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Enter 6th Cape/Observer/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize!

Posted: June 6, 2013

It’s time to sharpen your pencils and your wits and have a bash at entering your four-page graphic short story to this year’s 6th Cape/Observer/Comica Graphic Short Story Competition. Comica Festival will be holding the Prize Ceremony this autumn. The deadline is September 27th. Here’s the feature by The Observer’s Rachel Cooke, judging once again, about the successes and opportunities this Prize can bring. Best of luck to you!

“No one can say that the Jonathan Cape/Observer/Comica graphic short story prize, now in its sixth year, doesn’t have an impact on those who win it – and even, sometimes, on those who are runners-up. To give you just a couple of examples: last year, our runner-up in 2009, Joff Winterhart, was shortlisted alongside Hilary Mantel for best novel in the Costa book awards for his wonderful graphic novel Days of the Bagnold Summer; meanwhile, Stephen Collins, who won the prize in 2010, is about to publish his first book, The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, a story Raymond Briggs has already acclaimed as “amazing” and “completely original”.

“The super-talented Collins is one of our judges this year. He will join the regular panel (Dan Franklin, the publishing director of Jonathan Cape, Suzanne Dean, Random House’s creative director, Paul Gravett, co-director of the Comica festival, and yours truly), as well as novelist Joe Dunthorne (Submarine, Wild Abandon).

“Dunthorne’s comic habit, in case you’re wondering, began with the Beano, but it was thanks to McSweeney’s 13, edited by the great Chris Warecorrect, that he discovered graphic novels: “It’s still a brilliant compendium.” Among his favourites these days is Everything We Miss by Luke Pearson – “short, beautiful and incredibly sad” – which he found in the Shoreditch shop of its admirable publisher, Nobrow, and is about the dying days of a relationship and some omniscient six-legged creatures called Anurids. This is a good spot. Pearson is one to watch; last month, he drew his first New Yorker cover, which puts him in the same company as Art Spiegelman, Daniel Clowes and Adrian Tomine.

“I throw all these names into the ring by way of inspiration. We might as well set the bar high. If you’re thinking of entering, you will also want to take a look at Shorties, a free e-comic that includes a selection of favourite entries from 2007-11. But don’t, whatever you do, be intimidated. What have you got to lose by having a go? We want 2013 to be a bumper year and we hope to receive an avalanche of entries. The winner will receive a cheque for £1,000. The winning story will be published in the Observer New Review in November.”

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