Lakes International Comic Art Festival and VIP Brands Ltd. launch 2024 “Sophie Castille Award – English” for Comics in Translation

Sophie Castille Awards for Comics in Translation

VIP Brands Ltd. has announced the 2024 Sophie Castille Award – English, this year’s award to again be presented in partnership with Comica and the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, at the Festival’s annual event in Bowness-on-Windermere this autumn, taking place Saturday 28th September – Sunday 29th September.

The Sophie Castille Awards for Comics in Translation are for the best translation of graphic novels into a variety of languages around the world.

Launched last year, the Sophie Castille Award – English is an award for the best translation of a non-English graphic novel into English, a project initiated by VIP Brands Ltd., in partnership with Comica and the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Michele Hutchison was announced as the winner of the inaugural Awards at last year’s Festival, for her translation of The Philosopher, The Dog and the Wedding by Barbara Stok, published in English by SelfMadeHero.

Now, publishers around the world are again being invited to submit for consideration graphic novels they have published that are translations of works into English.

Sophie Castille
Sophie Castille

These awards have been created in honour of Sophie Castille, international rights director and V. P. of licensing for Mediatoon, cofounder and director of Europe Comics, who died unexpectedly in 2022.

Since the late 1990s, Sophie built bridges for bandes dessinées and their authors, out of France and around the world. She was a constant source of creativity, motivating publishers from throughout the world and encouraging them to exchange ideas and, as a result, became a key figure in the growth of translation of comics and graphic novels around the world.

The goal is to have these awards in as many countries in the world as possible. Since the Award was launched in the UK last year, other countries have launched their own iterations. Most recently, in Spain, Comic Barcelona announced their nominees for the SCA. You can read their announcement here. For Italy, Napoli Comicon will announce the winner of their awards later this month. You can read their announcement here. In Poland, the Lodz Comics Festival will host their inaugural awards at their annual event in early September, and an awards programme will also be announced soon for publishers in Slovenia, in partnership with Tinta Festival Slovenia.

The UK jury will again be comprised of three judges: Karen Green, Curator for Comics and Cartoons, Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library; comic creator and former British Comics Laurate, Charlie Adlard, who has been an advocate for the translation of world comics into English for many years; and former TV producer, Peter Kessler MBE, Chair of The Lakes International Comic Art Festival.

Michele Hutchison, winner of inaugural Sophie Castille Awards for Comics in Translation. Photo: Dean Simons
Michele Hutchison, winner of inaugural Sophie Castille Awards for Comics in Translation in 2023. Photo: Dean Simons

Comics and graphic novels, considered in France as The Ninth Art, are a diverse and dynamic international medium that are growing in popularity every year and are loved the world over. Spreading these works internationally through translation is a way to bring the world together.

With comics in translation becoming an important influence in the publishing world, VIP Brands Ltd, Comica and LICAF have decided to honour Sophie’s memory and continue her work to promote comics in translation around the world with these new Awards.

“The Sophie Castille Awards are global awards to recognise the work of translators in the medium,’ explains Ivanka Hahnenberger, General Manager of VIP Brands, “as well as to highlight the importance of the work of translation in the world of comics, recognising the skill and dedication of those who contribute significantly to the dissemination and understanding of comics around the world which was very important to Sophie Castille.”

This year’s Sophie Castille Award – English prize will be awarded at the Lakes International Festival in Bowness-on-Windermere over its Festival weekend, 28th – 29th September 2024.

• The Entry Form for this year’s Sophie Castille Award can be downloaded here, from the Lakes International Comic Art Festival web site

The Philosopher, the Dog and the Wedding: The story of one of the first female philosophers
By Barbara Stok, translated by Michele Hutchison
ISBN:  978-1914224096 | Buy it from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link) | Buy it from your favoured bookshop via (Affiliate Link)

The Philosopher, The Dog and the Wedding, original work by Barbara Stok, translated by Michele Hutchison, published in English by SelfMadeHero

It is the 4th century B.C.E in Greece. Hipparchia is about to marry the rich son of a family friend when she meets Crates. As the wedding day approaches, Hipparchia becomes increasingly captivated by the views and way of life of this strange philosopher who lives on the streets.

Gradually she starts to realize that the safe, comfortable, and cushioned life of luxury that has been mapped out for her is actually one of emptiness, and spiritual imprisonment. Crates and Hipparchia came to develop a central strand of the so-called “Cynical” movement in Athenian philosophy – so-named for the dog-like tenacity or canine fury of their rejection of all conventional values.

One of their fundamental principles was that we can only attain true happiness if we are independent of material possessions and social position. Hipparchia was a strong woman who had the courage to live by her own ideals, despite all the prevailing prejudices of her time. Her story continues to speak to ours.

Barbara Stok is an award-winning comic artist from The Netherlands. She briefly studied at the Fotoacademie school of photography in The Hague and worked as a journalist before becoming a cartoonist and illustrator, working for newspapers and for a children’s TV show. Her early work was autobiographical in nature, constantly questioning the meaning of life and right and wrong, always with a light touch. She has spent the last few years studying the classical philosophers and taking philosophy classes at university. Her critically acclaimed graphic novel Vincent (SelfMadeHero, 2012), about the life of Vincent van Gogh, has been published in more than 20 countries. Stok’s fascination with philosophy led her to write The Philosopher, the Dog and the Wedding, the result of five years of research.

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