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Who Wants To Be A UK Comics Laureate, Anyway?

Lakes International Comic Art Festival is launching a search for new Comics Laureate. This is the first time it has done this so openly.

Lakes International Comic Art Festival is launching a search for new Comics Laureate. This is the first time it has done this, previously it has announced the new UK Comics Laureate as a fait accompli. This meant last time, there was a lot of bad feeling (on Twitter at least) regarding Stephen Holland, owner of Page 45 comics shop in Nottingham, notably not a comics creator but on the board of the Lakes. Previously, UK Comics laureates had been comic creators Dave Gibbons, Charlie Adlard and Hannah Berry.

Who Wants To Be A British Comics Laureate, Anyway?
Who Wants To Be A British Comics Laureate, Anyway?

This time the next incumbent will be selected from nominations received from the comics community by a panel of experts who include comic creator and publisher Yomi Ayeni, journalist Rachel Cooke and Chairman of the Lakes International Comic Arts Festival, Peter Kessler. The deadline for nominations is Friday 30th June 2023. The chosen Laureate will take up the role in January 2024.

The show emphasises the role that Holland has played. "It is hard being small press in the UK," notes Yomi Ayeni of the challenges facing comic creators the Comics Laureate role seeks to overcome. "If not for social media, comic conventions, fans, and stores like Page 45, it would be an almost impossible task, especially as some shops are reluctant to stock our books" and states that "The current Comics Laureate, artist, specialist retailer and comics provocateur Stephen L. Holland has been hugely active in the role, and his will be difficult shoes to fill. During his tenure, he has given 22 presentations, workshops or talks, been guest editor for LoveReading4Kids and been confirmed as a Patron of Refuge in Literacy UK. Reflecting his determination to reach new, diverse audiences and encourage young people to create comics, Stephen has made numerous appearances in schools, to plenty of deserved acclaim."

So, Joe Glass, you up for this again? Please send your nominations for Comics Laureate to Carole Tait by email at, to be received no later than Friday 30th June 2023. Let them know who you want to nominate, why, and include some links to their work if you can. Already there have been some suggestions:

Simon Russell: The Dark Side keeps trying to return Trump and Johnson to power, so I say it's time for a force for good to rise again in our hour of greatest need. Can we get a hashtag trending? #BringBackBerry

TalesFromTheTFTQ: 1. Obligatory Frazer Brown for Comics Laureate hahahhahahahahhahaha tweet. 2. Given that their search three years ago didn't get outside of their close friends a high level supporters, they can put some f-cking effort in this time.

Adlai M: I should be the comics laureate. I probably won't go mad with power or anything. I assume I just have to fight a bunch of people for the position. Fine, Not fighting CPUK though. I've seen what's behind those eyes

Cartoon County: Much like Dr Who or James Bond, once you find YOUR Comics Laureate, they are always the real one to you. So, of course, Cartoon County residents would support this campaign to #BringBackBerry (and not just because @streakofpith
knows where we all live!)

Matt Garvey!: There are some amazing UK #Comic Creators out there who deserve this kind of recognition for helping the community at EVERY level, so get your votes in:

Michael Nimmo: So many people I'd like to see in this role – @ComicPrintingUK @JosephGlass @MattGarvey1981 @MattPHardy @DanWritehead to name just a few… (there are many others)

Rachael Smith: I think I would be an awesome Comics Laureate. I could do great work about how comics can help with mental health on a huge scale. If you're part of the comics community and would like to nominate me, please do!

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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