Jen Sorenson has become the first woman to win the Herblock Prize, awarded each year to an editorial cartoonist “to encourage editorial cartooning as an essential tool for preserving the rights of the American people through freedom of speech and the right of expression.” Along with the praise, it offers a $15,000 prize. Sorenson’s Slowpoke Comics have been delivering pointed laughs for over a decade. She was a runner-up last year and won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in 2013, so you could kind of call this long-expected.
Clay Bennett of the Chattanooga Times Free Press was the finalist.
I’ve seen it noted widely that Sorenson is the third “alt cartoonist” in a row to win, following Matt Bors and Dan Perkins (aka Tom Tomorrow) last year, but in this day and age, with Sorenson and Tomorrow’s long-established careers and online comics the current delivery method, I’m not sure what is really so “alternative” about them.
The prize was judged by Perkins, Tony Auth and Sara Duke of the Library of Congress, and they said of Sorenson “Jen Sorensen’s strong portfolio addresses issues that were important to Herblock, such as gun control, racism, income inequality, healthcare, and sexism. Her style allows her to incorporate information which backs up the arguments she presents. Her art is engaging and her humor is sharp and on target.”
Michael Cavna caught up with the winner:
“Winning the Herblock is one of the finest moments in a political cartoonist’s life,” Sorensen tells The Post. “Being the first woman to win the prize makes it an extra-special thrill.
“I’m so grateful that this generous award exists for our profession.”
Sorenson is a super nice and talented creator; I’m pleased as can be to see her win this award.
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.