I’d been waiting to write this up as things have been changing so fast but after a very brief period this morning where the list of Grand Prix nominees was posted with the 30 already picked and the addition of six women, the voting has now been thrown open. Here’s the ugly Google translate:
Crossing a final step in the democratization of the nomination of the Grand Prix (after the reforms of 2013 and 2014), the Festival therefore submit to the absolute free will of auteur.es the election of the winner / the winner, and that, as of this edition 2016. No list of names of the creators / designers of the 9th Art will therefore proposed to their vote, and return them to choose, freely colleague’s name or Sister they / they want to elect as Grand Prix. *
The Festival and hopes that the process of evolution in the process of the creation of feminization in the field of comics found at the time that they auteur.es / they themselves see fit, a form of recognition through this Grand Prix.
Basically voting will be open to those cartoonist registered in France and verified by a French publisher. Apparently, this list is comprises 3500 voters, of whom 200 are women. After open voting, the top three candidates will go to a final vote. This system was used twice before, resulting in wins for Goosens and R. Crumb.
While it seems a but churlish to have added the ladies and then removed them, it seems that the Festival was aware that several would also reject the nomination and this open format was the only way to even try to salvage what rapidly became a gruesome embarrassment. As Paul Gravett translates a French report:
‘After adding 6 female artists to the published list of artists selected for the competition and prize this morning, and deleting these a few minutes later; the organizers announced this afternoon that they decided to delete the list of selected artists all together. Authors will now be able to vote for any artist they want during the festival. The reason of this decision is officially unknown but some authors, like Chantal Montellier, think that the organisers probably feared that most female artists nominated this morning would refuse to be listed.’
If you’re curious here are the six cartoonists who were on the list:
Moto Hagio, a founder of shojo comics and especially the “boys love” genre
Posy Simmonds, long running Guardian cartoonist and author of Gemma Bovary and Tamara Drewe. Several of her books have been made into movies if that floats your boat.
Chantal Montellier, a very distinguished French cartoonist who had work in Métal Hurlant, À Suivre and other important French publications.
Lynda Barry, whose long running Ernie Pooks Comeek followed childhood wonder and trauma for daces. She is a published novelist and playwright and now a distinguished educator.
Julie Doucet, an influential grunge cartoonist who led the way for many of the autobiographical comics of the 90s. She has a new book coming out later this year.
Marjane Satrapi, creator of Persopolis, a book now on the reading curriculum of many schools and international best seller. She’s now directing movies, both live action and animated.
These six creators have much lauded careers and influence that stand up to any possible scrutiny. I hope some of the voters will consider voting for one of them.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.