The Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing has launched a new initiative for the Contemporary Women’s Writing in French seminar in 2017-18 – a series of events on major women authors of French-language graphic novels.
The first features Dominique Goblet, a Belgian graphic novelist, who will speak in London about her oeuvre, including the recent translation of her bande dessinée Faire semblant, c’est mentir, first published in 2007, into English by cartoonist Sophie Yanow, author of War of Streets and Houses.
Born in 1967 and based in Brussels, Goblet’s work can be defined as experimental, varied in style, poetic and often biographical. Well known for her wide range of artistic mediums and eclectic style of visual storytelling, she was an early contributor to the comics publisher Freon’s anthology Frigorevue.
An artist, comics author, and professor of comics and illustration, Goblet is also certified as an electrician, plumber, and welder who was involved from the start in the creation of the experimental comics publisher Fremok, she published several books with them: Portraits craches (in 1997), Souvenir d’une journee parfaite (2002), and Les hommes-loups (2010).
At the same time she worked with the Parisian publishing house L’Association and published two books with them: Pretending Is Lying (2007) and Chronographie (2010), a book of double portraits of her and her daughter made once a week for ten years. Both received a number of nominations and prizes, including the EESI award at the Angouleme festival and the Prix Topffer.
Most recently, she has published Plus si entente (Actes Sud BD/Fremok), a collaboration with the Berlin artist Kai Pfeiffer.
Pretending is Lying, the first book to appear in English by Goblet, is a memoir unlike any other. In a series of dazzling fragments-skipping through time, and from raw, slashing colour to delicate black and white, Goblet examines the most important relationships in her life: with her partner, Guy Marc; with her daughter, Nikita; and with her parents.
The result is an unnerving comedy of paternal dysfunction, an achingly ambivalent love story (with asides on Thomas Pynchon and the Beach Boys), and a searing account of childhood trauma-a dizzying, unforgettable view of a life in progress and a tour de force of the art of comics.
Published by New York Review Comics earlier this year, Pretending is Lying met with plenty of well-deserved praise, with author Sheila Heti at the New York Times opining the graphic novel had a “wonderful sense of humour“. Over at Paste, Hilary Brown suggests that, like the publisher’s reissue of titles such as Mark Beyer’s Agony, a compilation of Glen Baxter’s weird single-panel surrealistic gags and a giant volume of Norwegian cartoonist Hariton Pushwagner’s Soft City, New York Review Comics “clearly likes mining hidden gems, polishing them and showing them off proudly to a public that is (probably) mystified by their contents. Pretending Is Lyingfalls right inside those lines.”
The event, conducted in English, will include discussion with the artist regarding her publications and her experience of scripting and sketching women in the bande dessinée.
• Sketching/Scripting Women: Dominique Goblet on her Graphic Novels | Room G.35, Senate House, 5pm-8pm, Friday 27th October 2017 Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing, Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London | This seminar is free to attend. Register here to reserve your place