Bobby Joseph announced as new Comics Laureate at Lakes International Comic Art Festival

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival, which is taking place in the Lake District town of Bowness-on-Windermere this weekend, has announced comic creator Bobby Joseph as the new Comics Laureate.

Bobby Joseph. Photo: John Freeman
Bobby Joseph. Photo: John Freeman

Bobby follows in the footsteps of comic creators Dave Gibbons, Charlie Adlard and Hannah Berry, and illustrator and bookseller Stephen L. Holland in the role promoting the comics form, also known as “The Ninth Art”.

The Comics Laureate, a role initiated by librarian and, currently, a director of the School Library Association, Paul Register, then developed by the Arts Council England-funded LICAF arts organisation, is an ambassadorial and educational role, that aims to raise awareness of the impact comics can have in terms of increasing literacy and creativity.

The appointment is made biennially to a distinguished comics creator, writer or artist in recognition of their outstanding achievement in the genre.

During his extended tenure as Comics Laureate, Stephen L. Holland created numerous reading recommendation lists for newcomers to graphic novels, and educators, available on the Festival’s web site. As with previous Laureates, he also made numerous unpaid appearances across the country to promote comics and comic creators.

Stephen L. Holland and Bobby Joseph. Photo: Dean Simons

Working closely with the Lakes International Comics Art Festival and its national and international partners, the Comics Laureate champions the role of comics in improving literacy through a programme of educational visits, workshop events, guest appearances and conferences. A key focus remains working to increase the acceptance of comics as a creative art form in schools, libraries and throughout the education system.

Bobby Joseph, Comic Creator and Comics Laureate 2023
Scotland Yardie by Bobby Joseph and Joseph Samuels

Bobby Joseph is an acclaimed comic creator whose work has often challenged and inspired its readers. His early work includes the creation of Skank magazine, where his best-known strip, “Scotland Yardie”, first featured, and was later published by Knockabout Press.

Bobby has written for The Guardian newspaper, Dazed and Confused and His comic work was a prominent feature at the Anarchy in the UK comic exhibition at the British Library in 2015 and was seen by over 60,000 visitors.

He is also a vocal advocate for diversity and BAME representation in comic books and is credited on the BBC website as instrumental in featuring some of the “first comics by black creators featuring black characters.”

Scotland Yardie, published by Knockabout Comics in 2017, was the first BAME graphic novel to be studied as a module on an English Literature MA course at King’s College, London.

“I am proud and truly humbled to be the new Comics Laureate,” Bobby commented. I’m looking forward to working with the Festival organisation, and seeing what can be achieved. Hopefully, it will be a positive, lasting change for the UK comics scene.”

Julie Tait, Director, The Lakes International Comic Art Festival said: “We’re delighted Bobby is taking on the role of Comics Laureate.

“The Comics Laureate has been and continues to be a vital role for the comics art form. It isn’t just a title. It’s part and parcel of our wider objectives as a Festival, to reach out to new audiences and raise the profile and the understanding of the importance of comics for education, inspiration and literacy.

“On behalf of the Festival team, I’d also like to thank Stephen L. Holland for his sterling work building on the endeavours of past Laureates, working through the difficult circumstances of the pandemic to help further the role, and awareness of the comics medium.

“I can’t wait to see where Bobby will take it next!”

For more on the role of the Comics Laureate visit


• Twitter: @Malcolm_Vex | @skankmagazine
• Instagram: @bobbyjosephcomics

More Festival News….

Other Announcements made this Festival weekend include:

Sophie Castille Awards for Comics in Translation
Photo: Dean Simons
Michele Hutchison. Photo: Dean Simons

The inaugural Sophie Castille Awards for Comics in Translation, for the best translation of graphic novels into a variety of languages around the world, was presented to Michele Hutchison for her wonderful translation of Barbara Stok’s The Philosopher, The Dog and the Wedding.

For more information on these awards, in memory of Sophie Castille, visit

• The inaugural award in memory of the late Aileen McEvoy, who played an integral part in Festival’s organisation for several years as its Associate Director and who passionately championed comics in various arts roles working with many other organisations, was made to Jonathan Edwards and Louise Evans (aka Feltmistress).

Local MP Tim Farron, a longtime supporter of the Festival, with Graham Dury and Simon Thorp of VIZ
VIZ 329

Graham Dury and Simon Thorp of VIZ have been awarded the Sergio Aragonés International Award for Excellence in Comic Art for 2023.

Previous winners are Dave McKean (2017), Hunt Emerson (2018), Charlie Adlard (2019), Boulet (2021) and Posy Simmonds (2022).

The Sergio Aragonés International Award for Excellence in Comic Art, the winner chosen by veteran MAD magazine cartoonist Sergio Aragonés, was established in 2017 by The National Cartoonists Society, the world’s largest and most prestigious organisation of professional cartoonists, in partnership with the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, and is presented annually to an exceptional comic artist, animator, or cartoonist.

Categories: British Comics, Comics, Creating Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Events

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