Posy Simmonds announced as winner of prestigious Grand Prix

Posy Simmonds announced as winner of prestigious Grand Prix (2024)

Congratulations are very much in order for Posy Simmonds, who has been announced as the winner of the prestigious Grand Prix at the 51st Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d’Angoulême, the first British comic creator to ever win the prestigious award.

Posy is perhaps best known for her work for The Guardian, before her breakthrough in 1999 with her first major graphic novel, Gemma Bovery, which brought her international acclaim.

Simmonds’s satirical observations on modern British society, interweaving detailed illustration with long literary texts, are held to have redefined the graphic novel genre.

Her friend Jean Harambat, an acclaimed author, told French newspaper Le Point today: “Posy is cunning, a little oblique. You have to know how to read between the lines of her books, but also of her interviews. She is a true sociologist in the way she works, listening to conversations on buses, observing furtively behind the curtains of London houses. She watches for narcissism at work in our societies, a bit like a contemporary Jane Austen, with velvet cruelty. She captures reality in a way that few designers are capable of doing today.”

The Guardian reports she says of the award: “I was gobsmacked – époustouflée, as you would say in French … It’s extraordinary because if you’re writing or drawing, you work in a room on your own, and it’s then very extraordinary when the book, or your work, or you are given a lot of exposure.”

Art by Posy Simmonds

Born in 1945, growing up in Berkshire, in a career spanning over 50 years, Posy Simmondscurrently the focus of a major retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, is best known for the strip cartoons and serials that were published in The Guardian and the books that derive from them. These include Mrs Weber’s Diary (1979), True Love (1981), Literary Life Revisited (2016) and the graphic novels, Gemma Bovery (1999), and Tamara Drewe (2006).

Both graphic novels have been made into feature films – Tamara Drewe, directed by Stephen Frears in 2010, and Gemma Bovery, directed by Anne Fontaine, in 2014. 

After her work for The Guardian, comics archivist and author of Posy Simmonds (The Illustrators) Paul Gravett tells downthetubes she decided to move away from the demands of her weekly Weber family strips and cast after many years, to pursue children’s books and other projects.

She has written and illustrated several children’s books, including Fred, which became an Oscar-nominated film.

Her graphic novel the award-nominated Cassandra Darke, was first released in 2018.

Cassandra Drake by Posy Simmonds

She was the winner of the Sergio Aragonés International Award for Excellence in Comic Artfor 2022.

Comic creators Lizzy Stewart and Posy Simmonds on stage at the opening night event for the all-new Comica Festival in London last week. Photo: Richard Sheaf
Comic creators Lizzy Stewart and Posy Simmonds on stage at the opening night event for the Comica Festival in 2023 Photo: Richard Sheaf

Simmonds has a big following in France, where she is known as “the queen of the British graphic novel” and has been described as a “subtle satirist” of modern times.

She is currently working on a new project, telling The Guardian, “It’s early stages, so it’s in sketchbooks and I write little scenes … it’s on the stove, being cooked, but I may be some time.”

Founded by French writers and editors Francis Groux and Jean Mardikian, and comics writer and scholar Claude Moliterni, the Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d’Angoulême, which debuted in Angoulême, France, in 1974, is the second largest comics festival in Europe after the Lucca Comics & Games in Italy, and the third biggest in the world after Lucca Comics & Games and the Comiket of Japan. Previous winners of the Grand Prix include Will Eisner, Jean Giraud, Enki Bilal, Bill Watterson, Chris Ware, Julie Doucet and Riad Sattouf.

Congratulations, Posy! Let’s hope this means The Guardian might find it in their budget to think about recommissioning her – and other female cartoonists.

• Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d’Angoulême 25th – 28th January 2024, Angoulême, France | Web: bdangouleme.com

The Guardian: Graphic novelist Posy Simmonds wins prestigious French comics award

• Posy Simmonds – Dessiner la littérature 22 November 2023 – 1st April 2024 | Bibliothèque publique d’information / Centre Pompidou 75197 Paris Cedex 04 | Visit the web site for opening times and further information | Web: bpi.fr

Posy Simmonds (The Illustrators) by Paul Gravett

Posy Simmonds (The Illustrators) by Paul Gravett

• Posy Simmonds: The Illustrators by Paul Gravett

• Buy it from AmazonUK

Simmonds once described her job on a census form as ‘a visual engineer’. Her extraordinary precision of drawing, her powers of observation and her sharp but welltempered wit have made her one the Britain’s most sophisticated innovators, renowned especially for expanding the scope and subtlety of comics. 

This is the first book to explore Simmonds’s life and work from her early childhood to the present day. In a series of interviews with Paul Gravett she offered insights into her creative process and provided unprecedented access to her ‘workroom’ and archives containing sketchbooks and rare or never-before-seen artworks. A portrait emerges of Posy Simmonds as a chronicler and critic of contemporary British society and a storyteller in words and pictures of rare perception and humanity.

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

Tags: , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. Congratulations Posy – Well deserved!


  1. “Monica” by Daniel Clowes wins le Fauve d’or, “Best Book of the Year” at Angoulême – and other winners – downthetubes.net

Discover more from downthetubes.net

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading