Observer Jonathan Cape Comica Graphic Short Story Prize

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Calling all aspiring cartoonists and graphic novelists: the Jonathan Cape/Observer/Comica graphic short story prize, now in its 13th wondrous year, opens for entries today. Our guest judges in 2020 are the novelist (and comics fan) Neel Mukherjee (The Lives of Others was shortlisted for the 2014 Booker prize), and the cartoonist Steven Appleby (whose latest book is the brilliant Dragman). The winner will receive a cheque for £1,000 and his or her work will appear in the New Review in print and online. The runner-up will receive £250, and their work will be published online.

So far, this has been an especially great year for former winners of the prize. In February, Isabel Greenberg (left), who won it in 2011, published her third full-length graphic novel, Glass Town, a book inspired by the imaginary childhood worlds of the Brontës. In March, Matthew Dooley, our winner in 2016, published his first graphic novel, Flake, which tells the story of two men and their ice-creams vans – and it went on, in turn, to win the 2020 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse prize for comic fiction, the first graphic novel to do so in its 20-year history. Most magnificently of all, this was the summer that saw Joff Winterhart’s 2012 brilliant graphic novel, Days of the Bagnold Summer, a longer and more fully realised version of the entry that saw him runner-up in 2009, released as a much-praised film (below) directed by Simon Bird of The Inbetweeners fame, starring Monica Dolan and Rob Brydon.

In other words, this competition really can change your life. All you need to do is create a four-page comic designed to run over a double-page spread in the Observer New Review. So what are you waiting for? Run, don’t walk, to your drawing boards. To enter, and to read the terms and conditions, click here. Deadline for entries is Friday 6 November.



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