First Graphic Novel Award open for submissions

First Graphic Novel Award

The London-based Cartoon Museum and top independent publisher SelfMadeHero have announced the launch of the 2023 First Graphic Novel Award for debut UK authors who have not previously been published.

The Award asks authors to submit 15 – 30 pages of a graphic novel in progress, fiction or non-fiction. A selected author will be given support to complete the work for publication by SelfMadeHero, and awarded a prize of £500 sponsored by the bks Agency.

The closing date for submissions is 14th September 2023.

The Award is open to all UK comics creators, cartoonists, and artists and writers working as a team, who do not have an agent and have not had a full-length graphic work commercially published. You can be age 18 or 100, or anything in between. You must be resident in the UK.

Entries may be from a single creator, or an artist/writer team, or may be a collaboration between comics artists, writers, and those with a story to tell who may be unable to do so themselves.

The organisers are looking for a wide range of creators from different regions within the UK, and with different backgrounds. They want to reflect our society, inclusive of neurodivergent and disabled people, and those with the full rainbow of social, gender and ethnic identities.

If you have any access needs in making an application, please get in touch with us at

The project is supported by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (LICAF), Thought Bubble Festival and The bks Agency.

The judges include graphic novel editor Ayoola Solarin, artist Mark Wallinger, Cartoon Museum Learning & Outreach Officer Steve Marchant, broadcast journalist Alex Fitch, graphic novelist Sabba Khan, author of the award-winning The Roles We Play (shortlisted, 2018), and Emma Hayley, Director, SelfMadeHero. James Spackman at The bks Agency will review the longlisted creators’ work.

The award was founded by Myriad Editions in 2012 as the Myriad First Graphic Novel Competition. As well as publishing books by the four finalists, Myriad has also published six other shortlisted authors.

Corinne Pearlman, project leader and judge, ever at the forefront of promoting new comics talent in the UK for several years, has steered the award from its outset as Myriad’s former Creative Director. She has now established the award on an independent platform with seed money from the Authors’ Collecting and Licensing Society (ALCS).

Corinne Pearlman from Myriad Editions and Lizzie Kaye from Unbound introduce a New Talent Showcase at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2018
Corinne Pearlman from Myriad Editions and Lizzie Kaye from Unbound, introducing a New Talent Showcase at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2018

“I’m delighted to be taking forward the award with the support of new partners The Cartoon Museum, SelfMadeHero and ALCS,” she says.

“Myriad’s celebrated list of graphic novels has seen great benefits from the scheme. Now we can share that experience with others. This is the first time we have been able to offer the winner a prize of £500, thanks to sponsors the bks Agency.”

Emma Hayley

“The UK needs more of this,” says Emma Hayley, Director, SelfMadeHero. “As the future publisher of the winning entry, SelfMadeHero furthers its commitment to fostering and inspiring new talent. I am very excited that we are a part of this.”

Joe Sullivan - Cartoon Museum Director
Joe Sullivan

Joe Sullivan, Director, Cartoon Museum, added: “There is a long and fantastic history of finding the very best new talent through the First Graphic Novel competition.

“The Museum is committed to championing emerging artists, and look forward to discovering our new favourite graphic novels later this year.”

• For more information and video link with details of entry, visit

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