I’m excited to be appearing at the London Literature Festival in October on a panel called The New Experimentalists at the Royal Festival Hall. As an artist I don’t think of myself as belonging to the literature field, even though I love writing, so it’s an interesting departure for me to be taking part in literary events as a result of having my novel length comic published.
Experimental is a term that certainly describes the method, the content and my artistic approach to making Becoming/Unbecoming, so I won’t be short of things to say on this subject, however being included in events like this, which discuss ‘the novel’ means that work like mine is undeniably becoming absorbed into literary genres. The question is, is this a good thing? There’s much discussion about terminology around comics. Lots of people (including myself) don’t like the term Graphic Novel, because it seems to be attempting to make comics sound more respectable, unnecessarily. Comics are already worth respecting as an art form, they don’t need the extra layer of pretension that this moniker brings. The term Graphic Narrative can be useful to differentiate a specific type of fact based story and I do use this term occasionally to describe the work I make, but mostly I have been calling Becoming/Unbecoming a ‘novel length comic’, which is, frankly, a bit of a mouthful.
I’m interested to see how my work and my discussion of it will sit alongside the other panelists and how the audience will respond to it. I’ve decided to resist the temptation to do research into the relatively unknown field (for me) of literary experimentation, because I want to embrace my outsider status and approach the topic on my own terms, from the perspective of the artist.
If you are interested in attending the festival, details of the event, the other writers on the panel, and how to buy tickets are included in the link below.