On a joyous night, celebrating some of the very best emerging talents in comics, Alex Taylor (azbt) was announced as the winner of the 2023 First Graphic Novel Competition. Full details are in the press release below and our congratulations to Alex, as well as the other six shortlisted artists. What a line-up of talent we saw last night! And with 170 entries for the competition the strength and breadth of interest in the form was fully underlined.
ALEX TAYLOR, (also known as azbt), is a queer visual artist living in London, working in illustration, painting, digital art, comics, zines, and film. An extract from his first graphic novel, BONE BROTH, has just won the First Graphic Novel Award 2023.
The winner was revealed at a ceremony held at Waterstones Piccadilly on 11 December, where the seven shortlisted entrants showed their work. Publisher Emma Hayley, whose company SelfMadeHero will award the winner a contract for publication, said:
‘The fun and colourful art style belies the intricate plot lines of this coming-of-age queer thriller set in a ramen shop. Crafted with vigour and spirit, the creator takes us on a somewhat crazy yet wonderful journey that is tasty from beginning to end’.
Corinne Pearlman, award director, and founder of the prize, said: ‘The diversity of subject matter as well as the talent and effort displayed by all 171 entrants has been truly remarkable. The strength of our longlist as well as our shortlist shows the wealth of comic talent in the UK.’
Judges included Turner prize winner Mark Wallinger, and graphic novelist Sabba Khan, who read between 15 and 30 pages of the works-in-progress ranging from graphic fiction and non-fiction, graphic reportage and memoir.
Alex Taylor was also awarded a cash prize of £500 by The bks Agency, whose agent James Spackman read and gave feedback to all longlisted authors.
The six other artists on the shortlist were:
• Anna Trench FLORRIE
• Gareth Cowlin THE HIRAETH CLUB
• Cathy Brett MRS THORWALD
• Mereida Fajardo ZAYANI ZAM
• Myfanwy Tristram THE NOISY VALLEY
• Corban Wilkin THE INFINITE BENEFITS OF SHAME
The seven judges are artist and graphic novelist Sabba Khan; contemporary artist Mark Wallinger, Cartoon Museum Learning Officer Steve Marchant, editor and writer Ayoola Solarin, broadcast journalist Alex Fitch, SelfMadeHero publisher Emma Hayley and award director Corinne Pearlman.
The award is open to artists, writers and comic creators who are UK residents and have not had a longform graphic novel commercially published before. The award is a partnership between the Cartoon Museum, publisher SelfMadeHero and award founder Corinne Pearlman.