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Angouleme Grand Prix’s male-only long list sparks call for boycott

by  in Comic News Comment

The French group BD Egalite is calling for a boycott of voting for the Grand Prix d’Angouleme because not a single female creator is included on this year’s list of 30 candidates. Cartoonist Jessica Abel provides a translation, and some context, on her Facebook page.

The Grand Prix is a lifetime achievement award, and the winner is named president of the following year’s Angouleme International Comics Festival. In the event’s 43-year history, just one woman, Florence Cestac, has been awarded the Grand Prix. Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis) and Posy Simmonds (Gemma Bovery, Tamara Drewe) have been among those nominated in years past.

Abel, a former member of the Grand Jury (which chooses the nominations for the book prizes but not the Grand Prix), posted that she supports a move to boycott this year’s awards, saying, “I may write in a vote — for a female creator — but I’m not voting for another man for this award. Not this year, maybe not ever. The committee is going to have to win back my confidence.”

Abel’s husband Matt Madden, who’s on this year’s Grand Jury, provided ROBOT 6 with the following statement:

This festival has meant a lot to me over the years and I have observed it struggle to open its vision of comics as an art form, and industry, and a community. I accepted to be part of the grand jury (nothing to do with the Grand Prix I’d like to point out) with some trepidation because women and minorities aren’t very well represented in comics awards either (at FIBD or elsewhere). I was pleased when our president Antonin Baudry brought in two women in the jury of seven and I feel like I can get behind the selection for the prizes: there are 11 books by women (or co-created by them) out of 47 total. It’s far from representing the reality of things but it’s a step in the right direction. (That said, there are a few manga but otherwise the list is admittedly heavy on the Euro/American sphere.)

Given this general nudge in the right direction on the awards I was shocked by the complete shut-out of women in the nominations.

Not only are there no new women added–they’ve actually REMOVED women who have been nominated in previous years, such as Marjane Satrapi and Posy Simmonds.

I don’t know who the nomination committee is but I can’t believe that none of them were able to take a step back and say “hang on a minute, we’re moving in the wrong direction here!” I will point out, as I did in my FB post, the Japanese have at least gained a foothold in the festival as the continual disregard of manga was another bone of contention a few years ago. So, maybe Otomo this year and… Julie Doucet in 2017?

I will participate in boycotting the final vote but I have already voted (in a bit of a daze) during the first round. For a bunch of guys.

In December, BD Egalite released a statement denouncing the lack of women on the Angouleme juries.

This year’s Grand Prix long list includes Brian Michael Bendis, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Richard Corben, Stan Lee, Milo Manara, Frank Miller, Alan Moore, Joann Sfar, Bill Sienkiewicz, Naoki Urasawa and Chris Ware.