At the tenth annual Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Bowness-on-Windermere, UK last weekend, the National Cartoonist Society announced that British cartoonist Posy Simmonds was the 2022 recipient of the Sergio Aragones Award for Excellence in Comic Art.


Posy Simmonds, who was unable to attend the award ceremony due to family illness had a pre-recorded video statement in which she said:

“I can’t tell you how excited I was to get the news. It really made the sun come out. So I’m very pleased and excited to accept the award and I want to thank the NCS very, very much. It’s a great honour. And big thank you to Julie Tate and Carol at the Lakes International Festival, and everybody else involved with this.”

The National Cartoonist Society’s Sergio Aragones Award for Excellence in Comic Art was introduced in 2017 in partnership with the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, where it is formally announced and received. Previous recipients have included fellow Brits Dave McKean, Hunt Emerson, and Charlie Adlard; and – last year- France’s Boulet. The award is delivered annually – except in 2020, when the Lakes Festival was unable to physically take place.

Posy Simmonds is a multi award-winning and decorated cartoonist whose work has graced children’s picture books, newspapers, and graphic novels. She is best known for Gemma Bovary (1999), Tamara Drew (2007), and her most recent graphic novel –  Cassandra Darke (2018)In 2002 she was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by the late Queen Elizabeth II. She has also been inducted into the British Comics Awards Hall of Fame in 2014; received French journalists’ Prix de la Critique for Tamara Drew in 2009 (in 2001 she was also in contention for the same award for Gemma Bovary, only to lose out to the French edition of Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell’s From Hell); and in December Posy will also receive the Prix Rodolphe Töpffer from the city of Geneva, Switzerland. In 1981 she was also named Cartoonist of the Year by the British Press Awards.

Paul Gravett, who accepted the Sergio Aragones award on Posy Simmonds’ behalf said:

“Posy is very, very upset and sad that she can’t be here today to accept the award. She sends her apologies and lots of love. For me, personally really – as for most of you here – she’s an absolute genius of comics. We are so lucky to have her.”

He continued with an interesting Posy anecdote from her childhood:

“When she was very young – and if you’re a mum or a dad and you’ve got a kid that’s really interested in making cartoons – her parents gave her an elephant of paper. Have you any idea what an ‘elephant’ of paper is? It actually is an imperial measure of paper. It’s a big sheet of paper. It’s 23 by 28 inches, or 58 by 71 centimetres – I memorised that especially – and if you get a double elephant, it is twice the size. And her parents gave her this when she was very young, and they gave her a ream. Anyone know what a ‘ream’ is? It is 500 sheets! And she drew on all that paper growing up. Out of it she made her own comics. She made her own little mini comics which were some beautiful things which her mum kept. We were able to exhibit them and feature them in a book which I wrote about Posy. She is an absolute genius.

“And you would be pleased to know she’s working on a new book. So hopefully in a few years there will be another graphic novel from this brilliant, brilliant cartoonist. So thank you NCS and to Sergio for awarding and recognising Posy Simmonds. A real genius of comics. Thank you.”

Sergio Aragones, for whom the Award is named, was not in attendance but gave a pre-recorded congratulatory message:

“[Q]uite a pleasure and quite an honour for me to be able to give the NCS Award and to Posy: she’s such an incredible artist. I don’t know what to say – she’s a great artist that writes so well, or a writer that draws fantastic.  She’s a great, great discovery.

“Sometimes, when you’re in another country, you don’t realise how many good artists are around and she’s extraordinary. I’ve been glued to the computer looking at her work and I love everything she does. This award from NCS I think is so well deserved – even though she has so many very important awards already. For us, it’s a great honour – and to me, especially because I love her work.

“Congratulations Posy and keep [up] the work. You’re fantastic. And by the way, I love your cats.”

NCS Foundation President Tom Richmond was on hand to give a statement:

“One of the things that’s so great about this award for us is that you’re researching and trying to find somebody to honour with the award. We get to see and be introduced to the work of some just incredible cartoonists that we don’t really get a chance to see over in the States. It’s just fantastic to be able to get a chance to see the work from so many other places. And LICAF is an important instrument for that. That’s why we just love to be here and why this award is so important to us.”