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Enter the Cape/Observer/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize!

Posted: May 9, 2014

It’s your chance to join a distinguished list of winners – and even runners-up – and make an impact in the world of graphic novels! Now in its eighth year and announced last Sunday by Lisa O’Kelly in The Observer, the Jonathan Cape/Observer/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize has established itself as the one to win, if you want to make an impact in the world of graphic novels and beyond. Even runners-up have found themselves fêted in ways they might not have predicted only a few years ago.

In 2012, for example, our 2009 runner-up Joff Winterhart, was shortlisted alongside Hilary Mantel for best novel in the Costa book awards for his superb Days of the Bagnold Summer (above). Meanwhile, two previous winners - Stephen Collins, who won the prize in 2010, and Isabel Greenberg, who carried it off in 2011 – published their first books last year to ringing acclaim. Raymond Briggs praised Collins’s The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil as “amazing” and “completely original” before it was even published, while Mark Haddon, among others, paid tribute to Greenberg’s The Encyclopedia of Early Earth as “a celebration of storytelling itself… strange and wry and funny and beautifully drawn”.

The highly accomplished Greenberg is one of our judges this year. She will join the regular panel (Dan Franklin, publisher at Jonathan Cape, Suzanne Dean, creative director of Random House, Paul Gravett, co-director of the Comica festival and the Observer‘s Rachel Cooke) as well as the actor, comedian and writer Peter Serafinowicz.

If you’re thinking of entering, visit Jonathan Cape/Observer/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize website for full terms, conditions and dimensions and the dedicated Prize page on this website. You will also want to take a look at Shorties (above), a free e-comic that showcases a line-up of favourite entries from 2007 to 2011, the early years of the prize. The talent on view there is impressive - but please don’t let that put you off. It is intended to inspire. And we hope to receive a record number of entries in 2014. The winner will receive a cheque for £1,000 and their winning 4-page story will be published in the Observer New Review in November, and the runner-up receives £250 and their entry is published online. There will also be an exhibition of the finalists’ work (Foyles cafe in London displayed them last year, below).

The all-important deadline is September 26th 2014 - so sharpen your pencils and your mind and get to work on your own entry - best of luck!

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