As announced in March 2023, Tillie Walden has been named Vermont’s fifth Cartoonist Laureate. A professor at the Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) in Vermont and the cartoonist behind the graphic novels SpinningOn a Sunbeam, Clementine: Book One, and Are You Listening, the graphic novellas I Love This Part and A City Inside, the collection Alone in Space, as well as additional work.

Walden’s work.

“I couldn’t be more honored to be the fifth Cartoonist Laureate of Vermont,” Walden was quoted in a press release from publisher Avery Hill. “I have big shoes to fill after all the amazing cartoonists that have held this position.  I’m looking forward to spreading the word around our great little state about the power of comics.”

Walden has previously garnered myriad accolades. At age 22, she was awarded the 2018 Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work. Additional honors include the Ignatz Award, the Broken Frontier Award, and the LA Times Book Prize.

Vermont’s Cartoonist Laureate

Vermont’s debuted its Cartoonist Laureate program, which is sponsored by the Vermont Arts Council, in 2011. It is the only state that regularly appoints a cartoonist laureate. Previous cartoonists to hold the position include James Kochalka, Ed Koren, Alison Bechdel, and Rick Veitch.

On the CCS website, Vermont US Representative Becca Balint is quoted: 

“I’m so pleased Tillie Walden will serve as Vermont’s next cartoonist laureate. She creates richly imagined worlds that transport readers on emotional and fantastical journeys and reminds us all of the importance of having a deep sense of self. Congratulations for this special accomplishment, and thank you for being part of a unique tradition that sets Vermont apart.”

According to coverage from the Boston Globe, Walden was crowned in an April 2023 ceremony. She will serve a three-year term as laureate.

Have you had a chance to check out Walden’s comics? Which is your favorite (so far)? Do you wish your state had a cartoonist laureate program?

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