The authors of the 20 longlisted titles in this year’s Myriad First Graphic Novel Competition have been announced.
Supported by the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, the competition was open to UK residents, and offers the winner, or winners, the opportunity to have their completed graphic novel published by Myriad. It is open to all cartoonists, writers and artists who are UK residents (in support of Myriad’s mission to encourage publishing opportunities for British cartoonists), individually or as a team, who have not previously published a full-length graphic work. Entrants are asked for 15-30 pages of a graphic work-in-progress, fiction or non-fiction.
On the longlist, selected from 118 entrants, are Tim Catherall, Denise Dorrance, Ed Firth, Christine Humphreys, Mathew Jackson, Lesley MacNiven & Heather Charters, Gary McKeever, John Miers, Alex Moore, Aleesha Nandhra, Angelina Olkhovskaya & Anita Bruvere, Veronika Muchitsch, Kim L Pace, Michael Parker & Cecily Salt, Jane Porter, Teresa Robertson, Pete Shearn, Pietro Soldi, Tobias Taitt & Anthony Smith and Myfanwy Tristr.
This year, the judges include cartoonist and GP Ian Williams, whose graphic novel The Bad Doctor was shortlisted in 2012; chef and contributor to Myriad bestseller New Daughters of Africa Zoe Adjonyoh, curator and chair of New Contemporaries Sacha Craddock, and Julie Tait, Director of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, supporters of the competition.
They are joined by Myriad Creative Director, Corinne Pearlman who noted that this year Myriad had seen more entries than ever before and the standard is exceptionally high.
“The circumstances are exceptional too,” she added. “With the lockdown, we asked all entrants to resubmit their work digitally so that the judges could read at home before we gathered to share our opinions and debate online via a four-hour Zoom meeting. In previous years, I’ve been able to host the judging meeting at my house and we’ve spread out artwork on the floor and thrust pages at each other.
“It was quite a challenge to have the same engagement on Zoom but the judges rose to it magnificently and, after some robust conversations, we are all delighted to celebrate these 20 promising new works.”
The shortlist will be decided late May, and the winner revealed at an event online in June. The entrants were from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, over half from outside London, and just over half with women’s names.
Myriad’s graphics list include the three previous competition winners and six other books by shortlisted authors, as well as other works by authors introduced to Myriad through the competition.
THE LONGLIST AUTHORS AND PROJECTS
Our Glittering Future by Angelina Olkhovskaya and Anita Bruvere
Spanning the period between 1985 and 1992, a young child’s perspective on the falling apart of her family and her country, the Soviet Union.
This Woman’s Work by Lesley MacNiven and Heather Charters
How the workplace was not designed for women, how women’s lives have been affected. Documentary comic designed to inspire action and drive change in furthering gender equality.
Cyberman by Veronika Muchitsch
Ari lives in a small town in Finland, streaming his life online twenty-four hours, seven days a week. Non-fiction graphic novel about the transgressive act of online voyeurism.
Chillout by Ed Firth
What promises to be an indulgent orgy of hedonism turns into an uncomfortable confrontation. Interconnected queer stories taking place in London.
So My Body Pretty Much Hates Me Now by John Miers
The experience of living with multiple sclerosis channelled through the multiple visual styles of other artists: those with the disease and without.
Grounded by Kim L Pace
How making art and creativity allowed the author’s experience of coercive control to be understood, transmuted and used as a means to share with others.
Everything I Ever Knew Is on Earth by Pietro Soldi
You walk into a bar and accidentally meet a stranger who tells you something unexpected: the deal is done, the Earth has been sold.
True to Their Salt by Tim Catherall
The story of Indian and Muslim soldiers fighting for “freedom and democracy” in World War One has echoes for Muslim and British citizens today.
Patterns and Portents by Teresa Robertson
How the death of Teresa’s twin brother affected family, friends and future generations, as, thirty years on, she looks after her twin grandsons.
Life Hurdling by Michael Parker and Cecily Salt
Ex-Olympic hurdler reflects on boarding schools, military service, sport and business through the prism of his relationships past and present.
The Fine Art of Destruction by Alex Moore
Out to salvage his father’s failing art gallery, Seb puts his family and his girlfriend on a collision course.
Black by Tobias Taitt and Anthony Smith
A dysfunctional family life, and a childhood spent mostly in care: Taitt’s story touches on themes of class and race as he gravitates from care to crime.
Satin and Tat by Myfanwy Tristram
Ella returns to the fishing village where she spent her teen years, but can she address the emotional fallout that followed her boyfriend’s suicide thirty years before?
This is the Word of the Lord by Gary McKeever
Novel inspired by the disappearance of Maura Lyons who converted from Catholicism to Ian Paisley’s Free Presbyterian Church in the late 50s.
The Mum Architect by Christine Humphreys
A story about towers, redundancy and finding a voice, the architect author questions skyscrapers and the theory and practice that encouraged them.
The Ghost Carp Part 2 by Jane Porter
A comic re-telling of Moby Dick, set on an urban river, with facts and fiction based on the author’s own experiences of restoring the Wandle in South West London.
Polar Vortex by Denise Dorrance
A daughter escorts her mother with dementia across the US Midwest during a harsh snowstorm, while placating her estranged sister and unwanted visits from The Grim Reaper.
Local Andrej by Aleesha Nandhra
An exploration of identity in travelogue form as Nandhra escapes the family script to travel around India and discover how she truly feels about her culture and family.
Missing People by Pete Shearn
Brian would love to move from Morecambe. Becky, a successful professional, thinks otherwise. The couple rebuild their lives in the wake of a traumatising incident.
The Visitor by Mathew Jackson
Donnie was shocking, funny, with ‘an absolute beauty to the way he rebelled against the system and lived his life his way’. Tribute to a friend who “was not of this earth”.
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.