From our continental correspondent – The Angouleme festival that keeps on giving…

Published On February 24, 2016 | By Wim | Comics, Continental Correspondent, Conventions and events

After what must be the most raucous edition in its history, the prestigious (or at least, it was prestigious… See our earlier posts) Angoulême Festival is currently facing one of the greatest threats in its existence.

In a reaction to such gaffes as the all-male shortlist for the Grand Prix and the false Fauves handed out on awards night (not to mention the organizers’ complete lack of empathy and insight in the effect of their actions and public embarrassment caused to creators), no less than forty publishers have given the Festival an ultimatum. Unless the organisation takes a good, hard look at itself and changes the nature and principles of the Festival, they will simply not take part in the next edition, but rather will actively boycott it.

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Among the publishers we find the big names in Francophone publishing (Dargaud, Delcourt, Casterman, Gallimard, Futuropolis) but also smaller, alternative houses (L’Association, Cornélius, Les Requins Marteaux, The Hoochie Coochie); it seems that there is a pretty obvious consensus among a wide swathe of publishers and creators that this important festival must change.

In an official statement in the French publisher’s weekly Livres Hebdo, the publishers cite as the cause of their démarche, “the absence of women from the list of authors eligible for the Grand Prix of the city of Angoulême, resentment by the authors who are often maltreated by the organisation, a lower attendance figure, unclear criteria in the several prices’ short lists, a disastrous closing ceremony, …”. They demand to be heard by the Culture minister, and also the appointment of a mediator who should direct the redirection of the Festival.

As leading comics researcher Bart Beaty put it in a reaction on Facebook, this could be “The biggest comics story to watch for 2016”

(with thanks to BoDoï)

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