February 26, 2016
More trouble for Angoulême Comics Festival
by Zeljka Marosevic
What’s going on at Angoulême International Comics Festival?
Back in January, we reported that ten artists nominated for the festival’s prestigious Grand Prix had withdrawn from the prize in protest of an all-male shortlist.
Now, as Barbara Casassus reports for The Bookseller, forty-one French graphic novel publishers are threatening to boycott the festival altogether if it does not make fundamental changes. Criticisms include:
an absence of women from the list of eligible candidates for the main Angoulême city prize, frequent poor treatment of authors, a drop in visitor numbers, an opaque prize selection process and a “disastrous” closing ceremony.
According to the statement released by the publishers, they fear the festival “has discredited our profession in the eyes of the whole world.” Those are strong words, but the festival is the most important of its kind in Europe and exhibitors have apparently been voicing their concerns for many years. It’s clear publishers have finally run out of patience with the organization.
The publishers are calling on the France’s culture minister Audrey Azoulay to name a mediator to lead a comprehensive overhaul of the festival. So far the festival organizers have not responded.
Zeljka Marosevic is the former managing director of Melville House UK.