figure and their biography. It made it easier to construct a compelling, focused story too.”
The film is more of a “snapshot” of the suffragette movement than the graphic novel, however, which offers far more background to the whole movement, unrestricted by focusing on the real life characters like the film.
“As I was researching the women’s suffrage movement, what impressed me most was the sheer scale of it, how long it went on, the way it spanned across the country and across social classes,” says Mary. “Like the Occupy and anti-austerity movements now, perhaps. I had no idea it was so vast, with so many different factions. Not just the Pankhursts. Not just the Women’s Social and Political Union. Not just London. I felt it was very important to get these things across.”
• Sally Heathcote: Suffragette is on sale in all good bookshops