The saga of the Grand Prix d’Angouleme has taken another sour turn, as one of three finalists for the festival’s top honor has asked people not to vote for her.
French illustrator Claire Wendling said she doesn’t want the Angouleme International Comics Festival award, writing on Facebook, “Would you like to please me? Don’t vote for me any more.”
The announcement of the finalists on Wednesday came two weeks after the unveiling of an all-male list of nominees sparked calls for a boycott, leading 12 creators to ask that their names be withdrawn from consideration. Festival organizers briefly offered up a revised list that included six female creators, only to then announce that academy members could vote for whomever they like.
In an interview with the French publication Charente Libre, Wendling compared the nomination to an ugly Christmas sweater that she has to wear all the time, and pointed out that she hasn’t produced comics for 20 years. While she appreciates the positive attention, she said, “I am very discreet. I do not like putting myself forward.”
The other two nominees are Alan Moore and Belgian creator Hermann. Both have been nominated before, and Moore has said he doesn’t want the award; Hermann also said he would refuse the award in 2014, but according to Beaty, he changed his mind in 2015.
Beaty also points out that winning the prize can have a downside:
I know past presidents who have been ecstatic to receive the news, and, frankly, a couple who met it with a sort of grim resignation. The presidency is actual work – unpaid work. There is press to do, an exhibition to coordinate (or help coordinate), juries to sit on, lunches to attend. It can arrive at the wrong time for some cartoonists. It may the greatest honour in all of comics, as it is frequently called, but it can also be a bit of a drag. We’re seeing a bit of that this year.
Considered France’s top comics honor, the Grand Prix is a lifetime achievement award. The winner traditionally serves as president of the jury for the following year’s festival. Voting will continue through Sunday, with the winner announced during the 43rd Angouleme International Comics Festival, held Jan. 28-31.