British comics artist Charlie Adlard, best known for his ongoing collaboration with Robert Kirkman on the “The Walking Dead” comic, was named as the new Comics Laureate for the U.K. at an event held at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal, Cumbria.
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The biennially elected role of Comics Laureate is an ambassadorial and educational position that aims to raise awareness of the impact that comics can have in literacy and creativity, and involves visits to schools, libraries and other education institutions across the U.K.
Julie Tait, the Director of The Lakes International Comic Art Festival described the importance of the position in an official press release: “The Comics Laureate isn’t just a title; we already have a programme of events taking shape that will ensure we reach out to new audiences and raise the profile and the understanding of the importance of comics for education, inspiration and literacy.”
On accepting the role, Adlard said, “I’m delighted and deeply honoured to be appointed as the Comics Laureate. The power of comics to encourage learning and develop literacy shouldn’t be underestimated. Comics can connect with people who may never pick up a normal book and really help encourage a love of reading. I see this as a great opportunity to bring the wonder of comics to a wider audience.”
Aside from his new title, it may surprise some readers to learn that Adlard also has a link to the Nobel Prize for literature in the form of his collaboration with Nobel laureate Doris Lessing on their 1995 graphic novel “Playing the Game.”
Adlard will succeed Dave Gibbons, the inaugural U.K. Comics Laureate, when he formally assumes the title in February 2017.
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