Sarah Glidden’s  Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria and Iraq has won the 2017 Lynd Ward Prize for Graphic Novel of the Year. The prize, sponsored by the Penn State University LIbraries, is presented to the best graphic novel, fiction or non-fiction, published in the previous calendar year by a living U.S. or Canadian citizen or resident. It’s definitely one of the most prestigious awards for a graphic novel given out each year.

Cousin Joseph by Jules Feiffer and Hot Dog Taste Test by Lisa Hanawalt were named honor books.

The prize winner receives $2500 and a set of Lynd Ward’s trailblazing graphic novels. PRevious winners includes Flattening by Nick Sousanis, Fran by Jim Woodring and Duncan the Wonder Dog by Adam Hines.

“Part memoir, part travel log, ‘Rolling Blackouts’ is the true story of Sarah Glidden, a cartoonist, accompanying two journalists and a former Marine to Turkey, Syria and Iraq to research the effects of the Iraq War on the Middle East. Yet it is also more than Glidden’s story — ‘Rolling Blackouts’ is ultimately the story of the political officials, civilians and refugees there,” the jury said. “Her book brings her readers to the front lines of war in the Middle East and leads them through the thicket of obstacles journalists encounter to get their story with storytelling that is intimate, engaging and frequently humorous. The images welcome the reader into the complex, many-layered world of the Middle East, and Glidden is a terrific guide.”

About “Cousin Joseph” the jury said, “Feiffer portrays an important part of American history — anti-union sentiments and the fear of socialists in Hollywood creating films that would shift our culture to the left — one that feels relevant in today’s political climate. It’s a captivating story meshed with gorgeous ink-washed drawings done in Feiffer’s characteristic wobbly, lively line.”

Regarding “Hot Dog Taste Test,” the jury said, “Hilarious, quirkily drawn and often musing about taboo topics, Lisa Hanawalt’s ‘Hot Dog Taste Test’ is a deliciously amusing read. The author skips from subject to subject in a frenetic, hyper sprint that very much simulates our nanosecond culture,” concluding that it is “a laugh-out-loud celebration of individuality and the goofy everyday thoughts that we tend to keep private.

This year’s jury consisted of:

  • Amy Madison, adult services librarian at Schlow Centre Region Library, State College, Pennsylvania, and co-organizer of BookFest PA;
  • Stephanie Orme, doctoral candidate in communications, Penn State. She studies comic books from a feminist media studies approach, which involves examining how gender, race and sexuality intersect with comic book fandom and comic books as texts;
  • Jessica Sensenig, Penn State sophomore majoring in English and telecommunications, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. She has a strong appreciation for the interplay of words and images used in graphic novels;
  • Emily Steinberg, painter and graphic novelist, Philadelphia. She also teaches courses on painting and the graphic novel at Penn State Abington; and
  • John C. Weaver, English teacher, Williamsport High School, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, who has been using comics in his classroom for 15 years. He also has published and presented on the use of comics in the classroom.


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