Presented by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers for the fifth year, the prize celebrates excellence in radical political non-fiction. Previous winners include Hsiao-Hung Pai’s Scattered Sand: The Story of China’s Rural Migrants.
Described as “utterly brilliant” by fellow comics creator Steve Bell in The Guardian, Red Rosa: A Graphic Biography of Rosa Luxemburg, edited by Paul Buhle, tells the story of the dramatic life and death of German revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg. It was publised by Verso Books, the largest independent, radical publishing house in the English-speaking world, publishing 100 books a year.
A giant of the political left, Rosa Luxemburg is one of the foremost minds in the canon of revolutionary socialist thought. But she was much more than just a thinker. She made herself heard in a world inimical to the voices of strong-willed women. She overcame physical infirmity and the prejudice she faced as a Jew to become an active revolutionary whose philosophy enriched every corner of an incredibly productive and creative life—her many friendships, her sexual intimacies, and her love of science, nature and art.
Always opposed to World War One, when others on the German left were swept up on a tide of nationalism, she was imprisoned and murdered in 1919 fighting for a revolution she knew to be doomed.
A beautifully drawn work of graphic biography, writer and artist Kate Evans opens up her subject’s intellectual world to a new audience, grounding Luxemburg’s ideas in the realities of an inspirational and deeply affecting life.
Kate Evans is a cartoonist, artist, and activist, author of numerous books and zines including Bump: How to Make, Grow and Birth a Baby and Funny Weather: Everything You Didn’t Want to Know about Climate Change but Probably Should Find Out.
The winner will be announced by guest judges Natalie Bennett (the leader of the Green Party) and Nina Power, a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Roehampton University, at the London Radical Bookfair on Saturday 7th May 2015.
Also announced at this ceremony will be the Alliance of Radical Booksellers’ children’s prize, The Little Rebel’s Children’s Book Award. The shortlist for this has yet to be announced.
THE 2016 SHORTLIST
• Artwash: Big Oil and the Arts by Mel Evans (Pluto Press)
• Blacklisted: The secret war between big business and union activists by Phil Chamberlain and Dave Smith (New Internationalist)
Petticoat Heroes: Gender, Culture and Popular Protest in the Rebecca Riots by Rhian E. Jones (University of Wales Press)
Red Rosa: A Graphic Biography of Rosa Luxemburg by Kate Evans (Verso)
The Song of the Shirt: The High Price of Cheap Garments, from Blackburn to Bangladesh by Jeremy Seabrook (Hurst)
Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner? A Story About Women and Economics by Katrine Marcal (Portobello)
• View the Bread and Roses longlist please here
• Little Rebels Childrens’ Book Award: https://littlerebelsaward.wordpress.com
• London Radical Bookfair: https://londonradicalbookfair.wordpress.com
• Verso Books: www.versobooks.com
• Listen to the Verso podcast about Red Rosa with Kate Evans and Sophie Mayer. Their wide-ranging discussion delves into Kate’s decision to use the graphic novel form to open up subject’s intellectual world to a new audience, grounding Luxemburg’s ideas in the realities of a complex and inspirational life. Kate and Sophie also explore her particular pen & ink style and mise-en-page, looking at the pages from Red Rosa reproduced here for you to read along with the discussion.